OK so that’s all I got. That’s my splash. Spectacular wasn’t it?
Seriously though, all this labor and angst over finding your “voice” as a writer… does it really have to be so damn hard all the time? (Hint: OF COURSE IT DOESN’T.)
Sorry, was I shouting? Forgive me, it’s all the pent up passion y’know. Wreaks havoc with my social filters.
Anyhoo, you probably already know the usual tips to finding your writing voice and groove, like:
- Write a lot.
- Write a lot more.
- Then write even more.
Or you could try:
- Write a lot.
- Write a lot more.
- Then write even more, plus read a lot from all the writers and “voices” you admire.
You could even try:
Then of course you slowly absorb all these different tips, styles and voices by osmosis, and it suddenly mutates upon regurgitation into something resembling you, except you sound super cool and shite.
See how that works?
But it sounds mildly painful, doesn’t it? Sure it will help you of course, but does it really have to be so dang painful all the time? (Hint: And I reiterate- OF COURSE IT DOESN’T.)
So I’ve got a better idea, which you’ve probably already sussed out from the title of this post (you smarty pants, you) that involves far less pain, and almost makes developing your own unique voice kinda easy. (Look I said kinda, so don’t get your knickers in a twist.)
Of course we all know that as a writer, finding your “voice” is never as easy as you might want it to be, but if there is a lesson to be learned from my lame-o comedy act, it’s that it can be a little easier than you think, if you simply allow yourself to let go, and have a little fun with your writing.
Yes, I said fun!
One thing I’ve observed in my crash course to becoming a freelance writer, it’s that trying to follow a bunch of rules only winds up stunting your creativity and natural rhythm as a writer.
You find yourself on this hamster wheel of writing, self-editing as you go, analyzing whether or not you “sound” the way you want to sound, if you dotted that i and crossed that t correctly, and then editing some more when you think you “sound” less than perfect.
Before you know it, that great idea you started with has become hacked and mangled beyond repair, and you’re wailing at your computer screen, pounding your keyboard in frustration, and bounding out of your chair to hunt down the nearest bottle of vodka and box of chocolates. (Oh come on, don’t be a prude, you know vodka and chocolate sooo go together.)
So, while I am very aware that finding your way as a writer and nailing down your own unique voice isn’t always easy… (let’s hammer the point home one final time), it doesn’t have to be painful either.
And because I know ya’ll love to read shite that gives you something to take action on, I’ve come up with a few tips that will help you to inject a bit of fun and humor into your writing, so that your natural voice can begin to emerge and shine. So you can stand head and shoulders above the rest of the crowd.
So you can even make a (vocal) splash, if you will.
Use Humor- Your OWN Brand of Humor
It’s all well and good to use humor in your writing, but the key component to that tip is to use your own sense of humor, not the sense of humor of the charmingly hilarious Jen McCoy or the bitingly funny Redhead named Erika.
The whole point of developing your own voice is to be unique and set yourself apart from all the other boring (or not so boring) blatherers in your industry. Using your own brand of humor can do that, by allowing your readers a glimpse of you in all your (dorky? uber cool?) glory.
Ultimately, most readers love it when you make them smile, and as I read somewhere once- if you can keep them smiling, you’ll keep them reading.
And keeping them reading is the ultimate end goal for a writer, wouldn’t you agree?
Stay the Course- Make Your Point
Remember that having fun in your writing doesn’t mean you bound off on every tangent that pops into that little brain of yours. Sure it’s OK to branch off on a wee side road to crack a joke, or to emphasize something in a funny way. (Lord knows I do it myself, in case you hadn’t noticed!)
But ultimately, your writing needs to have a goal and a purpose, and you need to achieve that goal or purpose without losing your reader. So while injecting humor is great, make sure you stay the course and still get your point across effectively by avoiding overly prolific tangents and limiting yourself to a more healthy number of side roads.
The upshot to that strategy is you won’t leave your readers blinking and thinking WTF. Capisce?
And FYI- sometimes just allowing a little silliness in your writing can do wonders for breaking the ice with a reader, and helping you to establish a voice they connect with. Really, it doesn’t take much, so don’t be a stick in the mud.
Make Sure Your Readers “Get” It
While it is fine and dandy to think you’re the funniest thing since Jack Black, you have to make sure it translates in your writing and that your readers agree.
Of course not everyone will always get your sense of humor all the time, but it’s important that if you’re using humor in your writing to cultivate your voice, your readers feel “in on the joke”, so to speak.
And all of that really boils down to knowing your audience and who you are writing to, and whether or not your brand of humor is appropriate for them. In other words, do they “get” it or even want to “get” it?
And to really put it to the test ask yourself this-
- Does this sound even half as funny when I read it out loud to myself, as it does in my head?
If it doesn’t, you might want to reword it or scrap it altogether. That way you’re not cracking jokes that are falling in a bottomless black hole of shite labeled “ridiculously unfunny” to your reader. (Just a recommendation. That is all.)
Ultimately, as with everything in life, you never know how something might work for you until you try it.
Experiment a bit, have a little fun.
Then give all that pain and angst the finger, and see what happens.
Cori is a wildly hire-able freelance writing ‘ghost’ as well as the creative brains and dubious brawn behind her blog Big Girl Branding. If you’d like to harness her creative brains and dubious brawn to write for your blog, just stalk her on Twitter @BigGirlBranding and ask her. I’m “almost” sure she doesn’t bite. Well… like 95% sure.