Monday, July 4, 2011
Do, Re, Mi...Tips to Cultivate Your Writer's Voice!
Have you ever noticed that when you tune into your radio, certain artists have singing voices that are immediately identifiable?
No doubt, before the D.J. even announces the singer and the title of the cut, you can figure it out. Right?
Consider folks like Michael Bolton, Beyonce, Celine Dion, Jose Feliciano, Josh Groban, and Michael Jackson, (who are also among my favorites).
Are you with me here?
Well as a writer and blogger, the same principle should apply.
Your words and style of expression should be heard (and ring unique) amid the chatter of “online voices” and “performers,” particularly in this very saturated medium. Hello!
So, let’s start from the top.
La, la, la, la…What exactly is voice?
Voice is referred to as how your words “sound” on the page. It is the reflection of your tone, your style of expression, your choice of words, your personality.
And the more authentic it is, the more it will resonate with your readers.
Now that you know the “what,” here are some “hows” to help develop your “chops”!
Yep, reading helps to develop your voice by hearing the repeated use of language, rhythm, and other important dynamics.
2. Be true to who you are.
“Sing” a little off key if it sounds good to your heart’s ear. I must admit, I don’t always write according to the rules. If the mood hits me, I use fragments, Ebonics, Pig Latin, and any other device that keeps me in the moment and makes sense for my particular audience and how I’m vibin’ at the time. Of course this doesn’t mean I’m advocating improper grammar, poor spelling, or inappropriate language. Or that your writing should lack clarity or consistency. That’s a whole ‘nother thing and a whole ‘nother post topic. Stay tuned.
3. Broaden your horizons.
This goes back to point number one. I bet you’ve heard most popular singers say that they were “influenced” by the styles of other great singers. Even those from former decades. Follow suit. Study and assess the best. If you’re a fiction writer, check out the writings of non fiction writers. Check out the authors that top the NY Times’ Best list. Get lost in a Harlequin Romance. Read outside your niche from time to time. Add some poetry to the mix, even.
4. Have fun with your audience, when the situation dictates.
Humor, when used appropriately, often makes your voice more likable. Use colorful anecdotes, ah-ha moments, and universal experiences to connect and show your versatility.
5. Go Acapella.
This is the equivalent of having the courage to “sing” without accompaniment, or in other words, having the chutzpah to speak out on issues where you may not be in the majority.
Follow these five tips and you'll successfully "speak" to the masses and be an engaging performer.