Reader Question: What does it mean to have a “voice” as a writer?

Every person has unique DNA.  We also have unique fingerprints and retinas.  There are billions of us, but each human being is individual, distinctive, an original creation.  That’s true of the way we express ourselves as well.

Sit with a group of friends and you will quickly notice that each has their own way of speaking thoughts, emotions, experiences, interests, ideas.  Each observes life from their own singular viewpoint.  Each personality comes through how and what they say.

It’s the same with writing.  Each writer has a personal way of using words, constructing sentences, presenting pictures and dialogue through words.  We have different rhythms. We use words that express what we see, hear, touch, and taste – and whatever characters we are building are coming out of that one-person-heart-and-mind’s eye.

Sometimes in becoming a writer, we can take on someone else’s voice.  Not intentionally, but because we’re studying another writer’s style, immersing ourselves in their work. We become like an actor, taking on a role, as though speaking in a brogue, French or Italian accent.  It’s not our natural voice, the one God gave us.  It’s their voice. 

When we begin to dive into our own writing, in time, our voice comes through.

I didn’t know I had a “voice” as a writer until an editor told me I did.  Seriously?  I couldn’t see it.  I still can’t.  But readers do. 

How do you find your voice? 

It’s already there.  Audibly, no doubt.  On paper, only as you relax and allow your soul to speak your story.