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Finding Your Writing Voice


Writing Voice ConfusionAgents complain that their slush piles overflow with variations of the same stories offered over and over, each by a writer without a unique writing voice. Why does this happen? And how can you prevent it from happening to you?

Your writing voice is a lot like your shadow. You don’t decide to have a shadow. You just do. In the same way, your writing is already part of you. Your personality, perceptions and beliefs combine with the little choices you make as you write to form your writing voice. Capturing such a will-o-the wisp can be as tough and pointless as trying to catch your own shadow.

If it’s that difficult to pin down your own writing voice, how much harder is it to imitate someone else’s? And yet, that’s what many writers do. We chase market trends and write without heart. We emulate other writers but fail to convince anyone of our truth. And if we live a lie long enough, we can forget who we were in the first place.

When Peter Pan first visited the Darling’s nursery, as you may recall, he was hunting for his shadow. When we as writers don’t trust our own voices, we become like Peter. We lose our shadows. It can take some doing to find those pesky shadows again, and even then they don’t reattach easily.

Peter needed Wendy’s help to sew his shadow back on. Sometimes it takes someone else’s efforts to put things right. If you’ve lost your writing voice or lack the confidence to trust it, seek honest feedback through writing groups, critique partners and/or mentors.

It’s worth the effort to try. Remember, Neverland awaits.

Written by Janalyn Voigt

Janalyn Voigt

© Janalyn Voigt
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I’m Janalyn Voigt, an author, speaker, and former social media mentor. DawnSinger and Wayfarer, the first two books in my epic fantasy series, Tales of Faeraven, released with Pelican Book Group and will be followed by at least two more installments. I’m also working on a romantic suspense novel set in an Irish castle, but then historical fiction has a grip on me too. Being unabashedly multi-genre makes me into what some might term a reluctant rebel, but I prefer to think of myself as a storyteller.

2 thoughts on “Finding Your Writing Voice”

  1. Really good points on voice. I liked the metaphor of shadow. I’m going to quote you some day on this.

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