Hiya WriteRighters, Josh Rueff here, welcome to the WriteRightRite!
Wow this video took forever... But it was totally worth it — if it helped me remember the best strategies to finding my writing voice, I'm sure it'll help others as well.
Many thanks to the photographers, funny pic-makers and composers who helped make this tutorial easier to watch (: I've given you attribution below in the first comment because it wouldn't fit here.
Here's the transcription of the information we went over in the how to find your writing voice video:
This is one of the best questions I hear from new writers. How do I fine-tune my writing voice?
I believe this is one of the most important questions any writer can ask, whether you're just on the brink of making the plunge into writing, or a seasoned writing veteran.
It's like your clothes, hobbies, your work if you love it — the art you create, the music you listen to and those glorious DIY projects you build from scratch.
Your writing voice is what sets you apart; it's what brings readers to you and fuels your motivation — because writing, once you've found your voice, becomes an extension of your personality, a way to connect with people and a channel to express who you are.
There's a lot of noise in the world around us, and as a writer, part of your craft is being heard, and the way we do that is by showing who you are, how you're unique from everyone else and why your voice is important to listen to.
This is how you can start finding your writing voice:
1. Find your personality. If you could choose one vehicle that would best communicate your personality, what would it be? If you had to wear 3 sets of clothing to express your personality, what would they be? What are the top 3 foods that you would be if you reincarnated into a culinary dish? (That's assuming you've completely jacked your karma of course)
2. Using the answers you chose from those questions, describe yourself with 3 words. For example, I may say that I'm Inventive, Quirky, and Honest.
3. Now pay attention to how you talk in every day conversation. Do you joke a lot? Maybe you like to debate or dig to the root of every issue — on the other hand you may prefer jumping lightly from topic to topic because you get bored without variety.
4. Using that info, compare it to your writing. Ask yourself, Is this how I talk? One of the most common mistakes a writer can make is to write with words she or he would never use in every day conversation. This will come across as awkward, clumsy and even pretentious at times.
5. What are your favorite books? Do the authors of those books write in a voice you'd like to emulate? If so, study their voice as you read — note how they use punctuation, imagery, metaphors and rhythm. Look for the quirks and nuances that make their voice different from everyone else's.
6. Another great thing to learn about yourself is your life passions. What are your favorite hobbies, sports, pastimes? Choose the word that best describes your favorite activities in life, and add that to the description of your voice.
7. What emotions do you feel most often? Add them to your writer's voice toolbox.
8. Sometimes other people know us better than we know ourselves. Your writer's voice is something your friends and family will know better than anyone — including yourself. Tell them you're honing your writing craft and you need to learn more about your voice. Ask them questions like, what makes the way I communicate different from everyone else?
You need to know every odd choice of words, speech ticks, unique expressions and body language. Ask them the same questions you just asked yourself, and make sure it's not all about you — tell them how you think their personality is unique and learn about how they'd describe themselves.
After you've done this — keeping notes of your answers and other people's answers, keep the good and trash the bad.
If you have a tendency to ramble, learn to be succinct. If your vocabulary is bland, expand your mind with new words — once you've used a new word in conversation twice a day, every day for a week, you've gained ownership of that word. Try it, you'll see what I mean.
Weed out everything you don't like about your current voice, and strive to create the voice that you want. Don't worry about being a copycat — if you start writing like Hemingway it'll come across as... not real. But over time with lots of deliberate practice, your voice will emerge with only hints of influence from Hemingway and your other favorite writers.
One last thought I'd like to add is that finding your writing voice takes time. Be patient and be as deliberate as possible in learning your current voice, choosing your ideal voice, and creating the perfect writing voice that expresses who you are, and makes the statement " I am important to listen to".