Speak With Your Pen

Written By: jOakes

What exactly is a “writer’s voice”?

Just as everybody has a distinct and recognizable voice when they speak –a product of tone, volume and cadence –every writer has a voice, as well; one which speaks through his or her writing. That voice – essentially, the writer’s style – is one of the biggest reasons we’re drawn to particular authors.

And just as you can control the pitch and volume with which you speak, you can adjust the dial of your writing – at least to a degree. You can even disguise your writer’s voice.

We’re influenced by what we read. We absorb much of it subconsciously – but it all goes towards feeding the style we use when we write.

Thus, a writer’s voice is the sum total of different elements:

1. What we read.
2. Who we emulate.
3. Who we are (the differential).

The third part of the equation is out of our control – but that’s a good thing, because it’s what makes each of us unique. We want to be ourselves as fully as we can – but, ironically, we arrive at this by emulation. We take the long way home.

There is an art-form known as photo-realism. I would argue that many, if not most, painters aim for photo-realism – yet it’s what occurs in the process of that pursuit that defines their style.

In this class, we will begin by writing without self-consciousness (and writing is one art form that usually requires self-consciousness, to a degree). We’ll just write.

From there, we’ll tweak the volume, rhythm and tone. We’ll make it louder by being wordier and using metaphors. We’ll tone it down, becoming wordsmith minimalists. But we’ll always try to write as well as we can. That’s rule # 1.

Don’t worry about finding your voice. Let it find you.

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