This morning my wife told our four-year-old daughter, “use your words.” We want our daughter to express her feelings verbally instead of defaulting to angry tactics. I was hit with a little bit of writer’s block until I remembered those words. Today, I’m writing about using your words for finding your writing voice.
Pull from your experiences and environment.
This makes your content real and authentic. No one has your unique combination of personal experiences and interactions with your environment. These experiences and interactions must stimulate your writing if you want to develop your own brand of communication. Take the good, bad and neutral and use it for inspiration.
This is critical. An original voice can be (and most likely is) a combination of several to many pre-existing styles. Study writers who can move their readers and keep them coming back for more. One word of caution… don’t obsess over other people’s styles. You should never drill down so deep into someone’s voice that you begin to lose your own identity. Do you!
Don’t overthink. Flow.
After you completely research your topic, take a while to think about your subject before sitting down to bang it out. Let the ideas roll around in your head for several minutes and allow them to form a loose order. Your words should flow like water without much stopping and referencing. Don’t stop for too much thesaurus action. Learn new words from reading and having quality social interactions. Wait until you’re done with your initial draft to do a spell check. Hit a rhythm and do whatever you can to not have it interrupted. Of course this takes practice, but it should be your ideal process.
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Use colorful language (if it’s you).
Don’t curse because it’s the cool or edgy thing to do. Use colorful language only if you mean it and can do it well. I see so many horrible uses of swearing in sports blogging and by lame wannabe edgy public speakers.
Experiment with music.
I listen to music with minimal/smooth lyrics/vocals while writing (i.e. Radiohead, Zero 7 and certain Pink Floyd). Music inspires a mood that can inspire creative writing. The awesome thing about instrumental music is that you can play the songwriter role while composing content.
Don’t over-SEO your writing.
It’s so obvious when people stuff keywords into their content. One, it makes your writing sound robotic. Two, Google is on to you. Write like you have some human sense.
Oh, one more… If you work with an editor, make sure they refine/clean up your writing without stripping away your style. A good editor brings out the essence of your voice.
Take these tips, minimize all distractions and use your words.
Do you have any tips to add? Put them in the comments section below so we can continue the conversation.