Do I Have Voice?

Recently, a member of a writers group I attend asked the question:  “Have any of you ever had trouble trying to find your voice?” Several answers came back with the idea that it was some  kind of mystical element of writing, unknown to newer writers, and sworn to secrecy by published writers. It seems that only editors and agents really know. And they ain’t telling.

A writer often faces this esoteric word. We’re told we have to find our voice as if we could load up a backpack and head off into the wilderness. We read writing magazines and books searching for the answer within those pages. We attend conferences and writers’ meeting hoping someone will explain voice.

Voice. The dreaded word slips into our dreams. It haunts us as we attempt to work on our latest project. We cringe when an agent speaks it. We ask ourselves, “Do I have a voice?” Set your mind at ease, for voice is not something you have to find like at an Indiana Jones dig.

Here is how I responded to the question: “Your writing voice is you. It’s how you think. How you put words together. How you plot and describe. Your voice is your personality. It is your soul, your heart, your hopes and disappointments all fused into your writing. Voice is the essence of the writer’s inner being exposed on paper and expressed by your characters. Voice is the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful of you. Voice is the connection between writer and reader.”

Next time you sit down to write, let the words come forth from your muse. Let your fingers speak as you would talk. Don’t worry how anyone else might string the words together; how they would describe a scene; reveal a character’s thoughts. This is your story. You tell it.