Finding Your Voice

Jasmine K.

People often inquire about developing a ‘voice’ in writing. Whether it’s an essay or a step by step cooking tutorial, everybody has their own hint of personality that shines through in their compositions, making it their unique style of writing, however, how do we develop or recognize this voice?

Finding a voice for writing can be a challenging task as many people can’t explicitly recognize the difference of their voice from others. One solution to this can be to share your work with others and implore for an honest opinion of your work. Asking for truthful comparison between your work and others’ compositions can be a step further taken. These tips can assist you in recognizing your specialty in writing; what makes you different from other writers. Since others are more sensitive to the nuances that differentiate your work from theirs, they can play a large role in identifying your voice.

In a writer’s piece, there are also many devices that identify style: does your writing use logical interpretations of a situation or emotional elements connecting to the situation? These inquiries are some of the most vital steps that need to be taken in order to fill in the missing pieces of your voice. What are the missing parts? Some of these fragments or clues can be considered through what voices (in terms of writing devices) you use: active or passive? Active voice gives readers direct involvement in your composition and lucid explanations while passive gives readers a chance to engage more on a thinking level. This is caused by the sentence structures these two tools use. While active voice is when the subject performs an action on an object, passive voice is when the object and subject are switched (in comparison to active voice) and, instead of having the subject perform an action on something, the object is being affected by the subject. For example:

“Amy disliked Mary” is active as Amy is the subject and Mary is the object.

“Mary was disliked by Amy” is passive in that the object has switched places with the subject, creating a new focus on the object.

These tools can be extremely impactful in writing, since passive and active voices permeate through your piece constantly, and the small choice between the two devices could mean all the difference.

Another tool that can be used to identify your style are your pronouns, word choice and description. Do you use “I” or “you” to relate to the audience or do you utilize “she” and “he” so you can tell the story from third person? Do you like to describe every detail or do you like to leave that up to your audience’s imagination? These are all useful parts to a writer’s voice as every sentence and how you design your composition matters. Such examples include how Harper Lee never describes Scout directly in To Kill a Mockingbird but manages to draw the reader in just though the character’s narration of the story and indirect quotations of other characters. Authors can also use specific pronouns to relate with their audience, such as asking questions beginning with “have you ever”. These devices are all effective when searching for a voice.


More Tips on Developing a Voice:

–  Don’t be afraid to look at other people’s writing styles and use them yourself. Sometimes you can find that you are more comfortable using someone else’s writing style than your own, and that is completely fine. It is not always necessary to have your own writing style, but you can use other people’s styles to shape your own voice or to find out for yourself what works and what doesn’t

–  When experimenting and writing literary pieces, try adding different factors that may affect your writing, such as sophisticated vocabulary and different varieties of sentences (Examples can be using a passive voice or active voice and seeing which one may be more comfortable to write in).

– Just write! Most of the time your unique voice is developed subconsciously and is unnoticed until you write. After writing, analyze your composition and see if there are different tones and personalities that seep through the words. Compare your writing to other pieces, and try to see how your writing differs from others’ writing.

– Reading more and experiencing a variety of voices can help you grasp a general idea of what you would like your voice to be like.

For a little more insight into how to develope a voice, look below for video or click here: Writer’s Voice – George Wier

There are extensive amounts of devices and small details to look for when discovering or developing your voice, leading to billions of unique, personal styles. What is yours? Using these tips, it’s up to you to find out.


Links that may help: 

– “How to Blog.” Writer’s Digest. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2014. <>.

– Nestor, Theo. “Find Your Writer’s Voice in 2014.” The Huffington Post., 27 Dec. 2013. Web. 20 Mar. 2014. <>.


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