Writing Voice – What it is & How to find it
Your writing voice is as distinctive and recognisable as the voice that comes out of your mouth. Yet, there are two things that will hold you back from connecting with your writing voice.
The first is vulnerability because, let’s face it, no one likes to feel vulnerable. The second is trust. Trust is very much connected to vulnerability. The two form a partnership. To invite vulnerability in you have to create a space for trust. And, to create a space for trust, you need to feel safe.
But I don’t want to come across as a victim
I hear you. I understand why you might think that. And I can wholeheartedly relate to this thought. Most people don’t share their most painful, shameful, embarrassing or challenging moments. Most people go straight to the good stuff, happy to tell of the achievement now that the ‘uncomfortable’ part of the journey is a safe distance behind them.
The phrase ‘airing your dirty laundry outside’ is outdated. This phrase suggests that people must keep the struggle and the dirt of a situation behind closed doors. It also suggests that it’s a distasteful act to speak of uncomfortable or unpleasant parts of our lives. And, what comes from this, is that people are made to feel that the struggle and the real colour of a situation would be treated as gossip or light entertainment. But if they don’t connect with their true writing voice then they won’t connect with their reader. Writers have to imagine that their reader is a dear friend that they would share anything with.
For writers just starting out the idea of vulnerability resulting in shame will stand in the way of them connecting to their true, authentic writing voice. For writers that are in the spring of their writing journey, they may have experienced this vulnerability and never shown another person what they’d written.
This is perfectly understandable because vulnerability is scary. It’s much easier to keep it in a box in a safe corner of the mind, where no one else can see it. But if you’re wanting to connect to your writing voice then you’re going to HAVE TO get brave. You’re going to HAVE TO change your perspective in how you see vulnerability. And, you’re going to need to dive on into it knowing that no matter what you are SAFE.
This is trust.
The idea that vulnerability leads to shame is an archaic perspective that can be shifted into something more positive. Because for every vulnerable moment there is a courageous one. And for those writers (and non-writers) most willing to show the ‘whole’ journey and not just the courageous victory – those people are the ones that will have worked the hardest, endured the most, and learnt from their experience – these are the writers (and people) that will have looked every emotion in the eye and faced it head on – not hidden away. These will be the most respected.
Showing up on the page with honesty, integrity and a whole heart is exactly what commands an audience to look closer. Not for entertainment. Not for gossip. Not to inflict shame. If writers show up in a way that is true for them, their audience will be able to relate, they’ll be able to see themselves in the story, and they’ll see their own challenges reflected back at them.
It’s not just writers who feel shame through vulnerability – the phrase ‘don’t air your dirty laundry in public’ goes way deeper within our culture. Readers feel this too – which is why they might pick up a book instead of speaking to someone. People have the capacity to think that a problem or challenge is isolated to them alone. Talking to another person and exposing vulnerability is a last resort for some people. But as a writer, it HAS TO BE the first because of this very reason. You have to say it because they won’t.
What if I put myself out there and no one cares?
People care. I promise you, people will care. This is where vulnerability meets trust, and where you need to meet your audience to get a clear understanding of what they need, how you relate to one another, what their challenges or desires are and how you can connect your experience to what they need to know. Connecting with your audience is crucial to your voice being heard by those who need it most.
What you have, they want. Connect with your audience and you will never feel that what you have to share is irrelevant.
. If you have experienced trauma, and your story is one of inspirational support, then you would seek out others who have experienced similar.
. If you have created a harmonious, positive and thriving sales team, then you would want to connect with leaders looking at new ways to improve morale and productivity within their team.
. If you have created a formula for email list building then you would identify business owners who are wanting to increase profits through an email nurture campaign.
There is always a community waiting for you. If you’re unsure of what yours might look like download this free guide sheet to explore what they might need and what you have to offer them.
Writing voice – how to know it’s yours
You’ll know your connected to your writing voice because at first it may feel uncomfortable. It may even feel dangerous. Opening that channel between your head and your heart always feels like a risk but you won’t connect to your true authentic writing voice unless you let go of all the reasons why you shouldn’t and embrace all the reasons why you should.
If you begin to write and become afraid that someone might see what you’ve written, then close the door behind you, create a safe space for you to continue and allow the vulnerability to flow into what you’re writing. Vulnerability shapes differently for everyone. It’s all relative – which is why it’s important to sync with your audience – your audience will be your community.
When you write from a place of vulnerability, you’re writing from a place of wholeheartedness – and when we do anything with all our hearts, it’s natural for us to be aware of the risks involved. When you don’t put your whole heart into something you are likely to not care that much for what the outcome may bring – because you didn’t invest that much to begin with.
Connecting to your writing voice will feel like you’ve connected to a friend. Perhaps a secret friend. Many people write journals and I bet every single one of them will refuse to show anyone their content. This is because within the pages of a journal is a sacred place between the journal and the writer. If you’ve written in a journal then you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t and you’re trying to connect with your authentic true writing voice then I suggest you give journal writing a try. You could even sign up to my 7 Day Journal Writing challenge.
When you feel that you’re being true to yourself and what’s in your heart is pouring on to the page – this is when you know that you’ve connected to your writing voice. For ways to connect to your writing voice check out this blog post.
Vulnerability leads to courage which leads to wisdom in your writing voice
Connecting to your writing voice is not all about vulnerability. The beautiful part of connecting with this voice that is true to you and who you are and all that you’ve been, or all that you aspire to become is that this place also harbours wisdom. Your authentic and true writing voice (and you as a person) has the ability to tap into and connect with the wisdom of your experiences and the lessons you’ve learnt. As I wrote earlier, not everyone allows themselves this connection – some may even be afraid of it – but if you’re still reading this – then I believe you are interested in writing something with real intention, purpose and value. Perhaps only for yourself at this stage – whatever your intention to keep reading continue to process this information and take the next right step in alignment with you fulfilling your purpose in connecting to your writing voice.
There is great wisdom to be offered that flows freely within us, and can be written effortlessly onto a page when we’re willing to explore a deeper connection to what we write. This wisdom is in you. By connecting with your writing voice you have the opportunity to draw from this wisdom.
Not only will you be opening up the door to vulnerability, you’ll also be able to reflect on your courage and harness your wisdom. This is the power of a true connection to your authentic writing voice.
I have no doubt that you’re capable of accessing everything you need. All that’s left to do is commit and practice. Sign up to the 7 DAY Journal Writing Challenge and see where it takes you!
Respectfully your guide,