How to find your writing voice

Jerry Bellune

Sep 2, 2022

Your word choices and how they work together are important. 

In reading, you get a sense of the writer’s personality.

Do you occasionally think you can’t write diddley squat? 

Relax. English isn’t all that hard.

Even Henneke Duistermaat, who speaks English with a Dutch accent, learned to do it – and do it well. 

Her mission is to end gobbledygook and put charm in your writing.

Here’s an example of what she means from Melissa Korn in The Wall Street Journal:

Colleges take in plenty of notable donations from prominent benefactors.

A big check here. An art collection there. 

The delivery of a culturally significant dress to Catholic University in Washington, D.C., though, has turned into a major wardrobe malfunction.

Note Melissa’s short sentences. A 10-word lead sentence followed two 4-word sentences. Then one of 21 words.

Her long-and-short pacing is impressive. It sets up a rhythm in her sentences.

You can bet she read them aloud to herself before she sent the story to her editor.

Writing is more than math. 

Your word choices and how they work together are important. 

In reading, you get a sense of the writer’s personality. 

Word choices, sentence lengths and rhythm help define your voice, Henneke writes in one of her online blogs.

Voice is not the same as tone, she writes. 

Your writing tone can vary depending on your audience and purpose. 

A feature article on an intriguing personality brims with excitement. 

In a news article you use an authoritative, serious tone.

An apology for an error in an article should be humble. The tone is different, but the voice remains the same.

Finding your voice is like establishing your personality. Write the way you speak.

Once you understand what influences your voice, it becomes easier to play with words and discover your voice.

For more from Henneke check

Next: Editors’ responsibilities to their readers. 

Jerry Bellune is a writing coach and author of “The Art of Compelling Writing, Volume 1.” For a personally autographed copy, send your check to him at PO Box 1500, Lexington SC 29071-1500.