It’s been a while since I posted anything truly writing related, and I experienced something recently that really got me thinking about the importance of your voice in your writing.
Since each of us is unique, it is important that we use our own unique voice in our writing. That is what will define our writing as our own. Therefore, it is important to develop and use your voice in your writing. It is also important not to let anyone change your voice, not even your editor or publisher.
Yes, an editor and publisher know what works and what doesn’t in stories, and they know what’s selling. They may require edits, revisions and rewrites which will improve your overall story, your characters, or your plot. But be sure you understand what “voice” is, and don’t let them change your “voice”, for that is what makes your story uniquely yours.
Do you have a favorite author? If you were to read something by that author that didn’t identify the author, would you still recognize that it was written by that author? Of course you would. That is the author’s voice. It is everything that makes that author’s work unique to that author in such a way that his/her readers recognize it.
You can find lots of wonderful, helpful information that explains “voice”, both the author’s voice and the character’s voice simply by Googling “Voice in Literature”. I don’t want to get into a lot of the technical aspects of “voice”. That’s not what this post is about.
This post is about encouraging you to find, strengthen, and use your voice in your writing, and to encourage you to stand strong and not let ANYONE change your voice–that part of your writing that makes it uniquely yours.
Here is what I have recently experienced that has taught me the importance of my voice. One of my recent Friday posts of a poem was read by a friend/fellow writer who thought my poem was too “wordy” and wanted it to have more “imagery”.
Now, granted, I know that painting mental pictures with good, brief description is something I need to continue to work on in my writing. However, I do not claim nor aspire to be a poet. My poetry is something I just enjoy dabbling in and sharing here, and if you like it, that’s fine, and if you don’t like it, that’s fine too.
So, anyway, my friend/fellow writer rewrote my poem to take out what this person felt were my un-needed words to make the imagery stronger. Then this person read her rewritten version of my poem to me. It was quite nice, but as I listened I realized that it didn’t sound anything like me, but it did, indeed, sound like this friend/fellow writer.
I understand this friend/fellow writer was simply trying to be helpful, and I am always open to feedback and suggestions on my writing, and I was not offended or angry in any way. As a matter of fact, I often seek this friend’s opinion of my writing out and appreciate this friend’s feedback, and I always consider this friend’s words/suggestions. But as the rewritten version of my poem was read, I just thought “that wasn’t my voice”, so even though the friend said, “It’s still your poem”, it didn’t feel like my poem, and it didn’t sound like my poem because it had lost my “voice”.
That is why I say, always be open and willing to hear advice and gentle criticism of your writing, but be sure your writing NEVER LOSES YOUR VOICE!
2 thoughts on “The Importance of Your Voice”
I’m glad you found this post helpful and encouraging Susan. It sounds like you have a good plan for dealing with future critiques. It is always important to differentiate between helpful critique tips that can help improve our writing and what is simply a person’s personal opinion based on whether or not they even like your particular style or genre. We need to grow a thick skin and never let anything anyone says destroy us or stop us from writing, especially if we believe that God gave us our talent and ability to write and has called us to write because God’s call and opinion is more important that that of any man or woman.
“It is also important not to let anyone change your voice, not even your editor or publisher.“
Thank you so very much for sharing this, Kelly. As someone who is my own worst critic, it’s hard not to rewrite *everything* when someone critiques my works. I need to remember to jot down what they say, read over their critique differentiating between what is critique and what is pure opinion, jot down notes on what I think I should change, walk away (without making any actual changes) for a few days/weeks, then come back to it after the break, read over my piece and then objectively work through my pieces remembering to differentiate between their good critique and pure opinion.
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