How Do I Find My Writing Voice?

The world of freelance writing has blossomed in the past years. With more businesses than ever needing quality content there has never been a better time to be a writer.

But …… with more work comes increased competition.

How Do I Find My Writing Voice?

Your voice is your calling card, your copy fingerprint.

With so many writers competing for each project it’s important you have something that helps you to stand out from the crowd.

What is this secret ingredient I hear you say? That will be: your writing voice.

Your voice is your calling card, your copy fingerprint.

It’s your personality in paper form, the sum of your likes, dislikes, traits and life experience. As Freelancer FAQ’s head honcho Elna Cain says: no one can write like you. Your writing style may be similar to others but it will never be the same.

At the moment your voice may be a whisper to you or you might not be able to hear it at all, so let’s look at increasing the volume.

Who Are You?

Your writing voice is a portion of your personality on paper. Who you are on and off paper should be closely linked. I’m not saying pour your heart and soul over the notepad, you need to cherry pick. But before you can do this you need to know who you are in the first place (or at least have a vague idea!).

So make yourself a cuppa, sit down somewhere quiet and take a moment to think:

  • What defines you?
  • How would you describe yourself?
  • What would others say?

It also helps to think about your taste when it comes to writing:

  • What do you like to read?
  • Which writers inspire you?

Action: Write down 5 adjectives that you think describes you. Don’t think too hard about this, and don’t judge, just write the first answers that pop into your head.

This should help to get the juices flowing.

Action: Message your 5 closest friends or familiar members and ask them to give 5 adjectives. Hopefully similar words or themes should come up.

I want you to pick the most 3 most popular ideas from this task and the last and commit them to memory.

Every time you write keep these adjectives in mind and try to add some of that personality to your words and structure. Don’t crowbar it in however, if it doesn’t fit it, it doesn’t fit. E.g. I’m constantly trying to be funny but that isn’t always appropriate!

Writing it Out

The best way to find your writing voice is………..writing. Who would of thunk it?!

Action: Write a short paragraph about something you are passionate about. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, you can even write about your favorite food or color if you want (it’s like being back in elementary school isn’t it?!).

Just write, don’t worry too much about grammar, structure or continuity, and just let it flow.

Action: Write a short paragraph about how to wash your dishes. If you have a dishwasher, write about loading it or brushing your teeth. Just make sure the subject matter is boring and it’s not something you enjoy.

Harder right?

I bet you struggled to add a little piece of you to something you weren’t fired up about. This is why I recommend finding your niche when writing. Write about topics that inspire you and make you want to shout about them from the rooftops!

It’s much easier to write in a unique way when you feel like that.

Personality in Mundality

Sometimes you may have to write about topics that you don’t really care about. You can still write with your voice but it can be a little trickier to get into it.

Here’s a bonus task to prove my point:

Action: Go back to the boring paragraph you wrote and highlight anything that you feel is part of your voice. It may be that you write with humor, sarcasm, or honesty.

You may write in short sharp sentences, include analogies or like to break the rules of grammar frequently. All these characteristics make up the DNA of your voice. I bet that you still managed to inject your personality into the passage even if you didn’t enjoy doing it.

If you find it hard always go back to the 3 magic adjectives, how can you include them in your piece?

Let’s Talk

How do you speak in everyday life?

When you are writing it helps to imagine you are talking to someone else.

Christy O’Shoney recommends reading your writing out loud.

Jeni Elliot says to write like you are writing an email to a single person. This stops you from getting caught up in writing to a large audience.

So there you have it. Do some work on yourself and your writing and your voice will soon follow. Listen to it and nurture it until it’s loud and clear.

Nick Stephens is a freelance writer with many strings to his bow. He is fascinated by digital marketing and his passion is helping small businesses to grow online. Nick runs his own digital marketing company and a blog about partner dance. When he isn’t logged on you can find him DJ-ing or attempting to cut a rug himself.

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Hi Nick, Thanks so much for writing this post. I believe we stopped saying voice and started saying brand and that confused a bunch of people. This post clears that up. I say picket peacefully and bring back the voice. Of course, your voice is a note in the harmony of your brand, because your brand can be graphic design, logo, etc too. What do you think, Nick? Do brand and voice mean the same thing to a freelance writer?Reply to Jeff
Thanks Elna! It took me a while when I started but the exercises definitely help. It feels like an ongoing process that will never be quite complete too. NickReply to Nick
Hi Nick, Great post! I think the more you write and read, the more your voice will come out. You start to develop certain writing habits that make your writing unique. I like how you included exercises to help develop your writing voice!Reply to Elna