Experience is the path toward finding your true writer’s voice You may start your writing career by sub-consciously imitating a writer you greatly admire, but in the end, you’ll find the greatest satisfaction comes from being yourself.
Here are three exercises for shifting away from imitation and writing from your core being.
1. Play word association with yourself.
Write the word “blue” at the top of a blank sheet of paper, then go from one word to another all the way down the page. Try for longer words:
Have fun and do this daily before writing. Exercise that vocabulary!
2. Have a conversation with yourself.
Listen to your mind’s self-talk. Delve deep down and write everything you hear inside. Figure out which phrases are hard-wired into your brain.
“Could use more juice?”
“Energy? Coffee? Why are you asking?”
“Just trying to get to know you better.”
“I’m as quiet as can be.”
“Sure, that’s why you’re a writer.”
Get the idea? Keep the conversation with your inner self going for about ten minutes. You can try this exercise more than once. Why not do it daily before you start writing?
3. Close your eyes and meditate on a situation you believe would be utterly cool.
This is to be an exciting place, wherever that might be for you. You may have several ideas come to mind. Choose just one to focus on – save your other ideas for later.
Get into that one utterly cool scene. See the sights. Feel your surroundings.
As you imagine yourself there take note of any events as you’ll be writing about them later.
Sniff the air – what do you smell?
Turn around. Turn all the way around, if possible, looking at everything there is to see.
What can you touch? Handle it, taking note of the sensations.
What words describe the way things feel?
Is there anything there for you to taste? If so, do so now.
And what can you hear? Examine that.
After you have explored your very cool world – it is time to write about it. Using all your mental notes, write down where you’ve been and what you were doing there.
Make this as short or long as you like. It is your world, your sensations, your imaginary events. Enjoy them!
Here’s something I wrote using this technique for finding my true writer’s voice
I’m at a stream. There’s a noisy waterfall upstream and I want to walk up there.
First I sniff the air and it is kind of sweet… maybe like berries. I think, “That’s not a good thing,” because there could be wild animals around looking for food. But I don’t see any. I also don’t see any berries. There are some branches, but no food to taste.
I look all the way around me, turning around on the rock I’m standing on. Right behind me there’s a steep embankment so I don’t see into the forest. I only see the stream, downstream, and across to another embankment, then upstream where the stream is wider where the waterfall plunges into it.
I want to walk up there, to be close to the waterfall, where there’s more light. Where I’m standing, I’m on a rock, with green plants around me. There are more rocks, smaller ones, and I have to cross them to move upstream.
I don’t slip, but I step into the edge of the stream to test the current. It isn’t a strong current. I can walk upstream in the creek so long as I stay near the edge.
This is a writing practice technique. It sharpens your imagination and puts you in touch with the scene your character might be in. The more you practice writing using techniques like this, the more your own personal writer’s voice will emerge.
Finding your true writer’s voice is a matter of practice. Write what you love and don’t stress out, thinking of what you think you should write. In good writing, there is no shoulding… just break that habit, and be you!
About the author: Linda Jo Martin lives in Northern Idaho near the Spokane River, not far from Lake Coeur d’Alene. She’s