A great question most writers ponder besides “where’s my pen?” is how do I find my voice? This question usually alludes to a writer’s desire to generate writing that is distinct and recognizable in style. Such a task can feel daunting as a writer’s voice is the platform that makes their ideas stand tall and confident.
“Voice” is the quality of being able to speak for yourself as yourself. In other words, your perspective and individuality color how you describe the world around you. Being able to tap into this uniqueness makes for compelling reading. Not only this, but defining your voice makes learning and channeling other perspectives possible. All this makes for a versatile writer who can produce content for any client.
Here are three ways to define your voice, stretch the boundaries of what that voice is capable of, and discover who else that voice could be:
1. Read and take notes
Writing is designed with one or several objectives in mind. That is, content is created to engage with viewers and inspire action. By studying a wide range of media (advertisements, blog posts, social media, billboards, print ads, etc.) you are exposing yourself to an assortment of defined voices that are tasked with communicating these objectives in a way that is digestible for consumers. Next time content comes your way, take notes on your opinion.
Here are some questions to consider:
- Did you enjoy it?
- Does this content remind you of anything?
- What did or did not surprise you?
- What might you have done differently?
- What is working?
- What is not working?
Your opinion and answers to these questions are all a part of your perspective. Reading and interrogating media is not only important for your voice but also to keep up with how marketing communications are changing. Doing this will help you grow alongside the field you belong to.
2. Characterize your own writing in ten words or more
Study your writing like you would someone else’s and make a list of characteristics that define your work. Is your writing humorous? Technical? Short? Ten words is a beginning point, write as many words as necessary––just be sure to be specific. After jotting down your ten words, free write about what you do well and areas you’d like to improve. Setting specific goals that are relevant will help you track the changes and progress in your content.
3. Write new content regularly and have fun!
Having reflected on other’s content and your own, the time has come for you to generate more! Cultivating your voice takes practice and, luckily for you, producing more writing is always an advantageous decision. Write about a product or brand you are excited about. Writing about something you’re passionate about naturally makes for easy writing that is authentic to you. Why? Because it’s your opinion, your perspective, and your voice! With practice, your goals will shift from developing voice to using voice tactically based on the goal of your content.
As writers, we wear many hats, and it is our job to make them all fit fabulously. Finding your voice is a necessary step to becoming a malleable content creator who is able to write in their own voice, adopt an existing voice, or create a new one entirely.
Finding your writerly voice doesn’t have to yield an existential crisis. In fact, it can create a path for self-discovery, make you more versatile in several different fields, and illuminate the types of content that make your writing sparkle.