Friday, January 6, 2012

Finding a Voice



One of the things I've struggled with over this year was finding a voice in my writing. I'm a former AP student and current college student. While my teachers encourage voice, it is a strong academic voice. I wasn't allowed to use contractions, the words "very", "a lot", "I", or anything like that. I had to be specific, brief and correct. When I got this blog it was like...I still wanted to write well, but there wasn't a pressure to write as formally.

It was really hard to put in what I was thinking and feeling without going way over. There are tons of posts where I went on and on trying to explain my emotions and what I liked about something. I just didn't know how to turn it off, what qualified as being excited enough over a subject. My verb and adjective abuse was astounding. I still have problems with being overly descriptive. I even have writing quirks. It drives me nuts to use the same word close together, or be repeating the same words. I use commas in almost every single sentence I write. Long sentences make me worry that I'm doing run-ons. Grammar is extremely difficult for me. I have a big compulsion to write three words about everything. For instance, I have to write, the school was very pretty, clean and full of students. If you haven't noticed, I do it at least once every single paragraph. But that is not the point. See? I'm already writing too much.

Writing is difficult for me in the respect that I do too much of it. I would love to cut down on my endless stream of commentary that I have in every single blog post. I don't know if it makes me extremely opinionated or horrifyingly verbose. The problem is, I'm not sure what makes a post concise and what takes out all of my...well, voice.

I've been doing a lot of behind the scenes work on the blog this week. Mainly, I made spreadsheets for all my challenges and an archive of all the posts I've ever done. Looking through all 194 entries made me realize that I've really grown as a writer. It's hard to believe, but I used to write even more than I do now. I also wrote in an odd voice. It wasn't "fake" but rather an extremely cheery, bubbly version of myself. I like it much better now, where I've come out of my shell and just relaxed about content. I write what I want, when and however I want to write it. No one's complained so far.

My ultimate point in all this, whatever you're writing for whatever reason, it might take a long time to find your voice and that's okay. Whether you're a blogger like me, an author learning how to see things through all their characters' eyes or even writing a journal entry. It's going to take a bit to find that bond between thought and keyboard or idea and paper that makes the writing sound like you. So don't be afraid to go looking for it. Experiment with different types of voices or phrases until you find the one that feels the truest.

Happy Reading,

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