How To Find Your Personal Style As A Writer

One of my blog buddies, Renny, suggested I answer this question for a post: How do you find your personal style as a writer?

It has taken me awhile to get to it because it is a tough question to answer.

Personal writing style can also be called voice and the truth is, writers who don’t have it would kill to get it.

Sometimes I read student work that is raw, unedited, exuberant and wild. It may need plenty of work, but it has a voice, an energy, an originality that lifts off the page. It is so exciting when this happens. All those other problems can be fixed:

  • You can learn grammar
  • You can fix spelling and punctuation.
  • You can master the technical aspects of writing, whether fiction, or non-fiction.

What is not so easy to find is your voice.

  • Voice, or personal style, is like art: you know it when you see it.
  • Voice is what makes my blog on writing sound different than the next one you read.
  • Voice is what comes straight from the heart. It is what gives you authority and credibility—and you need authority and credibility even if you are writing fiction.

Okay, I hear you. “I want me some of that there style,” you’re saying. “How do I get me some?”

The answer is I don’t know that attaining voice is a mysterious process. Some people seem to be able to find their voice right away. For others it takes longer.

Finding voice most often has to do with writing a lot. Writing every day. Writing more. Writing like your life depended on it. Only by moving your pen across the page repeatedly will you access the voice deep within.

The Voice That is Great Within Us is the name of a poetry collection that I had in college and it is an apt title for personal style—which is, essentially, the voice that is great within us.

The Voice That is Great Within Us is what you want to let out on the page. It is the words that you might well censor as they well up inside you and out your fingertips. But don’t do that. Let it rip. This is why you must write a lot to find your voice—because the more you write, the more familiar you become with it. The more familiar you become with words, the more ease you have. And the more ease you have….the easier it is not to censor yourself.

This is why Renny and other bloggers have an advantage. We bloggers write a lot. (Brief aside: have you ever stopped to consider how glorious it is that here is so much writing going on now because of blogging?) And, let me just say it again—the more you write, the more likely you are to find your personal style.

Honestly, it all comes down to writing. In a pinch, choose quantity over quality. Let it rip, baby. That’s what God invented the art of rewriting for.

Why does everything having to do with writing always come down to writing?

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9 Comments on "How To Find Your Personal Style As A Writer"

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Linda R, Moore
Guest
09/04/2007 21:54

Such a purple blog. 🙂

I dunno…I love motorcycles. I love travel. It seemed kind of easy for me. 😉

From this all sorts of ideas and sidelines emerge. Hell, I’m even having a great deal of fun with my paid posts. I’m sure I’d have fun with copywriting as well. 🙂

Charlotte
Guest
09/04/2007 22:05

Purple it is, because, well, I love purple. And I figure if I love purple everyone else gets to love it with me! Good thing I didn’t decide to write a blog about purple, eh? The point you make is a good one–your niche is what you love! I was behind a couple of harleys on the freeway yesterday thinking how much I would love to be on one of them there bikes myself.

Vienne
Guest
10/02/2007 00:38

Hi Charlotte, I enjoyed this post. So much so I linked it in a recent discussion in the Blog Catalog’s Writer’s Group. You can see the link here and maybe you’d like to chime in!

http://www.blogcatalog.com/group/writers-and-writing/discuss/entry/since-the-issue-of-voice-came-up#comment_84652

kellypea
Guest
10/02/2007 17:13

So well said, and something that’s been on my mind for a couple of days. Also something I just spoke with my son about while helping him revise one of his papers. Voice — or the lack thereof– was the issue.

I keep losing you, so I’ve added you to my netvibes. That way, I’ll be able to get here more often.

Charlotte
Guest
10/02/2007 18:58

Hey Kelly, Good to see you here again and glad the post was helpful. I’m not surprised that you lost me–I was a wee bit missing in action over the last week as I tried to catch up on assignments!

Alan
Guest
10/02/2007 22:49

I don’t think that Voice is something you develop. I think it is something you have or don’t have, like an innate gift. At least that is how it seems for me.

You are in Portland? Give my regards to Powell’s, please.

RennyBA
Guest
10/03/2007 13:14
What a great answer to my question! Thanks for taking your time – one can really hear your voice in this article. I do agree in everything you say and of course blogging is a great way of practicing – where you really can ‘let it rip’. My theme is about sharing from my daily life in Norway and to me it has become a ‘givers gain’: the more I write, the more I get from commenter’s. Its inspiring and actually have enriches my life as I’ve become more aware of details from doing research of things I blog about… Read more »
Charlotte
Guest
10/03/2007 21:10

Thank you, Renny for suggesting the topic in the first place. And for the wonderful blog. And for being wonderful you!

Charlotte
Guest
10/03/2007 21:26

Hey Alan, Yes I do think voice is an innate gift–and I also think we all have it to one degree or another. That’s where practicing comes in. The more we write, the more we learn to let it rip. And that is when voice comes out, when we stand back and let it rip.

Powell’s says hey to you, too. I’ve had to ban myself from the place lately, it is too tempting.

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