How can you discover your writer voice?
If you’re just starting out as a writer, you might find it difficult to figure out your style. It takes time and practice to perfect your craft, but here’s some tips to help you get going. I’m going to give you 10 ideas on how you can find your writer voice and make your work unique.
10 Ways to Discover Your Writer Voice
There’s so many different genres, points of view, and styles to write in. To figure what you like and what feels good to you, check out what others are doing. Reading gives you ideas so you don’t get stuck in a rut with no way out. Read and look for certain ways of phrasing or how the author handles a sensitive topic. Get inspired by their words and imagery, and combine all your favourite components.
You will never improve as a writer, if you never write. You’d be surprised how much you improve naturally just by writing a little every day. Get your ideas out on the page and keep track of your work as the days, months, and years go on. Have a file filled with stories and date them so you can see how much your writing as improved to the present day. Yes, you will cringe when you look back on stories from ten years ago, or even one year. Take that as a good sign that you’ve become a better writer, and you realized your mistakes from the past.
COPY AN IDEA, THEN MAKE IT YOURS
Today, it’s nearly impossible to create something one hundred percent original and unique. Every piece of artwork in our lives is inspired by something else. That’s okay, as long as you’re not plagiarizing. Do your research, read books, write books, and bring together ideas from all over. The trick to avoid plagiarizing is to spin it into something that reflects your views and way of writing.
Just because someone’s already written a book about bullying, or fighting dragons, or whatever else, that doesn’t mean your contribution should be left unwritten. No one knows your take on the subject yet. So, start brainstorming your thoughts on a social issue, or redefine how your favourite genre should be viewed. Take inspiration from the world, then ask yourself: What do I think about this?
TRY DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES
It’s okay to stick to one style you like, but it’s good to challenge yourself. Try writing in third person instead of first; from the perspective of a boy if you’re a girl and vice versa; in a new setting; or with more short sentences if you always write long ones. These are just a few ideas, but my point is to mix things up. Who knows? You might find a new style that you really love and are great at writing.
LEARN AS YOU GO
With every piece you write, make it a learning experience. Get feedback from others, look on the internet, check out books from the library. Take one piece and rewrite it in ten different ways. Be self-taught, and figure out what works and what doesn’t. Truly study your piece and find ways to improve it. If you’re constantly writing stories that you never look at again, you won’t learn anything from that experience.
TALK TO OTHERS
Writing doesn’t have to be a solo experience. Find other writers to talk to about their process and what style they like the best. Get advice from novices to experts, and take out of it what you think will help you grow. Join writing groups and workshops to get feedback. I know it’s hard hearing people criticize your work, but it’s a necessary evil if you want to get better and discover what readers are looking for.
UPDATE YOUR KNOWLEDGE
The rules of writing do change on occasion, and trends are altered on a daily basis. Keep up with what’s current in your genre, and take things to the next level. Don’t write about something just because it’s trending, but use that knowledge to create something powerful in your own words.
Be the leader of the pack, and show what you believe in through your work. If you’re looking just to make money, by all means write for the readers. But if you really want to become a master in writing, write for yourself. Combine your views with others, and churn out a novel that makes you proud. Not everyone will like your work, so you just have to find the right readers.
HAVE AN AUTHENTIC WRITER VOICE
When searching for your voice, don’t try to sound like anyone else. Figure out what you’re trying to say with a short story or novel, and come right out and say it. Find a theme for each piece of work, and let that shine through. Don’t retell what someone else has been saying for many years. Be yourself and don’t force yourself to say something that doesn’t feel right. Write what’s going to make you happy, don’t get too flashy with the words you use, and just speak your truth.
WRITE WHAT FEELS NATURAL
Similar to the point above, write what feels good to you. If you’re writing in a genre because it’s popular and you hate what you’re doing, it’s okay to change your mind. Try not to think too much and let the words flow right out of you. Don’t pause or second guess yourself, because you don’t want to lose the momentum you have.
Keep writing endlessly, describing every action and creating each piece of dialogue as it comes to mind. If you’re stuck, take a break and write later. Try not to write something you know too little about. Do some research until you’re more comfortable with the topic. Don’t use words that you don’t understand, and write as you would normally speak if that works for your genre.
EDIT AFTER THE WRITING
The worst thing you can do is write, stop halfway through, then go back and edit. Wait until your first draft is done, then go back. It’s hard to multitask, so keep your writer hat on and leave the editor hat off to the side. If you’re too critical of yourself in the beginning stages, you may never finish!
Also, if you start editing a paragraph for grammar and then end up deleting that scene later on, you’ve wasted so much time. Make the most of your time and write until the first draft is done. After all, the only purpose of a first draft is to exist.
Thanks for reading this! How have you discovered your writer voice? Answer in the comments!
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