Finding Your Writing Voice

, , , | Colin Dawson

A strong voice makes us stand out from the mundane of the manual. A strong voice helps us bond with our learners, encouraging them to make the changes we are advocating

But how?

Your writing voice develops over time ,and you can accelerate that by following these tips . . .

Tip 1:  Decide who you’re writing for

When you write a personal email, do you think of the person you’re writing to?

As Kurt Vonnegut said: “Write to please just one person.  If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia”

To find your writing voice start writing by imagining your reader . . . preferably someone who identifies with you and shows enthusiasm for your theme.  When you write for that reader, your writing become more human, more real.

Tip 2: Make your voice stronger

We’ve all listened to a speaker with a weak voice. They soon lose us to other thoughts.

A strong voice starts with clarity of thought.  When you know what you want to communicate, you can present your facts clearly.  Without frills.  Without blabbering.

For instance, Apple’s copy mostly communicates clear messages.  The following extract is from the iPhone 13 Pro Sales page.

Example of Apple’s Strong Voice: With its redesigned lens and powerful autofocus system, the new Ultra-Wide camera can focus at just 2 cm – making even the smallest details seem epic.  Transform a leaf into abstract art.  Capture a caterpillar’s fuzz.  Magnify a dewdrop.  The beauty of tiny awaits.

The copy is strong because the message is clear and the copy is specific, vivid and concise:

  • The feature mentioned is specific:  the Ultra Wide camera can focus at just 2 cm.
  • Vivid imagery explains the benefit . . . e.g. transforming a leaf into abstract art.
  • Each word matters.

When you communicate one clear message, your voice feels stronger.  So, pinpoint your message, cut away the fluff, and let your message shine more brightly.

Tip 3:  Let your values support you

A strong voice is more than a writing style

A writing style is about how you communicate

A voice is what you communicate, too.

And what you communicate is both your message and your values.

To find your voice, notice when you feel most alive, and pay attention to what sparks your creativity and what makes your heart sing.  Allow yourself to discover what matters to you.

Tip 4:  Pay attention to your favourite authors

The last step in finding your voice is to emulate writers whose work resonates most with you.

When reading the work of your favourite authors, pay attention to their word choice, the imagery, the rhythm, and their use of creative writing techniques.  Do they address you directly as a reader?  Do they tell stories about themselves or only about other people?

Keep writing for learning.  Your learners don’t want dull text book text.  They want to enjoy the journey with you, not struggle through the steep climb on their own.

So keep being you.

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