Admit it: You love the photo. And if that doesn’t sum up my unique writing voice (to say nothing of my personality), nothing will. I’m weird! I’m irreverent! And if there’s a pun to be had, I’m not going to bite my tongue and leave it out. My body will go into seizures if I try. You won’t find anyone else who writes with the same turns of phrase and tongue-in-cheek humor that I do. (Whether you view that as a good thing or a bad is entirely up to you) But that’s what a writer NEEDS: A way of combining words that no one else has ever dreamed of.
Now, this isn’t intended as a Brain Break post, but I’m going to throw in a little English lesson here. Your writing voice is the way you “speak:”
The specific vocabulary, tone, point of view, and sentence structure used by a writer to convey meaning.
Depending on what you’re working on, you can divide that up into:
- Author voice
- Character voice
- Narrator voice
I’m not leaving freelancers out of the mix, either. Even when you’re working to capture the branding and messaging of your client, you still utilize the tools above to work in your unique writing voice to the pieces you submit. If someone reads through blog posts on a site, odds are they’ll pick out what you offered from someone else. (Think of that as your “author voice” at work)
The way you write leaves little TELLS.
Or it SHOULD.
Unique Writing Voice: Why It Matters
How much written information appears on the internet? Go ahead and take a look; I’ll wait. Just kidding. I won’t live long enough for you to find that answer. (Not sure even Google knows) ANYTHING with words on it counts. So even infographics go into that pot.
SOMEONE needs to come up with those documents. And companies don’t always rely on the most talented people for the job. (You’ve seen my rant on freelance marketplaces) What results is tons of material that sounds identical.
Sometimes because of plagiarism. (Okay, a lot of times due to plagiarism)
Other times because people see a page or site with a high rank and decide that tone is what’s successful. So they copy it. Nevermind the INFORMATION and CUSTOMER LOYALTY are what’s driving the engagement. Nope, the writers fixate on a tiny detail and mimic it.
All that does is turn their client into a copycat. Or their books into duplicates. People shake their heads because they feel like they’ve all heard it before. Mainly because they HAVE.
Think about it: When you hear a song with the same base track, which stays in your mind? The first one or the second? (Or, to put it another way, the one with an ingrained memory or one you catch at random?)
Mimicry works amazingly – in biology. It prevents non-toxic insects and plants from getting devoured by predators.
But copying accomplished writers doesn’t do shit for YOU.
Finding Your Unique Writing Voice
So what IS your unique writing voice?
Obviously, I can’t put my finger on that answer. Well, not without reading through a stack of examples from you. (Message me to set up a meeting, and we can talk about that possibility)
But YOU can start to look at your writing and find the answer:
- What word choices do you make? Is there a vocabulary level you find yourself sticking to? Do you use other languages in your writing? Are you okay with slang? How about abbreviations?
- How do you build sentences? Do you vary sentence length? Are you the sort that loves long, flowing masterpieces that drive Grammarly and Hemingway up the wall? Is chopping things up for emphasis your bag?
- Where’s your point of reference? Are you a classical soul? Do you gravitate towards politics? Can you not go one conversation without bringing up someone in literature? Are you current on the latest trends?
- What’s your POV? Do you like engaging in topics WITH your audience? Would you rather remain objective? Is a conversational tone prefereable? Does writing a letter sound appealing?
- Describe your predominant emotion. Are you serious and studious? Carefree? Humorous? In an educational mood? A mix of everything?
The answers to these questions shape and define your unique writing voice. Because no two writers build that profile the same way. It’s why when you provide an outline to two people, you get two vastly different pieces.
And that’s how it’s SUPPOSED to be. We don’t want cloned writing dominating our world.
This isn’t 1984. (Not yet, anyway)
Who Are You?
So here’s a little homework for you. (Obviously, I’m not grading anyone. Entirely up to you whether you choose to take the bait, as it were)
Sit down with a pile of your writing. Work, school work, journals, short stories, novels, whatever you want. Read through it, and start taking notes on EVERYTHING.
What elements of your writing voice do you see? Anything you feel is unique and stands out?
GOOD! That’s YOU!
Those bits and pieces will help you stand out from the crowd. (Please skip over spelling and grammar errors. No one wants those)
And tell me below: What makes YOU different from the other writers out there. (Weirdos need to stick together, so don’t feel embarrassed)