- Describe yourself in three adjectives.
I tell the truth. I am direct. I am passionate.
- Ask (and answer) the question: “Is this how I talk?”
I talk with a tone that is direct and sometimes very matter of fact. I am told often by my husband that I need to work on my tone of voice, as I can come off somewhat aggressive. I am working on this in my writing style and in my personal relationships.
- Imagine your ideal reader. Describe him in detail. Then, write to him, and only him.
My ideal reader is seeking to grow in their life. They are looking for accountability and support. They want to be a part of something bigger than themselves and something that gives purpose to their lives. They are seekers of truth.
- Jot down at least five books, articles, or blogs you like to read. Spend some time examining them. How are they alike? How are they different? What about how they’re written intrigues you? Often what we admire is what we aspire to be.
Jeff Goins; Donald Miller; Holy Bible; Money Saving Mom; Oswald Chambers.
The above are blogs and books I refer to on a daily basis. They are similar in that they call me to action. They each meet a need in my life to create and transform my life and those around me. They are all authentic and challenge me.
- List your favorite artistic and cultural influences. Are you using these as references in your writing, or avoiding them, because you don’t think people would understand them?
I think I must be using some music, art and books to influence me. Also, I am inspired by things I see on the web. Sometimes, I can get a blog post from a poster quote that I found on pinterest.
- Ask other people: “What’s my voice? What do I sound like?” Take notes of the answers you get.
My voice can be loud and over bearing. I can also I need to work on being compassionate in how I share my convictions. I need to be more sensitive to those who may not be ready to hear what I have to say.
HERE ARE SOME MORE EXERCISES to help you find your writing voice:
- Free-write. Just go nuts. Write in a way that’s most comfortable to you, without editing. Then go back and read it, asking yourself, “Do I publish stuff that sounds like this?”
- Read something you’ve recently written, and honestly ask yourself, “Is this something I would read?” If not, you must change your voice.
- Ask yourself: “Do I enjoy what I’m writing as I’m writing it?” If it feels like work, you may not be writing like yourself. (Caveat: Not every writer loves the act of writing, but it’s at least worth asking.)
- Pay attention to how you’re feeling. How do you feel before publishing? Afraid? Nervous? Worried? If so, you’re on the right track. If you’re completely calm, then you probably didn’t risk being vulnerable. Try writing something a little more dangerous, something a little more you. Fear is good.
These exercises came from a post by Jeff Goins, from his series 15 Habits of Great Writers: http://goinswriter.com/writing-voice/
This post came at a great time for me as I was struggling to ‘feel” inspired this morning. This series has challenged me to look at my relationship with writing and to be more disciplined in writing for this blog.
- Book Review: You Are A Writer (So Start Acting Like One!) by Jeff Goins (donabumgarner.typepad.com)
- Searching For God Knows What by Donald Miller (crittyjoy.wordpress.com)