As a writer, it feels like I am always looking for “my voice”. Maybe that’s just the journey I’m on right now and sooner than later, that will be over and I will move on to a new career challenge. Of all the research I have done about finding your writer’s voice, one of the best I have found comes from Goins, Writer.
I think it’s important, however, to examine exactly what the writer’s voice is and possibly discover where it comes from before actually attempting to find it. After all, the thought of “having a voice” seems to be such an intangible thing. It’s something that, if you do a little work towards getting published or read the comments on any author’s amazon page, you will find mentioned a lot. It seems that everyone is looking for an author with a unique voice….but what exactly is a writing voice? Where does such a voice come from.
The writing voice seems to be, on the surface, all about style. How does an author describe things? How does he/she define characters? What is the author’s pacing like? These things are often deemed to be an expression of the writer’s voice. This explanation doesn’t really work for me. I think it comes from growing up in the Appalachian mountains. In those lands, one can’t really take a person’s choice of words to be a correct assumption of their level of intelligence or an expression of their true thought.
The writer’s voice is much deeper than a simple choice of words or the structure of the author’s sentences. It is a literal expression of the writer’s soul. Of course, a clear stylistic approach to this expression is important but when it comes down to it, an author’s personal ideology is more related to the writer’s voice than anything else.
Ideology is defined as “a system of ideas and ideals”. Even the most primitive individuals posses a sense of this. It is the ideology of the author which will peak out beneath the system of writing that the author tries to use. The biases of the author, the subtle systems of ideology that exist within the author, and the basic beliefs that the authors hold will always come through in syntax. Finding your writing voice becomes a matter of embracing this ideology and finding a way to fuse it into the very fiber of your written word.