Home > Copywriting, Fiction, writing > How to write with voice

How to write with voice

So we’re going to have a break from the usual gin-fueled rants on London’s public transport and actually talk about what this blog is supposed to be about: writing.

When you’re trying to write a novel, everyone tells you that the most important thing is to find your voice.  So.  What is this nebulous ‘voice’ of which I speak?  The thing is, it’s pretty hard to put your finger on.  It’s a sort of style, a distinctive voice and flow.  I like to think of it as your personality on paper.  It’s who you are, to people have never met you.  If you do it right, people will know who you are without having to read the by-line.

I struggle with this.  If you’ve been hanging around this blog long enough, you probably know that in my day job, I’m a copywriter.  And that means I’m not allowed to have a voice.  Or a style.  The mark of a good copywriter is the ability to write in lots of different styles.  So how am I meant to turn it off and on?

I’ve now decided that copywriting is great for helping develop voice (it does, also, have the happy side effect of ensuring I am able to pay rent and buy food).  It’s great because I’ve found that the best way to find your voice is to write lots of stuff in lots of different styles.  You’ll eventually find a style you are most comfortable with.  And then you’ll write like that for a while and it will start to morph and change a little bit.  And then it will be your own.  Hooray!  That’s your voice.

So.  It’s taken me over three paragraphs to tell you that the way to write with voice is…to write.  A lot.  Not exactly a revelation, but true all the same.  So happy writing.  In whatever voice is yours.

  1. December 12, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    You are dead on – you acquire a voice by writing. And writing. And more writing. So . . . do not neglect your blog.
    I am intrigued by your new job – what, exactly, is copywriting? I confuse that with proofreading.

    • December 12, 2010 at 9:51 pm

      Ah…don’t neglect your blog. You have me pegged already.

      Copywriting is writing for advertising…so things like press ads, leaflets, websites, those mailings that come to your door…all that is written by a copywriter.

      Best of luck finding, and refining, your voice. I’m still working on it.

  2. December 13, 2010 at 2:53 am

    I must admit to the confusion I experience whenever people ask agents about voice. If you’re written more than one thing, which I sort of assume is the case when people are querying and shows how resiliently ignorant I am, ::why:: would you be asking about voice. You already have one, don’t you? Le MHE.

    • December 18, 2010 at 5:30 pm

      It’s quite a vague thing, voice….but one would assume everyone has one. Except robots. Or would they have a robotic voice? Hmmm…

  3. December 13, 2010 at 11:05 am

    Yay, a copywriting plus point 🙂

    I definitely have to agree on one thing, it’s certainly taught me what ISN’T my/a good voice!

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