Oh, I Juggle!

Home, Family, Success, Peace… Can a woman really have it all?

The Importance of Writing Voice

A writing voice is just as unique and distinctive as a speaking or singing voice. If you want your reader or audience to be compelled to read/listen, understand and maybe even enjoy what you are saying, you have to exercise and develop your voice. With a deep and unique voice carrying through your writing, you can aspire to gather readers who will want to return to listen to something new you have to tell.

The writing voice is more than language or style. Somewhat like the spoken voice is different from accent or inflection. To free up the voice one has to train it. I find that my blog voice is different from my fiction voice. Like my Sanskrit chanting voice is different from my English country music voice. All singing helps my voice, but to sing better I spend time practising both of these separately. Once a voice is developed we can hope that our writing does not sound phony, hollow or (heaven forbid!) like someone else.

Try as I might, it is not possible to isolate my writing from myself. My writing, fact or fiction, will reflect many aspects of who I am. That thought in itself is quite scary. But bringing out my real self onto paper is a learning experience. I don’t like to destroy even the worst of what I write. I may not share it with anyone, but everything I write transforms me and helps me grow. I am grateful to technology. Can you imagine how cluttered my house would be if I were to retain every scrap of paper I wrote on?

It is also important to understand why I want to write in the first place. All of us want to be understood and appreciated (and paid 🙂 ). But if that is the sole motivation to write, I don’t think it will carry us through the tough times. The primary reason has to be the joy that writing gives. Yes, I want to write well so that people can pat me on the back and say “well done”. There is still time for that.

I haven’t found my voice yet. Just like in the classical singing that I was taught, riyaaz (practice) is key. The more you flow, the more you grow. Holly Lisle’s article gives ten steps you can take to find your writing voice. The writing games are great as exercises to help train your voice. They free up not just the words, but also the heart. When the heart marinates in emotion, it cultures thought. The voice deepens.

Finding my voice would probably be one of the most important things I do for myself as I begin to walk on the writing path. I might be able to fool others by pretending to be someone else. But, I have found that it is never a good idea to try to fool myself.



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16 thoughts on “The Importance of Writing Voice

  1. A very timely post for me. I am struggling to understand what my writing voice is. Is it even coming across in the posts and if it is, is it worth hearing? Got to check out the article link that you have shared, it might help.

    • I am sure it will help.

      I wrote this post by pushing against a huge block I have been facing for the past few days. Something sounds off to me. Doesn’t sound like the rest of what I have written. A post on voice in a different voice? Yikes! Can it get worse than that?

      What say you, guys?

  2. Very nice post, Juggler. One that really made me look at my own writing in a very different way.

    I started writing and blogging a little over two years back. Till then, I did not know that I could write. I also didn’t have any inner voice telling me to write. A mid-career break to get a degree in PR had me doing assignments that forced me to write and blog as well. This opened me to the fact that I could write, and that I enjoyed writing.

    When I started “My Favourite Things”, I was very clear that I wanted to write only about my travels. But my newly awakened writing voice had a mind of its own and I found myself writing about many things much to my bemusement.

    In retrospect, I’m happy that I did not fit myself into a mould and wrote about all the things that I enjoyed writing about and listened to what my writing voice told me to write about. Only I didn’t know that is what it was called till I read this post. Thanks, Juggler.

    • Thanks, Sudhagee! Writing does help us explore and understand our inner selves so much better. I have wondered about having a consistent theme for this blog. For now I am sticking to a few basics I will see where it leads me. In time I hope to have a clearer vision.

  3. very interesting post. Why did I start blogging, because I had a passion to write. But when you start writing you want to get it published. But that is not easy. So blogging assured me that I could write without having the fear of getting published.

    But then, you write just for writing. Now I hear about this ‘voice’. It is a new information. You have to sharpen up your writing so that it reflects your self.

    Thanks a lot. let me try.:)

    • I didn’t mean to make it sound complicated :-). Like I said, it is like practising your voice by singing. The more you exercise your vocal chords with the ups and downs of the notes, your voice opens up and gains character.

  4. That is a well written piece of abstract writing. I do agree with you about the different voices. Personally though, I believe you don’t have to probe yourself in search of your writing voice. I just let that voice deep within overtake me and keep the superficial interferences away. Thanks for pointing to that article by Holly Lisle.

    • Yes, there are some of us who, like Kishore Kumar, don’t need classical training in music to sing well. They have voice and emotion already. They can then play with the notes just to have fun and see how it sounds.

  5. My dear Juggler

    A really nice piece of writing. I can completely relate to it. I also have different writing voices – the one that I use in my work and the one that I use of my blogs. Again between the two blogs I have the voices are subtly different. But as you said – the voice needs to develop and train itself to be appreciated. Sometimes I also find there is the confusion between the writer and the person when someone known to me reads my blog -particularly the fiction blog 😀 I used to feel a bit inhibited about sharing my fiction blog with people I knew. Some of them used to look at me wonderingly after reading them!!! Still dealing with that

    • I can relate to that. Sharing my opinions is easier even if other people disagree with it. It is because I clearly know where I stand and I always love a healthy discussion. With fiction, since every scene is imagined, there could be so many ways to say it. Putting that up for scrutiny is infintely more difficult.

  6. Hi

    My first visit here and Boy! What a post! Very Very interesting….Good Luck with your writing voice 🙂

  7. You do have a wonderful voice, even the one that is trying to find its feet, so to speak, Juggler 🙂 I write as I think and put it down when it takes shape in my head. I have been fortunate enough to find that there are some people out there, who like what I write since they can identify with the ideas and thoughts. Even if they did not, I wouldn’t stop writing. Because like you, I keep writing and transferring my thoughts into the written (typed) word.

    Will come again 🙂

  8. I think more than anything, one must want to write, because if one doesn’t one will explode!
    This overwhelming desire to write has to be that intense.
    Then the voice will speak out for itself.
    This is what I believe as my writing was born out a desperation to be heard.

    Thank you for being frequent on my blog and apologies I haven’t been able to return the favour, in equal measure!

  9. Very true. The desire does have to be intense.

    Thank you so much for visiting and commenting. It truly means a lot!

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