Just a thought

“Be yourself… no-one else is better qualified.”

Frank J. Giblin II

Writing courses, books and the speakers at writers’ workshops and seminars often promote the idea of “finding your voice”. What exactly does that mean? How do you find your voice through your writing?

I believe that it comes in two ways:

  1. Frequent and constant practice in the art of writing.
  2. Being yourself, that is, letting the “real you” speak.

There is no substitute for frequent, daily if possible, writing practice. Write, write, write – anything, everything and with great enthusiasm and passion until writing becomes second nature, it becomes a part of you.

I read many years ago about a young writer approached Ray Bradbury (I think – it might have been Asimov) and asked for advice about becoming a writer. His reply, “Go and write a million words, and then we’ll talk about how to be a writer.” His point; practise writing – write, write, write – and then you’ll be ready to be a writer.

New writers expect instant success. You have to do the hard yards first. An athlete doesn’t expect an Olympic Gold Medal the first time he pulls on the running shoes, so why do writers expect their first piece of writing to be a blockbuster?

As you write, write, write you will develop a writing style that is just you. Nobody else can write just like you. That’s your voice. Don’t pretend to be anyone else. It will sound false and it will certainly turn off your readers. On occasions, I have tried to write in a certain style copying writers I admire. It doesn’t work. It sounded pretentious, insincere and downright stupid.

Be yourself – and you will find your writer’s voice.

Oh – by the way – I’m well on my way to completing my second million words!

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