Finding Your Own Writing Voice: A Non-Tutorial

Welcome to my first Non-Tutorial, a blog entry where I don’t teach you how to do things because they’re things that you have to discover for yourself, and instead, I explain sort of how I discovered this sort of as a gateway for you to try some things. Simple enough, right? Anyway, let’s begin!

Your own personal writing voice is vital for writing in general. Not only will it make the process far more streamlined, but you’ll likely find it more fun to write. If you write novels like I do, it will be so fun that you won’t know what to do with your life when you finish, so you’ll move directly to the sequel. (That’s seriously what I did with my books Lenora [better known as Black Crystal – The Origin nowadays] and Black Crystal – The Essence. I finished Lenora on December 3rd, and went right to Black Crystal just three days later and I’m still writing it.) The same can apply if you’re a blogger, a poet, a short-story writer, or even a journalist—you need your own voice for anything related to writing.

How do you differentiate between your own writing voice and something a little less authentic or perhaps even unsure of itself? Well, it’s difficult, and I don’t think there’s an exact way to do it. As a matter of fact, it took me quite some time before I really discovered my own writing voice, managing to separate it from what I’d been writing years before. (Hopefully it doesn’t take you nearly 13 years to discover it, but that’s how long it took for me.) I’m sure I already told the story of how my writing became popular among my co-workers last year, so I won’t repeat that, but I think it was the re-write of Dark Fantasy Legends: Rise of the Dragon where I discovered my true writing voice, the kind that felt authentic, like if I read it out loud, it would sound like a story I would verbally tell. (But I would never want to read Rise of the Dragon out loud; that book got very dark and tackled real world issues that aren’t very pleasant to read about.)

Before then, the last book I completed was a book I wrote while I was a Senior in High School; a 300+ paged novel called Dark Fantasy I: Endless Rain. I was supposed to write the sequel, but after High School, I got burnt out and took a very long break from writing as I tried to discover myself, I guess. (It took a whole damn year.) Then once I found myself working with people I could actually consider my friends, I started writing again and sharing it with them. Once I realized how much people loved it, I decided to work on a completely original novel entirely unrelated to any of the books I’d written before. I wrote the entire book in less than 30 days; it was then that I found my personal writing voice, and I never felt afraid or hesitant to write.

When the book was done, there was very minimal editing that needed to be done. I’m sure a professional editor would say otherwise, but screw them. I do my own thing and I’m proud of it. It took about five hours to edit the entire book and get it published for the person it was intended for, but again, that’s a different story, one I’d rather not get into. All that mattered is that I felt confident in what I wrote. Here’s how I was able to differentiate between my true writing voice and what I was doing before. As an example, I’m referring to Dark Fantasy I: Endless Rain, the last book I finished in High School. We used to think that was like my magnum opus or whatever, but I still didn’t feel entirely confident in it.

I think my confidence took a major hit after I wrote its predecessor, a book my co-author and I only refer to as Book Five. It was so terrible that we don’t address it by name. Honestly, I didn’t think it was that terrible when I was writing it. I still don’t think it’s that bad, but my co-author said it was among the worst things he’d ever read and that every copy of it should be burned. I’ve known the guy for six years; he’s probably my closest friend, so I went along with it because I hate arguments, but it hit me hard, especially when I didn’t think it was that bad, and neither did some of the others who read it. I understood my co-author’s perspective, and even though it didn’t feel good to get such negative feedback, it was helpful feedback nonetheless, and I’ve been using it ever since.

Little side story aside, Endless Rain was pretty good at the time, but once I started writing after my break, I realized that I had a natural flow to my writing, a rhythm. The words came out so easily, the scenes played out in my head like a movie, and I was recording the actions I saw, typing the words of my characters that they desperately want to get out, but only I can hear them and get their words out for them. That’s what writing voice is for me—a collaborative effort between the characters in my mind and myself, trying my best to describe what’s happening to them, transcribing their words, telling their story in my own words, using my own voice.

Here’s what I mean when I say using my own voice: I mean that I’m typing the way that I would speak out loud, which is why you see me using italics a lot when I’m emphasizing words, or using particular punctuation placement. This sort of thing can apply to all sorts of writing, whether it’s blogging, journalism, you get the idea; I already listed the examples earlier. I have no direct tutorial to give you, hence the title Non-Tutorial, but I hope this encourages you guys to maybe try something new with your writing! Relax a bit when you write. It’s a journey, never a destination. Even when you reach the conclusion, you can always keep writing. Take your time, enjoy the sights along the way, and most importantly, have fun while you’re doing it.

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