One thing Bang2writers always ask me about is ‘finding’ their writer’s voice – that way of communicating, that expression, that ‘thing’ that sets them apart from other writers. However, writer’s voice is notoriously hard to pin down, so when Daniela suggested an article on it, I was intrigued by her ideas … Enjoy!
Right now, we’re going through a golden age of writing. There is just so much content that needs creating! This does have its own problem, however, because when people need something, a lot of others are going to stand up and say that they can do it!
This means there is a lot of noise out there. And if you want to be heard over the ruckus, it’s important that you find your own style. You need to convince others you’ve got that “spark” – this can mean the difference between being thought of as mediocre and being discovered.
Try the steps below and you should see your style emerge:
1) Identifying your style
The first to owning your own writing style is to identify it is that your writing style means it’s yours. That means it isn’t defined by your writing teacher, by the glossy magazines you read, or by your favorite author. It’s defined instead by what resides inside you.
To let it out you’ve got to stop trying to please everybody else. You’ve got to stop apologising for what and how you’re writing. Don’t cringe, don’t hesitate, and don’t hold back. Commit yourself fully to writing the truth that is inside of you!
If that happens to be about donkey sex, a masochistic spider baby, or your mother vomiting up razorblades, then so be it.
They are only words on a piece of paper. They do not impact reality and writing them down does not make those things more likely to happen. To believe otherwise is only magical thinking.
And so, release the inner animal, the ID, or whatever else you might want to call it. Don’t edit, just write. The editing will come later. Also, at this stage, remember that this is about you, not about engaging your reader.
2) It will be raw
There will be no doubt about this. Heck, it might not even be written in fully-formed grammatical sentences (my stuff rarely is).
What it will also be, however, is honest, shocking and, yes, possibly even deeply embarrassing. It may not even be very good. Truth be told, it doesn’t have to be. Not yet. You see, you’re not looking for good, you’re looking for sparks of greatness. You’re looking for an insight, a phrase, a paragraph, a statement, an idea that captures the gist of what you’re trying to say.
3) Keep what you want to
And what you dare to. Put aside the rest. Now, you’re going to start moulding the piece for your actual audience.
Take the bits you do like and start working on reconnecting them in a more coherent (and possibly more suitable) manner, while still trying to keep at least some of the style and ideas that you originally hit upon.
If you do this well, you’ll find that you’ll manage to keep some of that style that is your own, while still meeting the requirements of the brief that you were given.
If you find yourself faltering, don’t be afraid to look back to what you wrote before. Explore how you expressed emotions. Sense how those words are filled with your energy and try to export that to the new piece that you’re writing.
4) It will not be easy
Particularly writing like this in the beginning will not be easy, but that’s because most of us have been taught to write like other people, so finding our own style (much less owning it) will be difficult.
It’s like you’ve been blocking off the pathways to the REAL YOU.
Fortunately, if you engage in it long enough, you’ll get better and what you throw out there on the page will require less and less editing. You’ll find yourself becoming more and more productive.
As for the dark imagery, I found that for me it lessened after a while. It was like it had heaped up behind the barriers of how I was supposed to write and when I broke through that it all came flowing out.
Now, though it occasionally still sneaks in in there (like my masochistic spider baby and my razor-vomiting mother) this happens less often. And when it does, it’s more like a surgical shock that serves a purpose.
Will that be true of you? I can’t really say. There is only one way to find out, isn’t there? And besides, anything is better than just being another run-of-the mill writer working at the average-content mill.
So what have you got to lose?
BIO: Daniela McVicker is an author, psychologist and educator. She believes that success depends on knowing the ideas that allow you to manage and master the universe of information. To know more about her catch up with her on Facebook and/or follow her on Twitter as @danielamcvick.