I wanted to share a story about finding your voice as a writer. I remember as I began my writing career I was very focused on the construct of writing; proper sentence structure, grammar, and using big words that made me sound like a writer (to name a few). I would write these types of articles for blogs and a few online columns, and I would get literally no response at all from readers. I would visit the sites of other writers, some of whom were horrible at mechanics, and they would have dozens of responses from engaged readers–oh how I longed to be read.
Reading as a Writer
I decided to begin a journey of reading books from other authors about writing. I found some really awesome books that had fantastic advice. One book I found on Kindle (free eBooks) was called “Write good or die.” this book is an excellent collection of advice from published authors that is a must-read for the aspiring writer. I began to search the hearts and minds of successful writers to see if I could find a common thread. One of the best books I read, for me at least, was “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott. I learned several things that have helped me tremendously in my journey as a writer.
Two things that stood out the most to me were this: First, I learned to write for myself and my satisfactions–never write to the reader. Readers are fickle, and no one can write in a way that suffices the interests and pet-peeves of everyone who reads. Second, write like you talk, write like you would communicate with a close circle of friends, speak from your heart–that is where you find your voice. Anne Lamott taught me so much about this aspect of writing. If you are still looking for your voice–read her book.
Obviously, there are all sorts of writing styles where these words of advice will not work; an example would be technical writing where the writer must use a third person narrative; however, in the field of creative works, these books are nuggets of gold.