Random Thoughts: Finding Your Voice

A good deal of what we do as bloggers is write. While the majority of our time is spent reading the books we love, nearly as much time is spent creating our posts and writing our reviews.

Each of us has an idea of how we want our blogs to look, what kind of content we want to have on our sites, and the type of audience we are trying to attract. But all of this is secondary. What we must do first and foremost is find our voice.

As any writer knows, when you use your own voice what you write is that much better. Writing according to someone else’s guidelines or mimicking someone else’s style is not only much more difficult, it is also much less believable. When you write from the heart, using your own words, readers will be able to see you in your writing.

But if you are a new blogger, writer or reviewer, it’s not always easy to immediately figure out just what your voice is. If writing is new to you, turning all those thoughts and ideas into written words can be challenging. It’s not an easy task.

The most important thing to keep in mind, as you are trying to discover just what your voice is and how to write your posts and reviews, is that there is no wrong way. And you don’t have to get it right the first time. Or the second time. Or even the hundredth time.

Your voice can change. Chances are it will change. The way you express your thoughts and ideas at one point in your life will not necessarily be the same a week, month or year down the road. We are ever evolving as people, and of course how we think will evolve right along with us.

The key is to figure out just what that voice is. And I’ve found that the only way to do that is to start writing. And to keep writing. And eventually it will get easier and come much more naturally.

When I officially started up this blog back in November, I somewhat knew what my voice was in terms of how I wrote these Random Thoughts posts. I had another blog that I used to write posts for on occasion and while those opinions and ideas had a much more sarcastic bite to them, they’re still very close to how I write these posts now. (Or at least I think so, as I haven’t visited that site in awhile.)

But in terms of writing reviews, I hadn’t yet developed my voice. It was all brand new. And it has been a process. One that I’m still working on.

Whether you choose the voice that you put forth in your posts and reviews to match the way your thoughts form inside your head, writing them as more of a stream of consciousness, or whether you take those ideas and shape them in a way that you feel best represents what you’re trying to say, the end result is that it’s you. Your voice.

They’re your thoughts, they’re your ideas, and they’re put out there for the world to see. It can be pretty scary stuff. You on a virtual page.

But when you have found your voice, and you get it out there, and people like it, then there’s no better feeling.

The biggest mistake to make is thinking you have to do things a certain way, and that your voice has to be like someone else’s to be “right” or in order to be a successful blogger. That’s not true.

The only thing I’ve found in common for those successful blogs that have been in existence for over two years is that they each have their own voice. The way their posts and reviews are written is not the same. You can see each blogger’s writing style in each one of those posts. You can hear their voice. It is distinct and unique.

In fact, if you were to take a review of the same book from each of those sites without saying where it was from, if you were familiar with those blogs it would be pretty easy to identify the writer.

That’s what’s most important. The ability to see the writer behind the review. Because, while everyone may think the very same thing about a book – that it was captivating, exciting, devastating, heartrending, uplifting, motivational, or even disappointing – it’s how each writer expresses those ideas, emotions, thoughts, opinions, that makes each and every one of those reviews worth reading.

I happen to be much more of a stream of consciousness writer, although I do tend to edit in my head as I go along. My Ramblings blog is exactly that – ideas from brain to page. In my voice. Good or bad. Entertaining or not.

While this blog consists of posts that are also in my voice, I do rein myself in just a little bit and think through my word choice just a touch more. But all of my Random Thoughts, Crush List, Book Watch and Teasers posts get written directly onto the blog. Once again from brain to page.

Only my reviews are written offline. Still my voice, but wrangled into a style I’m still not one hundred percent comfortable with. But if you look at some of my earliest reviews on the site, especially the few that were written when I was just trying things out in May and June, you will see that they are not my voice. Although there may be traces of me in each of those reviews, I was trying to mimic a style that I thought was how things needed to be done and I hated it. It’s why I chose to not to become a blogger.

And maybe you don’t like your voice? Maybe you’d prefer your voice to be more like someone else’s? Well, I’m sure we’ve all had those moments. I know I have. But as I’ve said before, if we all had the same voice, there really wouldn’t be any need to read anything anyone had to say.

So in this quest to find your voice, just keep on writing. You may just be surprised that what you have to say, and how you have to say it, will be much more appealing for your readers than a style which you thought was the right one, and which is just not you.

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