Authentic Writer’s Voice: How To Develop Your Unique Writing Style?
As a writer, you probably have heard about the writer’s voice. The writer’s voice is an authentic communication style that distinguishes you from others.
You can find myriads of tips on how to find your voice as a writer. But in my opinion, you don’t need to look for something you already have. We all have unique personalities that contribute to individual communication styles. The only thing that might be missing is a solid and authentic voice, which you can develop.
No matter what kind of writer you are (copywriter, novelist, journalist, email writer), you are unique, and that makes your voice unique, too. But sometimes we forget those little things that make us, us.
What is an authentic voice?
An authentic voice is your voice, personality, style, humor, and characteristics. It might vary based on whom you’re talking to, but it always has that spice that says it’s me.
You probably know some great writers like Elizabeth Gilbert or Trent Dalton who have distinctive voices. You don’t even need to see the name of the author to know it’s them. And when I read their work, one thing stands out - the commitment to their individual voice.
It’s challenging to develop a completely unique, untouched voice that would stand out from the rest. And it doesn’t have to be. All you need to do is develop a genuine communication style that makes you proud of your work and your readers caught up reading.
The good news is that you already have it, you just need to rediscover and shape it to come out just the way it is.
So, let’s start
How do you shape your voice?
Let’s begin with the basics:
You already have a voice
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Sometimes I read a book and the author’s voice is so bizarre and fascinating at the same time, I want to copy and adapt it to my work.
But it never works.
Why? Because it’s their style, not mine. And if you’re not sticking to your guns, readers will notice.
You need to understand that you have a voice. But you might be just hiding it because you’re afraid it’s flawed or too quirky or boring. But I can bet that your authentic style sounds a million times better than something you’re not.
All you need to do is to develop it
Just because we have something doesn’t make it complete. Developing a writer’s authenticity is a long job that might take years of practice. But practice is the key to authenticity.
Imagine it like a piece of rough wood. After days and days of sanding that piece, it will begin to develop a shape. You might want to change some details to fit it into the bigger piece or leave it just the way it is to create its own shape.
The same is with writing. It might take years to find that uniqueness and be proud and learn to use it for different types of writing and audiences. But the more you do it, the easier it becomes to shape it into an authentic voice.
When you know you already have an individual voice, you can work on crafting it. And here is a quick exercise I do myself, when I feel lost in writing or when it stops giving me joy.
Freewriting is a great exercise to dump all that mind clutter on paper. But it’s also an excellent practice to find what kindles your writing flame.
Start by finding the moment you feel most creative and productive. Take a piece of paper or your laptop. Think of a subject. I recommend finding a topic that inspires you and you know a lot about it for it to work.
Now, start writing. Don’t think about publishing or that someone will see it. Just write like no one is watching. When you feel like you said it all, give it a moment, and read it. Probably sentence structure doesn’t make much sense, and there are way too many grammar mistakes.
But there’s also your unpolished voice.
Now, if you are already a writer, compare it (not grammatically) to your other work. What differences do you see? And how was the writing process itself different?
Do you feel that you’re too anxious to let your free spirit go when you expect someone to see your work?
Do you feel like you always need to watch your tone and keep your voice down to avoid all the quirks? It might be because you’re hiding away your authenticity.
What do you like the most about your writing?
Take the same freewriting piece and look at it. Do you like it? And if so, what do you like the most? It can be anything from metaphors, jokes, unique phrases, or idioms. If behind them you can find yourself, then it’s what makes your voice unique.
Find adjectives that describe you
You can find it yourself or ask someone close to you what the three adjectives that describe you are. You can attribute negative adjectives, but why don’t you give yourself some praise - you deserve it.
When you have your three words, see if you can find them in your writing.
It doesn’t have to be all three but at least one.
Read your previous work and try to look for these three adjectives. Sometimes it’s impossible to be 100% you, especially when you are writing for a client. But they hired you so you could take their style and your voice and turn it into one unique piece of content.
If you can find those little details that say it’s you, then congratulations - you’re growing your voice. So use it proudly!
If you can’t find yourself in your own words, think about what you could change and whether that would make you enjoy the process of writing and your work more.
Your voice and style can seem obvious. But even the most outstanding writers take time to develop and shape it into something that represents them and captivates the reader. The first step is to understand that you have your voice, and all you need to do is use it.