Finding Your Voice as a Writer
In today’s world of publishers and agents it can be hard to find your own unique voice as a writer. So many people are telling you how to write and what is popular. “Write what sells” is the message they are putting out there, whether they realize it or not.
I guess in a strictly business sense that is true. If you just want to make money quick then yes, focus on what sells. However, as an artist of words I believe it is more important to tell stories that inspire you and move you. I can tell when a story is written without passion and I’m sure you can too. There is no life behind the words. The story is flat and forgettable.
However, when you pick up a book that sucks you in and it makes you stop and think or evokes feelings within you…that is an inspired book.
Those are the stories that I want to write. I’ve been writing a long time for myself and my family. I’ve recently taken the leap to publish my work because I finally feel inspired to do so. It’s not to make a quick buck (which I think is ridiculous in this industry because sometimes these things take time. Many famous authors were not popular until after they were dead.). I share my writing now to inspire people to look at the world differently. I want my readers to find a spark of hope and something positive in a world that can often seem bleak. I am nowhere near perfect, but if I never write and share my work then how can I grow as a writer? Skills develop over time as you use them.
So, my point is this – Find Your Voice as a writer. Find what makes you unique from everyone else. It’s okay if you are inspired after other authors. All of us are. Just write from the heart. Read your writing. And rewrite. Develop your work.
Here are some ways that I recommend to help your writing reflect your “voice”:
The main way is to write about what is important to YOU. If you are an advocate for something then write about it. If there is a life experience that has shaped who you are then use that in your writing. I DON”T recommend writing about real people and making it obvious that you’re doing so. That’s a good way to get in BIG trouble. But take the things that shape you and sprinkle it throughout your writing. That is your voice.
Give your characters quirks and habits similar to what YOU find interesting. If you are one of those people who are obsessed with random, quick witted conversations then use that. Your people are out there and they will love it! Plus, it sets your characters apart.
Choose the setting that you are comfortable in. So, if you love sci-fi fiction set in outer space then go for it. If you are obsessed with westerns in the 1800s then go for that. If you’re not comfortable or knowledgeable about your setting then it will show.
Do you and don’t worry about anyone else…unless you are just looking to make big sales quick and aren’t concerned with building your voice. And I don’t mean to talk negatively about publishers OR agents. They are great and help get your work out to a wider audience faster. I do believe they want you to have a clear voice as an author. However, sometimes as writers looking for work we OURSELVES tend to zone in on what they want and is hot at the moment in order to get a contract.
I’m just saying, don’t forget to make yourself stand out from the crowd. You want to be an individual and not get lumped in with the masses and forgotten.