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The Writing Class: Voices

‘Find your voice’ is advice that all new writers will hear, but what does it really mean?

This week’s writing class gave us the opportunity to ‘try on voices’.  We mimicked the voices of other authors by identifying the qualities that make up those voices and in the process learned a little about finding our own.

In many ways the concept of a writer’s voice is one of those things that we all instinctively know and yet struggle to define. So here’s my attempt to provide a little clarity.

Everyone has their own outlook based on their personal experiences and emotions. This outlook is unique to us. It’s at the core of who we are as individuals.

Our outlook is influenced to some extent by people and events. Our parents, siblings, teachers and friends will guide us. Our studies, work and lifestyles will challenge and change us. But even though we may share the same experiences or have friends in common, how they affect us and what we draw from them will be different.

We have our own likes and dislikes. Our own hopes and fears. Our own quirks and eccentricities. We have our own personalities.

It seems to me that finding your voice is essentially about finding the ability to convey who we are on the page. It’s about not being afraid to dig deep and express genuine emotion. It’s about being willing to allow people to see a glimpse of us in our writing.

Our ‘voice’ is the ability to express our individual personalities in our writing and create something that’s not only fresh and unique, but also authentic because it is an extension of ourselves.