A guest post by Kyle Weckerly
In 0.84 seconds, Google has returned 1,150,000,000 results based on the search query; how to find your writing voice.
In 0.79 seconds, Google comes up with 1,840,000,000 results for the query: how to find your writing style.
Any writer worth reading has a distinct style and voice that readers enjoy, well, reading.
Given the vast amount of information out there to help you find both your writing voice and style, it seems to be saying something else; you are not unique.
We know this to be false because no matter what, you are the only one with your name, face, and life experiences. How is it then that we take so much time to find a writing style and voice that is uniquely our own?
A quick note about me: I am a twin.
An identical twin.
Thanks to a lucky roll of the genetic dice, my parents got a two-for-one pregnancy! Less than one minute after I was born, my twin brother was also pulled from the womb via c-section. Since then, my brother and I have been the closest thing to a photocopy of a human. My brother is about my height, has the same eye and hair color. If you were to ask my parents what makes us different, both would give you a catalog of things they, and only they, claim to know about us. Furthermore, they will say this intimate knowledge is why they can always tell us apart.
No more than five minutes after making this claim, one of them will call me by my twin’s name. This has become so predictable that I can put money on it happening. No one takes me up on that bet anymore.
Because of this twin status, I’ve always been quick to point out what made me different, why I was not him. Part of this was because everyone kept getting us mixed up. If my parents had a hard time with it, what hope did strangers have?
As these things go, an irrational fear began to develop; that no one would remember me.
When I got serious about writing, I dove into finding my own voice and style. For reasons similar to differentiating myself from my twin, I always pointed out how my writing was not like others. It became an obsession to make sure my writing was seen as me.
Much like being a twin, however, the more and more I pointed out how my writing was different, the more and more people would confuse it with others.
Finding the Words
To this day, my parents still confuse me with my twin brother. Although we live in different states and I’m a father, neither my mother nor father can tell us apart. I’ve come to accept that being a twin causes confusion for normal people. There is nothing I can do about it.
As for my writing voice, however, there is something I can do about that.
I like the writing styles of Drew Karpyshyn, Chuck Palahniuk, Malcolm Gladwell, Michael Lewis, and many others. They have ways of bouncing a noun off a verb that is inspiring. I have multiple books from each author and underlined passages in them. I listened and re-listened to their audiobooks to get the phrasing down. That way I hear it in my head when I write.
At first, I was eager to incorporate their most-used tropes and pacing into my writing. But I was worried that, like being a twin, people would mistake it for some other author. They would read it and assume I was just a cookie-cutter copy. Yet, as I continued to write, ensuring the words sounded like words only I would use, nothing was getting published.
If you like reading Gladwell, you can probably see some of his style woven throughout this post. Yet, the writing is my own. That’s not because I’ve worked to perfect my writing style. I’m far from being on par with authors like Gladwell, Lewis, Karpyshyn, and Palahniuk. Heck, I’m far from being good!
Getting to a place where I’m comfortable with letting others read my work is because I’ve stopped trying to be me.
What makes your writing different?
So how do you find your own writing voice? What makes your writing different?
The answer comes from not asking the question at all!
You may like the way Gillian Flynn creates a character. You may squeal when Ruth Ware reveals the plot twist in a way that only she can.
And you’ll probably read and reread their works so that you can get your own writing started.
From there, your personality, tone, experiences, and unique point of view will bleed into the work. Without even trying to find your writing voice, you’ll create work that is undeniably you so long as you keep writing.
Take it from a twin, trying to “be different” for the sake of being different doesn’t make you unique.
Writing about what you want to write about will!
When the manuscript is done, bring it to 1106 Design and we’ll enable you to create a quality published book. Best of all, it’ll be written by the one and only you.
Kyle Weckerly is a writer in progress. He produces content, maintains social media, and monitors SEO. Beyond that, he’s pursuing his passion to write novels and apply his writing skillset to help others.