"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
As featured on: Pro Blogger, Men With Pens, Write to Done, Tiny Buddha, LifeHack, Technorati, Date My Pet, South 85 Literary Journal and other award-winning sites.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Finding Your Writer's Voice...

A Guest Post
By Nikola Hartmann

"We learn to do something by doing it. There is no other way." – John Holt

Have you ever been with a person who is a supersized bore? Or worse, someone who goes on and on about nothing? Talk about annoying! Well, it’s the same with writing.

Whenever someone tells me they like my voice, I tend to get a little giddy. My writing voice is something I’ve worked hard on. And even though it’s not fully “cultivated” – I’m pretty satisfied with most of the articles I write.

Your voice is how you say your thoughts.
And the inner voice you use when you’re alone.
It’s the warm congenial voice you take when talking with those you love.
And that sincere, honest voice that makes your readers feel they’re right there beside you.

J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird are two of my favorite books. Both American classics. Both written in authentic, honest, unpretentious ways that make it easy to enter an exclusive boarding school and New York City mid 1950s, and depression era Alabama. Salinger and Lee have “likable voices”.

Yours should be too. It should make your reader want to spend time with you. And leave feeling rewarded. Likeable writing isn’t a performance. It’s a sincere expression of your thoughts. A connection with the inner you.
Learn to connect with yourself. And above all … write. The voice will come.

Have you found your writer's voice? If so, how would you describe it and what was the process? Do you find someone else's writer's voice distinctive? Do share...

Bio: Nikola Hartmann is a freelance writer and blogger. She is the creator of Live Well for Less and a contributor at the Coffeehouse for Writers blog.

Image: Rasmus Thomsen


  1. I am still molding my "voice." I like to keep it on a reader's level. Meanining, simple, easy to understand, to relate, to grasp. I think I'm almost there. Two of my all time favorite books To Kill A Mockinbird and Catcher in the Rye! The writers drew me in with their words. John Grisham does the same for me.

  2. Jennifer Brown BanksNovember 21, 2010 at 6:39 AM


    It's good to get your input and to know that you are "almost there" in terms of defining your writer's voice. Much continued success.:-)

  3. This post boils down voice nicely. Likening it to a sincere expression of one's thoughts resonates with me bc I am conscious of "being me" in my work. And I've got to tell you--some people like me, while others won't exactly be sending me holiday cards. I'm definitely still cultivating my voice, but note that I've gotten over the hurdle of worrying who will and won't like my honest expression of my sentiments. I don't think you can pour yourself into your work without revealing the real you, so might as well lay your cards on the table. :-)

  4. Jennifer Brown BanksNovember 22, 2010 at 6:16 AM


    How funny and true! I feel the same way, and I think I'm a much more peaceful, confident, productive writer and person as a result of it.

    You can't please everybody. Right?
    As always, I love hearing from ya'. :-)

  5. I enjoyed reading your comments and blogs Yvonne and Janette. You have “likable voices”.

    And as always Jen, I’m thrilled at having a guest appearance on Pen and Prosper!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. Jennifer Brown BanksNovember 22, 2010 at 12:48 PM

    The pleasure is ours, Nikola. ...And you as well. :-)

  7. It is nearly the end of 2010 and I can honestly say I have my voice. Actually, I've always had it. I just hadn't had the courage to truly speak what was on my mind. By gosh, I finally got it!

  8. Jennifer Brown BanksDecember 7, 2010 at 7:32 AM


    Good to know. Carpe diem!