Find What Feels Dangerous and Find Your Voice as a Writer
by Writing Workshops Staff
A month ago
As a writer, one of the most important things you can do is find your voice. Your voice makes you unique and sets you apart from other writers. It is the sum total of your experiences, your values, your beliefs, and your worldview. Finding your voice is not something that happens overnight. It is a process that takes time, effort, and practice. But it is worth it because once you find your voice, you will have a foundation to build a successful writing career. There are many ways to find your voice as a writer, and here are four tips from masters of their craft.
"Read widely, critically—and write a lot."
This advice comes from Stephen King, who should know a thing or two about finding your voice as a writer. In an interview with The Atlantic, King said that the key to finding your voice is to read widely and critically and then write a lot. By reading other writers, you will begin to understand what makes good writing and what doesn't. You will also start to see how writers use language to create meaning. And by writing every day, you will hone your craft and learn how to express yourself more effectively on the page.
"Find what feels dangerous."
This advice comes from Benjamin Percy, known for his fearlessness as a writer. In an interview with LitHub, Percy said that to find your voice as a writer, you need to "find what feels dangerous." This doesn't mean that you should only write about controversial topics; you should push yourself outside your comfort zone and explore new territory in your writing. By taking risks in your writing, you will discover things about yourself and your capabilities as a writer that you never knew before. And this can only lead to good things for your career as a writer.
"Start by imitating—and then invent."
This advice comes from Zadie Smith, one of the most original voices in contemporary literature. In an interview with The Paris Review, Smith said that when she started as a writer, she would imitate her favorite authors to find her own style. She would copy their sentence structure, their word choice, their use of dialogue—everything she could think of. And then she would take what she had learned from these authors and use it to create something uniquely her own. This is a great exercise for any aspiring writer who wants to find their voice—start by imitating your favorite authors, and then let those imitations lead you towards something new and exciting in your own writing.
"The first draft is the child's version of the story. The second draft is the adult's version."
In her book, "Bird by Bird," author Anne Lamott discusses the importance of writing bad first drafts. According to Lamott, the first draft will always be terrible, but that's okay. It's only through successive drafts that you can make your writing better and better. So don't worry about making perfect corrections in your first draft—get all of your thoughts down on paper, and then go back and revise them later. This approach will allow you to produce more work and help you become a better writer over time. And, it will help you find your voice.