In preparation for the panel I’m on at BlogHer Food 09 in San Francisco tomorrow, I thought I’d say a few words about voice.
Why is voice important? It’s because you have a personality that comes through in your writing. You might express your unique self through level of language, the length of your sentences, the way you approach a subject. You’ll know when it feels right when you read back your work. It will sound like you and feel comfortable. Without voice, your writing will be bland, and you won’t come through as an individual.
Can you describe your voice? It’s an elusive thing. Ask a friend to describe it to you. Here are a few adjectives that might apply:
Think about voice as a philosophy about what you want to get across in your blog. Here are some examples:
- If I can make this, you can make this
- Girls just want to have fun
- I’m going to get this right if I have to do it 100 times.
The best answer to creating a strong voice is just to keep writing, to let your voice develop and deepen over time. Take this advice from A Writer’s Coach: The Complete Guide to Writing Strategies That Work, a book written for newspaper journalists: 1. Write the way you talk. 2. Execute the worst offenders (stuffy words). 3. Think small by using meaningful, specific words. 4. When you write a sentence, start with the subject. 5. Let ‘er rip – your first draft should be loose, fast, and accepting. 6. Avoid cliches. “Instead of ‘needle in a haystack,’ try for some other metaphor for one hard-to-see thing in a vast universe: ‘Just another drop of oil on an asphalt parking lot.’”