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Will
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Chasing the Wild Unicorn: How to find your Unique Writers Voice

 

Finding your unique writing style and voice is much like chasing a wild unicorn. You can’t do it! The harder you look, the further away it gets. You have to let it come to you. Here is some advice on how to let it come to you.

 

Writing presents a bit of a dilemma to people in that it is much like many other pursuits yet it is much different than other pursuits. Let me explain. A musician achieves his or her own style of play after long hours and years of practice. The same holds true for a martial artist, or any other type of pursuit that has a physical component but writing really has nothing to do with the physical component. It is all about the thinking process.

For a musician or athlete, after the hundreds of hours of practice the movements settle into a deeper part of the performer’s brain and become automatic, even second nature. This is often called being in the zone and it frees the performer to make the motions of his chosen art or craft without thinking about it. This is mastery and the same holds true for writers but there is no physical component to examine. You can’t say “Wow, I can write words and letters without thinking about it” because the physical component of writing is not what you are trying to master. It is the thought process and the way you examine and express your thoughts that are what goes into the craft of writing. When reading your own writing the same dilemma applies. You can’t look at your writing and see how nicely you formed the letters and words. It’s irrelevant. Again you have to think about it and examine how well you expressed what you were seeking to express.

So, how do you “find” your unique writing voice and style?

You do it the same way a musician or martial artist does. You practice. Then you practice some more. Focus on the practice and your style will slowly appear. The way you think will change and the way you express will also change as writing slowly sinks into a deeper part of your brain.

Here is a suggested path to becoming a black belt in writing

I suggest you write something. Then put it aside and write something else. Then go back and read what you wrote, and re-write it. Then put it aside. A few days or weeks later go back and read it again then edit it and re-write it again.

You probably get the picture here. The only way to find your unique voice is to write a whole lot. A musician doesn’t play a composition just a few times. He goes over it and over it time and again. And with time he feels the music and starts to see variations in the composition. It is through this that his unique voice comes through. As a writer you need to do the same thing. Write, write, write, and then write some more. Then go over it, and go over it, and go over it again. Through this practice you will start to see variations and the unicorn that is you will come through.

 

I have lots more articles on writing fantasy here

 

Zen in the art of writing cover

Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury (Paperback)

writers complete fantasy reference book cover

The Writers Complete Fantasy Reference by Writer's Digest Books (Editor), Terry Brooks (Introduction) (Paperback - November 2000)