Your writing voice is not unlike your speaking voice—it will take time for you to learn to recognize it. Think back to the first time you heard your own voice recorded and played back to you. Remember your surprise at the sound of your own voice. People hear your voice differently than you do.
The same is true of your writing voice. It’s not so much that other people hear your writing voice differently than you do, it’s just that you don’t know what your writing voice sounds like yet. The writing down of your words is the recording. The experience the reader has as he reads your words is directed by your voice.
We all have a writing voice. The key to becoming an influential writer is to recognize your own voice.
Six techniques to use to recognize your own writing voice.
1) Write, a lot.
In order to recognize your writing voice you must hear it over and over and over again. You must hear it enough so that you are able to reproduce it consistently. In order to do this, you must write every day.
Set a goal. The goal should be between 100 to 1,000 words a day. Don’t worry about what you’re writing at first. Just write. Keep your writing organized in folders by idea. Then, begin to combine individual writing sessions into more developed articles, chapters, and blog posts.
Use an app like Commit to stay on track. Stay accountable to yourself.
2) Listen closely to the voices you are drawn to.
Your voice is strongly influenced by the voices you listen to. Begin to pay attention to why you are drawn to the expression of certain artists. Be intentional about this.
Make a list of your favorite artists. List your favorite musician, your favorite author, your favorite poet, your favorite actor, your favorite teacher, your favorite movie, your favorite book, your favorite poem, etc. For each of these, write three adjectives that describe the voice that you hear through each.
Your voice will be a unique composite of these voices. Pick from these descriptors the ones you would like to incorporate into your own voice.
3) Identify the audience you are writing to.
Writing is a transaction carried out between two people—the writer and the reader. In order to hear your writing voice, you must hear the conversation you are having with the reader. As in any conversation, this one has an audible tone. You don’t speak to your young children the same way you speak to your adult children. You don’t speak to your best friend the same way you speak to your boss.
Get to know your reader well. Identify him or her in as much detail as you can. Allow him to come alive in your imagination as you write. Converse with her as you write. Think about his response to what you have to say. Anticipate her reaction to your words. Where do you want to take your reader? How do you want to get him there?
4) Determine your spiritual gifting.
Take the time to discern the spiritual gifts that you have been given. You have been uniquely designed by the Lord. He has given you an assignment and gifted you with the ability to complete that assignment. Your writing voice will reflect your unique design. Your unique design will enable you to speak to those who need to hear what you have to say.
Take a spiritual gift inventory. One of the best is by C. Peter Wagner http://www.amazon.com/Discover-Spiritual-Gifts-Peter-Wagner/dp/0739452592 . I’ll write more about this topic in my next post.
5) Pay attention what to makes you unique.
What are your hobbies, your favorite things to do, your experiences? Ask your friends what expressions you always use, what idiosyncrasies you have, what they like about the way you speak, what they enjoy about your personality?
Your perspective of your own voice is so familiar it can cause you to believe that your voice is mundane and ordinary. Just like hearing the sound of your recorded voice, you will be surprised at how unique your voice is from the perspective of others. You have a way of saying things through your writing that no one else can say in the same way.
6) Learn to recognize the voice of the Spirit.
Your voice will develop as you have conversation with God in prayer. Prayer is not working through a laundry list of requests you desire God to answer on your behalf. Fundamentally, prayer is a conversation with a personable God who wants to spend time with you. He desires to let you know how much He loves you. He knows everything about you.
In prayer, you learn of the character of God. In turn, you discover who you have been created to be by His loving hand. He created the voice He placed within you. Ask Him to reveal the characteristics of your own writing voice.
Your ability to accomplish your goals in writing are dependent on developing an influential writing voice. Take some time to explore these six areas. What surprised you as you began to listen for your voice in these five areas? Please leave a comment below to let us know of your discovery. It will greatly encourage others in their own process of discovery.