Friday, March 9, 2012

Voice. . .Voice. . .Voice. . .


How many times have you heard, "you need to find your voice," OR "I love your voice."
I've finally figured out what that means after writing close to ONE MILLION words over the past few years. And I don't just mean writing voice. We are going to explore your career voice.

No one writes alike. We all choose what we write and how we deliver it or speak to our colleagues. Your voice is you! It's the raw you that you put on the page or talking about your craft. Sure we can put on a happy face at a conference or try to make a great impression, but the words you put out there is your true voice coming out.

Sometimes it's hard to describe your voice or to even know how to find your voice. Here are some ways to help you figure out your true voice:

1) Be yourself! When you are writing your first line or your last line, you are writing what you love and in the genre you chose to write in. When you are yourself, you are bringing your reader along with you and they fall in love with your words. It's the voice you are writing in that hooks them.

2) Be authentic in your writing to help find your voice.
When writing your characters and their thoughts/words, ask yourself if your characters are relatable.
Do they sound like a real person that you might have a conversation with? This is your authentic voice. You have to make sure that your characters are relatable throughout the entire story.

3) Relax. Read what you have written. I mean everything from blogs to your stories. There is the same tone in both. The topics are completely different, but the tone is still the same.
I write quirky humor in all my stories, and I put a touch of humor in all my blog posts. It might not be with words, but it might be the pictures or the title of the blogs that give me the opportunity to put in my touch of voice.

*When you are blogging or commenting on a blog or even doing Facebook, you will notice that you use the same tone or looking for the same things to put both places. These reoccurring tones are not by chance. It's your voice shining through. Embrace it!
*Write what you know. How many times have we heard this? You don't have to give the exact details, but you are being your relaxed self which leads to your true voice.
*BE A WRITER. Entertain your audience. This is the profession that we have chosen, so do your job.
*Continue to write, write, write. This will make your voice stronger and stronger.

What do you do to make your voice stand out from the crowd?

Check out Dean Wesley Smith's blog from 2008 about voice!
Men with pens has another look at finding the voice. 

13 comments:

  1. Hi Tonya, ilike this explanation of finding your voice. I'm still not sure since I post a different way depending on where I am AND if I know the authors. Will keep these points in mind as I go though. Thanks! Hope the day is going well.

    Peace and love,
    Paula R.

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    1. Hi, Paula! Great to see you here. Your voice should have the same tone, even though you have different words. I LOVE your voice!!! Even on Words With Friends!

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  2. Love this! Great post, Tonya.

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  3. Finding one's voice is the literary equivalent of learning Hip Hop or Argentine tango. It's HUGE!! Thanks for the tips.

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  4. I think I've found a new voice in the past 5.5 years.
    Before I took an early retirement and moved to KY, my creative voice surfaced mainly in poetry.
    But since I began writing fiction, I sensed a definite shift. More humor, for one thing.
    When I began participating in Facebook, I worried (initially) that it would detract from my writing. However, I produced four complete novels in two years while remaining very active on FB. I think posting frequently on FB helped me find my new voice.

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    1. Are you referring to your funny Possum Trot status? Those are your voice!

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  5. Very interesting post, Tonya. You offer some excellent pointers. Voice is something we always hope will knock the agents and editors off their feet. I'll have to say, I've read books in which I'd swear the voice has been ruthlessly stamped out by overzealous editing. Structurally and grammatically correct, the books still lack 'life.'

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  6. Great post! I think the best way to find your voice is to just be yourself and let your thoughts flow. Don't worry about what others think so much because there will never please everyone with it.

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  7. Hi Tonya,

    You hit the nail on the head when you wrote, "I've finally figured out what that means after writing close to ONE MILLION words over the past few years."

    It doesn't matter whether a person is a novelist, poet, blogger, journalist or a desk jockey who spends most of the day emailing: one of the best ways to discover your voice as a writer is to write. A lot. And then write some more.

    In fact, I named my (brand-new) blog "One Million Words" because a veteran writer friend of mine once told me that everything written before the 1,000,000-word mark is just "finger exercises." It wasn't until my fifth novel that an agent and an editor showed any interest in my fiction, so I have to believe there's something to that.

    Feel free to visit my blog if/when you have a moment: www.david-michael-williams.com.

    Thanks for the post!

    -David Michael Williams

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