Voice-finding always seems to be a hot-topic among aspiring writers. Seasoned writers stress the importance of finding your writing voice and give their own thoughts on how to do it. With the sea of advice, it's easy to get lost and distracted from the goal of actually writing.

Reality is, there are only two things between you and your writing voice. Here's how to find them:

Photo by striatic

1. Read

In order to get a good handle on the client's voice, ghostwriters spend hours listening to or reading the client's work. They pick up patterns of speech, dialect, and rhythm of sentences.

Maybe you find recording yourself and replaying it enjoyable. Personally, I'd rather write a piece, let it sit for a few days or a week, and reread it with my ghostwriter hat. What do I notice about this piece's dialect and diction? What rhythm do I feel?

A few months ago I had a piece edited without track changes. As I was reading over the revisions, I found parts that didn't sound like me. I smoothed them out and then looked back at the original. No, those were my exact words completely untouched by the editor.

It's amazing what you find when you read your own work without your writer's hat.

2. Write

Ted Dekker says it takes four or five novels to find your own writing voice.

I'm going to guess most of us haven't written four or five publishable novels. Knowing that's what required to find your voice, keep writing.

Once you read those four or five novels, keep going. You're just getting revved up and comfortable in your own skin.

Have you found your writing voice? If so, what's helped? If not, what hasn't worked?


Find a piece you wrote last week and read over it while pretending to be a ghostwriter. In the comments, share what you've learned about your own voice.

Katie Axelson is a writer, editor, and blogger who's seeking to live a story worth telling. You can find her blogging, tweeting, and facebook-ing.

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