Hemingway said it best: “It is easy to write. All you do is sit at a typewriter and bleed.” If he were still around, his words would have to make mention of coffee shop workspaces and free wifi, curated email lists, 24-7 social media schedules, and blog posts that build brands like skyscrapers as part of the demands to developing a writing voice.
In this age of voice democracy, it’s easy to write. We have spell check, followers, control of our own volumes, and a never-ending supply of emojis to fill in the blanks. Now, what do we say? More importantly, how do we say it?
It takes some self-discovery and confidence to find an authentic, valuable writing voice. Here’s how to hone in on yours.
- Imagine your readership. No, really. Close your eyes and imagine them. You’re in a conference room, speaking your expertise in terms that are sure to impress…and possibly confuse. Speak their language and attract their attention through stories they love, and the conversation instantly improves.
- Throw away the thesaurus. Often, the word you’re trying to dress up in fancy formal dress holds more meaning – not to mention authenticity – in yoga pants.Keep it simple and true. As a general rule in writing and in life, choose real over perfect.
- Read your words aloud before publishing. How do they make you feel? Are you stumbling over thoughts and getting lost in lengthy sentences? Edit to get your writing voice right.This is more difficult than you’d think; every sentence we write becomes part of our family, in a strange way. How can we possibly let them go? It’s akin to throwing away Uncle Jack or kicking out Cousin Lil!
If you’re struggling with your edit, throw your extra sentences into a nearby notebook and invite them to your next post.
- Write dangerously. Are you teetering on the edge of what you should say and what you wish you could say? Jump.Readers love risk-takers. Readers want opinions. Readers crave information they can only get from you. So turn up the volume on your inner voice.
- Keep track of the content that moves your readers to respond. What makes them hit the like button? What makes them comment? Write more of that.
See, Hemingway? There’s no reason to bleed to develop your writing voice. Not when there’s wifi for days and a sweet barista making your non-fat no whip two-pump triple shot. Now, enjoy your coffee while we enjoy your content.