Thursday, November 25, 2010

How to Discover Your Writing Voice via @JimiJones

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Let me begin by thanking my good friend Ileane for having me appear on Basic Blog Tips, it is truly a pleasure.

I receive lots of requests for Guest Posts and one of the first things that comes to mind is what I will write about and how I will tailor the content to flow with the overall tone of the blog it appears on.

To address the first concern, a stroll through the archives of the blog is required so I can get a sense of the atmosphere and to be sure I don’t offer something that was recently featured.

What I often notice in those archives are changes in the tone and style of the blog owner as time has evolved. It’s what happens to people who write professionally, they find their writing voice along the way.

I hear some ask, what is a writing voice?

It is that tone and cadence, that rhythmic flow of how people speak. We all have it to some degree and you can hear it in the way we tell a story. When you read the writing of certain people, you can almost hear them speak.

Many bloggers and writers start out as naturals at delivering their thoughts in an entertaining and engaging way. But far too many of us struggle during the early stages of the career, some to a point of walking away from the craft.

Let’s discuss the basics of this development, because the sooner you can clear this hurdle and get into a groove the better your content will become. It’s a matter of creating new habits.

We understand that to optimize anything, we must determine why something is underperforming in the first place.

Reasons We Struggle to Find Our Writing Voices

  • Over thinking – This can often be traced to worrying about a number of things like, what others will think of our work, whether or not it sounds professionally written or possible challenges to the position we’ve taken.

None of this really matters when we write like we speak. Unless you speak like a University Professor, don’t write like one because it will come off as unnatural.

I experienced all of the above on my very first blog post, which shamefully took me about 4 hours or more to write. I was too busy polishing every syllable and crafting something that was really not me.

Solution: Be as natural and as genuine as you can. Realize that no one is going to grade your work and make a public display of any shortfalls. Simply allow your thoughts to flow onto your document in a conversational style, then go back and correct any typographic or grammatical errors. Yes, it’s important to have good diction but it is also critical to sound natural.

  • Fear – Let’s face it, when you write content for the internet you are on a world-wide stage and that thought strikes fear in the hearts of many. But realize how many others are out there doing the same thing, writing and attempting to gain traction for their blogs or websites.

We are fearful that our writing will be seen as poorly constructed, bad English or we will be judged as unintelligent.

  • Solution: Fear is a natural reaction to doing something we are uncomfortable with and to overcome this we have to borrow Nike’s slogan and “Just Do It”. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Before you realize it, you are no longer fearful about sharing your thoughts in public. You are not alone nor will you be singled out for ridicule. So have no fear of failure, just face your fears head on and they will soon become a thing of the past.

These are the two show-stoppers you’ll have to overcome. Get them out of your life quickly then apply some of the tips listed below.

Tips to Help You Become a Better Writer

  • Write What You Know – There will always be a struggle if you attempt to write about a topic you have little knowledge of. Can you pull it off? Yes, but the amount of research required will make this more of a chore than it should be and the love will soon be lost.

On the other hand, writing about a topic you are both knowledgeable and passionate about not only makes for outstanding content, it is also easy to accomplish. Just remember to keep things simple so the reader can fully understand your message.

  • Write in Your Own Style – Writing is the transference of your thoughts to a document for others to consume. Deliver those thoughts in your own style and you will soon discover your writing voice.

Don’t try to be the next Ernest Hemingway or Toni Morrison, be the first you.

  • Write to Your Significant Other – Pour yourself into an article written to your loved one and have them give you some feedback. It doesn’t have to be a love letter (you’ve likely written that already anyhow), but an article on your favorite topic. This can help you identify your true style of writing.

  • Write In Different Moods – To write as a profession means that there will surely be times when you’ll have to write when you are not in the mood to do so. Write something when you are happy, sad, or under the weather. It’s best to do it when you can instead of when you have to.

It can simply be a few paragraphs; the idea is to get a sense of your overall writing style and voice.


To improve your writing skills and find that natural style and voice, continue to write something daily. I am not saying that you have to post daily, but write something daily.

Soon you will discover that flow state where your thoughts are easily transferred to the document you are working on and content creation will no longer be a major challenge for you.

When this occurs, you will be the awesome writer that you always knew you could become.

Stay Productive!

Have you an experience to share? How did you come to discover your writing voice?

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