Steps to creating a clean, cohesive writer’s voice

Katie Dickinson
Dec 18, 2017 · 3 min read
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Photo by Peter Lewicki on Unsplash

What you write — and how you write it — is not going to resonate with everyone. In my two years of casual blogging, I’ve found that the best thing I can possibly do for my own content is to not worry about how it is going to be received.

It took a little while to get to this point, but once I just started producing and publishing without really giving a flying you-know-what about whether I had too many jokes or if those jokes were too “out there” — I started seeing positive feedback. I had a coworker read an article and as he sat there laughing I was worried that I had made some terrible error — but what he after he finished reading was “Oh my gosh, I could totally hear you speaking those words in my head. This is so you.”

One common gripe I hear is that writers don’t know how to find their writers voice. Like, what? Open your mouth and speak some words — there ya go! The best way, in my strongly-held opinion, to come across naturally and produce the best end product is to…

At least in the first draft. Stop yourself from trying too hard to make the writing “fancy enough.” Go through, write the piece as if you were speaking to someone sitting in front of you. I mean, it’s unlikely that someone sitting in front of you would let you go on for an uninterrupted seven minute tangent on whateverthetopic — but this is writing and you can do as you please here.

Sometimes text and speech can be interchangeable, but often the nuance of spoken word leads to awkward written grammar. After you’re done putting pen to paper (er, fingers to keyboard?), step away for a few moments and then re-read the piece. Make necessary edits, but make sure you…

This can be difficult. You might be a little uncomfortable putting something out there that isn’t literary or academic perfection, but resist that urge to remove the little styling tidbits. Those are what make it interesting and unique. And those are what will make your writing standout.

Yup. Read it again, but this time out loud. This is more a function of catching errors than anything else. I found that when I read it aloud, I always catch a few errors that I hadn’t previously.

The best way to do that is to write as genuinely as you speak. When you try too hard to keep writing “clean” and perfect — it becomes very difficult to carry over writing style from article to article. With all your writing output, you are the common denominator. Don’t remove you from your work.

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