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Finding Your Voice

Years ago, I wanted to emulate Anne Murray. I loved her voice, her music, her guitar playing, and her song styles. I learned most of her songs and tried to sing just like her. Then Prince came along, and I knew I could never be like him. Either way, spending energy trying to be like someone else only leads to disappointment. I would never sound like Anne Murray. My songwriting was close to her genre, such as ballads and soft rock, but it wasn’t her. My playing wasn’t the same either. And Prince? I never did learn to play lead guitar. I’m a master at rhythm playing. In high school, I eventually found my voice. My unique songwriting style, singing and playing.

Same goes for authors. My favorite mystery author is Mary Higgins-Clark. But I learned early, early on, I would never be able to write like her, even though I really, really wanted to. And of course, I have other favorite authors and admire their styles. I think all new authors fall into the abyss of “what is my voice”?

Finding your voice can be as easy as talking to your best friend, when you are your authentic self. But where do you put it in your writing? 

Your voice could be in your narration if you are writing in first person. Or it could be in the main character if your narration is second or third person. In my book, Eliza Jane, my voice is Eliza’s. There is a lot of me in her. With that said, what about the other characters?

When writing your ‘voice’ will be throughout the story, however, other characters will take on life of their own. Lives you will need to learn. They will guide your writing. Your voice won’t always be in their lives.

As long as you can find your voice in your writings, then you are writing in your authentic voice. If you can’t, then your readers aren’t going to buy what you're selling.

It’s hard to get anything past readers. If you lose them early on, you may never get them back again. If you aren’t sure what your voice is or how to find it, here are a couple of exercises:

  • If you already keep a journal, read it and see if you can find a pattern or style in your writing. If you don’t keep one, start.

  • Read an excerpt of a book (any book), how would you rewrite it keeping the same idea? 

  • If you have started writing a book, pick two of your characters, what makes them different? Take them through a morning routine. They should be different. Which one is closer to what you do (or would do)?

There are also speed writing exercises you can do and I can help you with that if you are interested. 

The good news is, once you find your voice, you will never lose it.

Until next time…

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