Journaling to Become a Better Writer IV – Finding Your Voice

Here we are–the fourth lesson out of five on Journaling to Become a Better Writer. If you want to see what’s gone before, here are the links:

This week, we’re going to talk about developing your authorial voice. Starting with a definition of what the heck an authorial voice is, anyway.

speakerWhat Is Authorial Voice?

So, we’ll try to make this simple. You’ve probably heard that each of your characters should have a unique manner of speaking. Great Aunt Em should speak differently from Bubba, her truck-driving nephew, who should speak differently from Parson Brown.

That’s character voice.

But we’re talking about your voice.

Every author develops their own writing mannerisms that makes their work distinctly their own. As a handy example–if you’ve been following our blog for a while, you’ve probably noticed that my writing sounds different from Carrie’s writing. That’s because we each have our own voice. Mine’s really laid-back. Carrie’s is kinda formal. (It humors me how opposite we are sometimes.)

I write different from Carrie, who writes different from Ronald Reagan, who writes differently from Charles Schultz.

Your author’s voice is a good thing. Your unique style is one of the reasons your readers become endeared to you. They don’t just like the things you have to say, they like the way you say them. Your voice shows your personality, and that helps your readers connect with you when the only thing to connect you is a page covered in ink. (Or a screen covered in pixels.)

Journal Your Way to Your Voice

So how do you get an authorial voice? Just by writing. A lot. Eventually, you’ll grow a manner of writing that is uniquely your own.

Your journal is the ideal place to develop your authorial voice. Not only because you write in your journal often (theoretically), but because–well, where better to express yourself the way you really want to express yourself? Nobody’s going to read your journal but you. So write the way you wanna write.

My journal is definitely the place where I developed my authorial voice. That voice has carried over to my blogs and, yes, to my fiction.

There really isn’t a fast track or a set of tips to help you develop your voice. It’s just something that happens over time. The best I can say is, relax and spill.

Homework Assignment

Optional, as always.

  • What word or phrase would you use to describe your authorial voice? If you’re not sure, how do you want to come off in your writing? Using myself as an example: I’d describe my own writing as laid-back. And since I hate writing one-word answers, I’ll add inviting, painfully honest, occasionally slangy, and mildly humorous. (Dang, I can’t even follow my own directions.) ‘Kay, your turn.

Feel free to share your answers in the comments!

There’s just one lesson left in this course on Journaling to Become a Better Writer. Next week, on Wednesday the 30th, we’ll talk about using your journal to pinpoint topics of special interest to you–topics you might want to consider writing novels about.

Carrie and I have clinics running all year round. (Check out the class schedule.) So if you want to stay in the loop, we invite you to subscribe! See you next week!

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Clinics in This Series:

Check out the Journaling Book!

Journaling to Become a Better Writer by Danielle Hanna

If you like this blog post series, you might like the book, too. What do your novel-in-progress and your journal have in common? Maybe more than you think. Your life, after all, is a story. The tools you need to take your craft to the next level may be hiding right under your nose.

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