Having Confidence in My Own Voice

I took writing classes, read and applied hundreds of writing craft books, and hired freelance editors. So ten years later, why did one freelance editor say I had no voice?

“It’s time,” she said, “to write a mission statement for your story. And stick to it.”

Then I read one more book, Finding Your Voice by Les Edgerton. I’d mistaken craft for voice, he said. And, as I honed my writing skills I’d lost my voice in the process.

Yet there was hope. On page 73 Les gave me a signed permission slip to write in my own natural voice.

My unique voice reveals my take on life, including my beliefs, fears, hopes, and dreams, memories of childhood celebration and disappointment, the embarrassing teenage years, followed by adult accomplishments and failures.

Some have said that writer’s block comes from editing out your natural voice before it reaches the page. Yet when you’re in the zone, words pour out freely, words that are in your natural voice.

When I use my natural voice, I have an original story. One that no one else can tell. I must simply accept that not everyone will like my writing and not everyone is my target audience.

Have you ever wondered why movies are so different from the books that inspired them? The fact is the filmmaker destroys the novel writer’s voice. If you prefer the book over the movie, what you loved about it was that voice.

In my own writing, I like to read the printed pages of my draft while walking around the house. The body mind connection kicks in and I realize when the dialogue is off. Ooops, I think, he wouldn’t talk like that. Layer by layer the character voice emerges.

“When you sit down to write, allow God to flow through you to use you. Let His words inspire you to write the things He lays on your heart. You are unique, and therefore your voice is unique in speech and in writing. Your voice is a gift straight from God’s hands, speak and write for His glory, and your matchless qualities will touch lives that no one else can touch”. ~~Lisa Buffaloe

Q4U: How did you find the secret to unlock the personality in your writing voice?

20 Replies to “Having Confidence in My Own Voice”

  1. So, so true! The difference between using someone else’s voice–whom I thought people wanted to read–and doing it through my own voice, was the difference for me between the rejection pile and publication.

  2. I put my voice into my story usually through one of the characters, usually the main character. I set his or her views and values as my own and create them similar to myself, but perhaps with some greater qualities that I aspire to have myself, or something like that. Making one of the characters like you – or the opposite to you might work too – or putting characters in similar situations to what you’ve experienced can help to bring out that voice. In the zone is always the best place to be writing; as you said, those are the words coming out in your natural voice. Thanks for sharing this post 🙂

  3. Great post! I found I can access my “voice” best when I write my story in longhand. Preferrably with a really sharp pencil and a $1 Mead composition notebook. It has the added advantage of allowing me to do a rough edit as I’m typing it into my computer. 🙂 Isn’t that weird???

  4. Two things that will engage me in a story are voice and character. If, when reading the last word and closing the book, I am sad because I know I will miss a friend (the writer and characters of that book), I know that’s a book I will return to … and an author I’ll read again. Love that picture above. And the quote below made me think of the Bible and all the “voices” God used. There is something in it for everyone, but some books will draw one reader more than the other, while others draw a different reader. God was such a smart editor :o). He knows His audience.

  5. Great post! Thank you. For my first book, I remember feeling and knowing exactly when the Lord took over and gave me the words to write. I feel strongly that my first book has my voice. However, for this second project, I have attended conferences and read many books about the craft and have seen that I have lost my voice along the way.

    Your post is a great reminder to stop…and pray…and ask the Lord to take over. I just did this and I feel better already!!

    Thanks again,

      1. Thanks, Sharon. Finding your true writing voice is as easy as relaxing and letting it flow, as you mention. My theory is that it’s hard enough to be who you are, let alone something you’re not.

  6. Sharon, your post couldn’t have come at a better time! Just today, we launched an ebook version of FINDING YOUR VOICE. Perfect timing! I’m just delighted you found it helpful. I’m posting both the Amazon link to the ebook (with your permissionm) as well as a link to my blog where I’ve posted some information on it.

    The Amazon link is: http://www.amazon.com/Finding-Your-Voice-Personality-ebook/dp/B007VEGNS6/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1334841824&sr=1-1-catcorr

    And the link to my post is: http://www.lesedgertononwriting.blogspot.com/2012/04/finding-your-voice-available-as-ebook.html

    If you’ll send me your email address, I’d be delighted to send you a gift copy of the ebook. My email is butchedgerton at comcast dot net. (All lower case)

    Again, my heartfelt thanks for your shout-out–I’m in your debt.

    Blue skies,

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