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How to nurture your writing voice

How to nurture your writing voice

I see so many people online who preach that writers should just let their natural voice flow, that they should just speak to the reader as they’d speak naturally. And while I totally agree with that advice—you don’t want to sound fake to your reader—I think that this message also—whether intentionally or not—shames writers who want to develop their voices, as if suggesting that these writers are being unnatural or slimy. And I think that’s a bad thing. Nobody bursts onto the blogging scene without ever having written a word before and just gets it right. And no matter what people may say, everyone is constantly developing their voice—often, they’re just doing it unconsciously. 

I propose that you develop your voice consciously. Just like you’d develop your website and branding as your business grows, or you’d modify your service offerings as you learnt more about your business, I’m suggesting that you should work on your voice as you grow as a writer, blogger, and business owner.

And here’s how.

@@Nurture your writing voice with these tips from @hedera_house.@@

 

Learn from the greats

Every industry has its greats—and I’d be very surprised to find even a handful of greats who made it to where they are without a distinctive voice. Maybe they swear a lot and make you laugh, or maybe their writing is lyrical and poetic. Whatever it is, they probably have something that sets them apart from the rest of the community.  

The best way to learn from these people? Read. Read all they offer. Read the work of people you think are awesome and people you can’t stand. Make notes (mental or otherwise) about what you really, really like and what you really, really don’t like. Decide what you want to incorporate into your own writing voice. 

In my resource library, I offer free worksheets for nurturing your voice using the steps in this blog post. Download the worksheets here.

And while I’m on this point, read the greats in your industry—but then go outside your industry. And read blogs, but read books, as well. Read fiction! Read non-fiction! Read it all! Time you spend reading is never wasted—even if you didn’t enjoy what you were reading (especially if you didn’t enjoy what you were reading), it’s always a learning experience.

 

Learn from your idols

While you don’t want to be a copycat, obviously, you can learn a lot from analysing the people you admire—even if they’re not considered the greats of the industry. Do you know exactly why you admire these people, and why you admire their writing, specifically? What can you take away from that? 

Some things to consider (and this applies to the point above, too):

  • What sorts of words do they use? How do they make you feel?
  • Does the structure of their writing affect how you feel? For example, do they write in really short paragraphs? Does that make you want to jump from one to the next? Or do they write in long paragraphs, offering you a piece that you can sink your teeth into?
  • What rules do they break? (I can assure you that most of your writing idols are breaking rules.) Do they use abbreviations like kinda? Do they misspell words or use punctuation incorrectly to get a laugh out of you?
  • What do you like about the content of their writing? Do you like that they go into in-depth explanations and examples? Do you like that they use analogies to explain things, or tell lots of stories?

It’s important to remember while you’re analysing your idols that comparisonitis does nobody any good. Sure, your idols are great, and I know that sometimes you feel like you’re not great at all and may never be as great as your idols. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Sure, push yourself, but remember that your idols are probably a few steps ahead of you in their journey, or maybe they have a different journey entirely. Analyse them and learn from them, but try to avoid comparisonitis. 

PS: If you need somewhere to start, I recommend:

 

Write a lot

I can say from experience—as a professional copywriter and editor, no less—that nothing works better for my voice (and how confident I am with my voice) than just writing. When I first started blogging, I didn’t really know what I was doing (I realise that now!). And that was less than a year ago. Now, I’ve got some blog posts under my belt, I’ve been a dedicated member of the blogging community for almost a year, and I’ve studied blogging and writing deeply. 

The more you write, the better you’ll get—it’s as simple as that. Practice makes perfect. 

Well. Not perfect. Nothing can ever be perfect. But practice definitely leads to improvement.

Regina suggests writing at the start of the day (read her blog post), before you do anything else, and I have to agree. Writing before you allow your mind to be bogged down by all the other stuff on your to-do list means you can get your ideas out more clearly, while you’re still fresh. Plus, as Regina says, it means that, no matter what else you do that day, you’ve always done something meaningful once you get to the end of the day. I know that sometimes as a small-business owner I feel like I get to the end of some days and have no idea what I’ve accomplished, so being able to say, I wrote half a blog post sounds pretty great to me.

Even though I think writing in the morning is a great tip, though, you have to write when it suits you. If you’re a night owl, write at night. Get to know yourself and figure it out, because understanding yourself in this way is priceless. It’ll make your life much easier, too. 

So… are you off to write after reading this post? Let me know in the comments!

@@How to nurture your writing voice@@

Useful writing tips every blogger & freelancer should know

Useful writing tips every blogger & freelancer should know

The 10 steps I took to write & publish my first book

The 10 steps I took to write & publish my first book