Professional Voice, Personal Voice.
I’ve been writing for my own sake for a few years now.
For much of my life, particularly my working life, I wrote on the behalf of my company. On the behalf of my boss and sometimes on the behalf of my colleague. You know how all work emails and reports sounds like. Like a front desk reception answering calls.
I wrote in a monotonous voice punctuated by bullet points, without pitch, and in a way, passive. This is all because I copied how others were writing and it seemed to be the safe and professional way to write.
No one complains. It was good. If you wrote with emotions, or causal, personal, you will be deemed unprofessional or even immature.
Hence, for the past ten years, I wrote ‘professionally’.
Three years ago, that changed. Or at least it changed slowly. I wrote a 500 word story for a children’s picture book contest. It felt natural for me to write in a child’s voice. But the writing guide instructed some rules to follow which after some revisions, the final draft had less of the child’s voice than my first draft. The author of the writing guide was a published author so I assumed he knew what he’s talking about. He is a professional.
After the writing contest, I started and closed three blogs. Topics ranging from humor, lessons from history (I love David Attenborough’s voice in Life so I copied his voice), and internet marketing. I believe it has to be my years in the corporate world that my writing was somewhat more professional looking than personal.
It was hard to write.
It was hard to write with energy and enthusiasm.
It was bland writing.
As you can imagine, there was little traffic to my sites. I often wondered was my writing lousy because I wasn’t an English major, or a Literature grad, or the fact that I had a grade D7 for my ‘O’ Levels English, or I didn’t get my writing vetted by an editor.
While I wondered, I continued to write.
I wrote on Twitter, yes 140 characters is writing too. I wrote on Quora. I wrote on my fourth blog. I wrote in my physical notebook. And now I writing at Medium.
These years of writing taught me something.
I write freely in my personal voice and in my character’s voice (I’m working my on children’s fiction lately) than writing in the professional way. Which way is better, I don’t know. I only know that I am writing.
And I like that.
*This post is inspired by an article on Letters of Note on writing voice.
*This post was first published on Void to Abundance.