Something that many beginning authors struggle with, is finding their “voice”. I’m not talking about character voice, I’m talking about the voice used for the words in between the dialog. Basically, how does one construct their sentences, what types of words do they use, what is the word rhythm, etc. Another way of thinking about it is, if you know me, and you read what I wrote, is it natural to imagine it in my speaking voice?
Every person has a unique way of talking, but when they sit down to write they have time to analyze each word. Often, instead of writing the way they talk, they write the way they were taught to write, or the way they think they ought to write. Writing like another famous author might be technically correct, but it isn’t interesting. That author already exists in the world. Publishers want something unique (unless you are ghost writing or something like that, obviously in that case you are trying to suppress your own voice).
This search for “voice” has taken on almost an epic meaning. Writing teachers and writers just past the newbie stage spend a lot of time talking about it. In fact, writing in your own voice is the most natural thing in the world. The hard part is un-learning everything you ever learned about how to write, and go back to your natural state. The ironic thing about your voice is that the more you think about it, the less you are able to grasp it. Therefore, most exercises designed to help you “find your voice” usually involve writing really fast or in a stream of consciousness to bypass the rational part of your brain and engage the subconscious.
Now, this is not something I ever really had trouble with (at least, that’s my opinion, I’m certainly no expert). I always tend to write how I talk. Maybe this is because not-thinking is sort of my default state of being, I don’t know. But my other theory relates to the title of this post: does blogging help find one’s “author voice”?
In all the posts I’ve written on this blog, I was not attempting some formal writing exercise. I was writing very informal, in a very “talky” sort of style. So, after all this time, I’ve had a lot of practice writing in my own author voice. Therefore, when I sit down to write some fiction, I naturally fall into that. Since I don’t have any sort of writing degree, I have had less “formal” training than a lot of beginning writers. Maybe years of blogging are actually *better* education wise, because I have less to un-learn.
So maybe there is a benefit to blogging after all! Maybe it is not just a waste of time, as many authors claim.