Many things go into a successful writing career. However, none of them is as important as this one thing: finding your writing voice.
“As a writer, you are a brand.”
Finding your voice is a long-term endeavour that demands discipline and rigour. I wish I had started that journey early enough. It would have saved me countless, needless detours along the way. We don’t hear this very often, but as a writer, you are a brand; as much a brand as a singer or comedian.
Just like a singing voice, your writing voice is your distinct signature and your unique identity. When you hear a song by Elvis Presley, Simi, or Dolly Parton, you immediately know who is singing whether or not you’ve heard that particular song before. And when you fall in love with a voice, you want to hear it again and again. When you find your voice and stick to it, people who love it will want to read it over and over. This is why when we read something we really like, we want to read everything else the writer has written. As a writer, your voice is your product. No product, no business.
Your writing voice is not a style, theme or genre. It flows from who you are. Two people can be tech writers, and have distinctly different voices.
Find your voice
Finding your voice is the first thing you must do to be successful as a writer. Finding your voice enables you to connect with your tribe. Your voice is what brings your audience to you. Find your voice, let it come from the depths of your soul and stick to it. You attract people who really want and enjoy what you’re offering. You won’t be struggling to sell 1000 copies of your book in a nation of 170 million people. Such struggles are usually the result of a lack of connection.
So how do you find your voice? First, choose three adjectives that best describe you (you can ask someone who knows you to help with this) and then ask your readers if your writing sounds like the “you” that you’ve described. It’s important to write the way you talk. If you have to wear a different personality every time you have to write, you will end up exhausted in no time. Write as you.
“Nurture, protect and preserve your voice.”
Once you’ve found your voice, don’t let it be compromised. Yes, you must give your work to an editor, but be sure to use an editor who appreciates your voice. A good editor knows that their job is not to give you their voice; it’s to make your voice as beautiful as it can be.
A good writer reads a lot, and when you read a lot it’s easy for plagiarism to slip in and it’s easy to want to sound like someone else. Guard against this; nurture, protect and preserve your voice.
You have a message, and nobody can deliver it the way you can. That’s the power of your voice. Find it!