Seven Simple Ways To Find Your Voice

1. Write. Every day. 

If you want to be a writer, you have to write. When you were learning to talk, you would babble on and practice making sounds until they eventually formed words. The same goes for writing. Write streams of unintelligible gibberish, write whatever comes into your head when you are staring at a blank page. Just write. Don’t worry if it doesn’t make sense. Don’t worry if it is babble. It will help you practice.

2. Listen to yourself talk. 

Write like that. If you can talk, you can write. It might not be perfect, but it will sound natural.

3. Read. A lot.

There is no truer way to understand how to express yourself than to read. The exposure to different styles is invaluable. And it will broaden your vocabulary.

4. Test Your Tenses

Write in the past tense (I loved that old typewriter). Write in the present tense (I love that old typewriter). Write in future tense (I will love that old typewriter). Write in first person. Write in third person (Jason Theodor loves that old typewriter). Don’t write in second person unless you really know what you are doing, like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s character Watson. What feels the most natural to you? I find that writing in the present tense, pretending that something is happening right now, is an interesting way to make memories come alive. But I had to try it first to know.

5. Strike a Tone

Are you funny or serious? Are you authoritative, or investigative? Is it light, or dark, sad or excited? Political? Religious? What is your personality? Is it opinionated, or scholarly (or both)? Is it casual, or formal? Practice a few styles and see what feels the most natural. Know your intended audience, but write for yourself.

6. Be Introspective

Think about how you think about thinking. Get inside your own head, and observe what goes on there. Try to capture that. How do you view the world? What do you think about? What do you really see? How do you feel about it? These questions can help you find things to write about, and a perspective to write from. What do you think about at night before bed? What do you think about when you commute to work? What do you think about when you shower, or when you drink a tall glass of water? Think about these things.

7. Be prepared

Always carry a notebook and a pencil. Even if you have a phone handy, a notebook will never run out of batteries, and a pencil will never run out of ink. Write thoughts and ideas as they come to you, or you will often forget them in moments. The more you write down, the more ideas will come.

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