I just returned a single-authored manuscript to a client today after working on it for the last few weeks. While I’m always happy to finish a project, it’s hard to let go of the final product, not just because the dissecting of notes and references gets addictive but because I feel like I get to know an author while reading a book—no matter the content.
In the case of this particular book, the author had mastered his voice, incorporating feeling into an otherwise academic treatise. The author wove in conversational remarks in a heavily researched and referenced book, making it much more enjoyable to read. While he’s had years of practice to refine his voice, there are ways you can develop a voice as an inexperienced or less-seasoned writer.
How do you develop a voice in your writing?
- Write more. Find an outlet that suits your interests, whether it be a journal, blog, online forum, writing group, or something else. Writing becomes easier with practice. The more you put pen to paper, fingers to keys, the more likely you are to discover how to inject yourself into your work.
- Read more. If you aren’t reading newspapers, magazines, websites, books, or other written works, make it a priority. Identifying the voices of others will help you find yours. It’s unrealistic to think that your own written works will improve if you aren’t reading enough. Expose yourself to different forms of writing to see how authors’ voices work in various formats and for various purposes.
- Edit more. Give yourself time to write. Work on a few drafts, even rewriting an entire paper upon completion of the rough draft. Read it aloud to yourself or someone willing to listen. Rather than edit as you go, write a significant amount and then walk away from it for a bit. Come back and reread it, considering whether the work sounds like you. If not, begin to write again.
When you’re ready for a final edit, contact me to help you polish your work. I can help you find your voice as well, so feel free to contact me in the earlier stages of writing so I might be able to provide some tips on your project before you develop writer’s block or write a diatribe.