William Shakespeare, J.K. Rowling, Agatha Christie. What’s common between these three people? They’re all writers, yes. But particularly, they are all successful writers. Yes, they’ve written in completely different times and circumstances, but they’ve all been successful in their own way.
But do you think J.K. Rowling would have been who she is today if she was copying William Shakespeare rather than letting her own writing style develop? Probably not. What sets each of these writers apart is their unique voice.
There are so many writers in the world. How does one stand out in such a competitive world? If you have a strong voice, people will come to read your work no matter what you are writing about. Having a strong voice is what will make your career sustainable. This is why it’s important for every writer to develop their own unique voice.
How does one develop their unique voice?
Sit down with a blank paper and pen, and write these down:
The three things that you care about.
The three things you do best.
The three things that you think people care about.
Determining the answers to these questions is difficult but it can help you in your career a lot. For example, a writer writing about their personal experience of losing a loved one will have a different voice than a writer writing about growing their business.
Answering these questions will also make it easier for you to find ideas on what to write about. Whenever you are facing writer’s block, you can come back to these questions to help you.
(Also read: Why You Should Start Writing Today)
Stop copying others
Young writers often make the common mistake of copying what’s popular rather than working on their own stories. They are not confident that they are good enough. They see what’s trending and think that maybe writing about the same thing will make them successful too. But that’s a mistake.
Young writers should write a lot about things they care about, obviously. But they should also write about different things to find out what they write about the best. Instead of finding a niche where their writing fits in, they should create their own niche by developing their unique voice.
Read, read, read
Reading is another great way to do this. Usually, what we read is reflected in what we write about. People who read a lot of self-help end up writing about self-help too. But after reading extensively, young writers can write about the same topics from their own perspective.
It is common for young writers to shy away from expressing their opinions. I was one of them too. I was always worried about who might read what I have written and what they are going to think about me. Honestly, no one cares that much about you. Just write your heart out and don’t worry about what others think.
No, seriously. If you are spending all your time in your room without meeting new people or doing new things, how will you ever find inspiration for more work? Live an exciting life and you will never run out of ideas.
Writing on a public platform can be intimidating. Even I don’t publish everything I write. In such a case, using a journal is helpful. A journal gives you the privacy to write whatever you want to write about without you caring about silly issues like grammar or what people are going to think about your work. This freedom can be really helpful to discover who you really are.
Yes, listening to editors’ notes is important. But editors don’t always make the right choices. I have previously submitted my work to different editors and they all gave me completely different feedback. I ended up keeping what I like. There’s no one who can understand your writing more than you. This is why it’s wise to disregard feedback sometimes.
Do you enjoy what you write? I have had writing jobs before where I was forced to write about things I didn’t care about at all. Of course, I lost interest in writing altogether while doing those jobs. It’s very difficult to have a strong voice in such a case.
Try being vulnerable when writing. Write about things that shake you, that make you feel something. What you feel as a writer will travel through your words to your readers’ hearts.
The final take
Finding your own voice can take some time to learn so be patient with yourself. But it’s worth the time and hard work. Writing in your own style is what is going to help you build your audience. Having a strong voice is what’s going to set you apart from the noise.
And that’s the only way to succeed in this competitive world.
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