Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Publishing as a Second Language - Finding your Writing Voice

by Linda Gilden @LindaGilden

Many times writers talk about your “voice.” As a writer you don’t actually verbally speak, but within everything you write you also have a voice. What exactly does that mean? How do you know what your writing voice is and how can you recognize it?

A writer’s voice is the way a writer tells his or her story based on who they are. Things that can influence your voice are your personality, your world view, your emotions, your passions, and feelings.

How do you develop your writing voice? 
Finding your writer’s voice is a process. When you first begin to write, you probably have dreams of writing like your favorite author. You have read many books by him or her and set your goal to write just like that author someday. 

That is the first step in developing your voice. What is it you like about the authors you admire? Is it the arrangement of words? Is it the humor he or she frequently interjects? Could it be the smooth transitions that move you from one place to another? Or maybe it is his or her ability to keep you on the edge of your seat with suspense. Some teachers suggest writing out passages by your favorite author so that you grow accustom to the cadence and flow of the words.

What are the elements of your writers voice? 
The tone of your writing is an important element of your writer’s voice and can reflect your feelings and personality. Your method of communicating is almost as important as what you communicate. 

When you are speaking, you use inflection, pauses, body language, and facial expressions to communicate your feelings. When you are writing, your tone and your feelings are communicated as well but you use punctuations, phrases, pauses, and grammar to make your writing come alive. When you speak, you are speaking to a predetermined audience. When writing, you write to the audience you have chosen. Dialogue is another important aspect of your writing voice.

The rhythm with which you write moves your story along. As you write, you choose your sentence structure, often varying it for impact. Short choppy sentences usually designate a faster pace to your writing than longer, slower-paced ones.

Bottom line
In order to write well, you have to read and write a lot, exploring different methods and imitating the things in the voices of others that you like. Sit down at your computer, pull up a clean screen and begin to write. As you do, pay attention to what sounds good, what feels good and moves your thoughts along, and what excites you. Pretty soon you will have an “aha!” moment where you will recognize your writing voice that will be distinctly you.


Linda Gilden is an award-winning writer, speaker, editor, certified writing and speaking coach, and personality consultant. Linda is the author of 19 books and over 1000 magazine articles. She enjoys every meeting with editors and knowing we are all part of the same team. Linda’s favorite activity (other than eating folded potato chips) is floating in a pool with a good book surrounded by splashing grandchildren—a great source of writing material!


  1. Wonderful thoughts. I might add that having a solid mentor to help guide young writers in finding their voice is a special blessing all its own.

  2. I've heard it said, "If you don't read, you can't write. The more you read, the better you will write." Reading posts like yours goes a long way toward meeting that "reading" goal.

  3. Thanks, JD and Monty. Have a super duper writing day!

  4. Thank you Linda, I could actually 'hear' your voice as I read these helpful tips.