Writing Tips & Tricks
Del Rey Jean
First: Finding Your Writer’s Voice
First and foremost before you do anything, you have to find your voice. I found it very difficult to settle myself comfortably in writing anything, especially a school essay, when I tried to write the same way that I spoke aloud. It sounds weird, I know. If you’re old enough to write, you’re probably old enough to have talked to someone in any sort of way, therefore, you should know how you’ll sound as a writer.
Writing is different, though. You can talk aloud in one way, yet you’ll write in a whole other way. Your creative voice is going to constantly shift depending on what you write about, the same way that it does out loud when you speak. When you are excited, or angry, or passionate on a topic, your verbal voice will change tone, intensity, and volume. This will happen the exact same way with your creative one which is why it is exceptionally important to get to know this one as intimately and easily as you know the rest of yourself. Keep this in mind when you write; just because you are remaining silent does not mean your writing must be quiet.
So, how do you get to know this other voice? Start with looking at your less prominent character traits.
Maybe you are soft spoken, gentle, and caring but you find that there’s a part of you that wants to be loud and fierce and cold. That is the part that you will find you write with. Often, I find that people who do not know the deeper hiding part of a person will be surprised to read what that person creates. For example, a lot of people who meet me in person find that I am shy and awkward at first and then become loud and excitable when I get comfortable, yet all will say that I am rebellious, strong, and comfortable in my own skin. Not many are prepared for the darkness and insecurity and anxiety that I write with, because that voice is reserved distinctly out of a deeper place than the surface.
It is not as difficult as one might think, though, to find their particular writing voice. The real challenge is giving it the room it needs in order to grow. It will be shy and awkward coming out at first, but the more you write, the more you challenge yourself, the more that you use it, the stronger and more defined it will become. It may be basic when you start and that is okay. Just be willing to understand that it will change and grow as you give it more freedom and confidence. Does this sound weird yet? Keep going, it gets better.
Some ways to help you find your voice can include, but are by no means limited to:
Print off a simple Q&A from the internet and answer some questions about yourself in writing. (If you do this, it works best when you write the first thing that comes to mind, don’t think too hard or you start using the voice you speak with.)
Speak out loud what you are trying to say as if you were discussing it with a friend (or a boss if it is professional format). This seems counter productive, but by understanding the way you would speak it, you can better understand the tone you should be writing in.
Prompt yourself or find prompts that let you explore multiple forms of writing across a wide range of creative topics as well as essay or personal topics. For instance, write a horror scene about a ghost, then write an essay about flowers, etc.
Keep a journal – write anything and everything that comes to mind, and record your daily activities. Try to do this with the least forethought possible.
Experiment with trying to describe something simple, like your coffee mug. Then describe the room you are in. Then continue to describe things that are more complicated – all inanimate for now.
Experiment now with thoughts and/or emotions. This sounds complicated, and maybe a little scary, but it is not. First do it analytically – are you happy? How do you know? Is it because you are smiling? Are the thoughts in your head telling you that you are happy? Are you laughing? How does this affect your body? Do you have the ‘butterflies’ in your chest? Then you can try to go into something more abstract – how would you write your emotion without using the word?
Try to describe as many random things as you can whether they are around you or within you.
Write short things at first, try to convey something important in only a few sentences.
My personal favorite which was touched upon momentarily already is to think of a topic, a subject, emotion, thought, anything. Then describe it in as much detail as possible without using its name. Then put that thing into a scene or piece of writing, still avoiding its direct name.
Do not look over your writing and speak harshly to it. If you don’t like your voice, chances are, it has not grown yet. Keep working, keep writing, even if it doesn’t seem to make any sense and the words are just random jumbles sometimes. You have to give your mind enough time to trust in you so that it can feel comfortable enough to show its true self. Your relationship with your writing develops similar to the way you make relationships with other people. Be patient and continue to give it a chance, and it will grow into something beautiful.
I strongly encourage you to comment either on this post or through the comments page and tell me if this works for you. I understand that all creators are different in their talent, and do not claim this to be a sure way to help your skills. This is what was necessary for me, and I hope it can help someone.
If you have any further advice you would consider the ‘first step’ for a new writer, or one looking to improve their skills, feel free to leave that in a comment.
As always, I welcome your feedback, questions, concerns, and any requests or prompts.
This was the first installment of my advice to fellow writers, if you have anything you want to see in the next post, leave me a comment and I will be sure to address it if I can.