One Note and 42 Days Later
My husband and I got married 42 days after we met. He says he fell in love when he read a welcome note I left downstairs when he came to pick me up for a date. He still mentions it now, 23 years later.
We had a small wedding — 12 people in our living room.
My mother-law-in didn’t approve. She wanted us to wait. She also cried showing her husband what I wrote her on our wedding day. She told him I must love her son very much.
Both son and his mother heard what I said and knew I meant every word.
Using your authentic writing voice isn’t hard once you know how. In fact, it’s natural and works with all writing, not just lovey stuff. You only need to remember five things to do. Would you let me show you how?
5 +1 Steps to Your Authentic Writing Voice
Your authentic writing voice is the one that sounds like you. It comes from you, your thoughts, your insights, your innovations, your opinions. It rings and resonates with your humanity and sings with the uniqueness of your personal brand. Anything less might go unnoticed, but when your authentic voice is present readers respond to you not just to your words.
Your authentic voice will serve whether you write about Linux, or puppies, new fangled guitars or astrodynamics. Use these 5 plus 1 steps to find to your authentic writing voice and to start using it.
1. Tell your own truth, but don’t think that doing that is special. Calling attention to the truth, or to your telling it, makes the message sound too precious and feel manipulative. To write with an authentic voice I had to learn to let go of what people might think of my truth or of my saying it. Authenticity is risktaking with a marvelous reward.
2. Write simply, using the words that you think with. Sharing the language of conversation is small-talk writing. Sharing the language of thinking is deeper and more revealing. Readers recognize that. Let the words bypass your internal editor to hit the keyboard as you think them. Use the next point to make sure they’re the right ones.
3. Care about one reader — real or fictional. To touch a reader, a writer’s head and heart have to be hot wired together inside every word. Whether the subject is humor, or tech, or how to drive a car, it’s this connection that will give you the words that will resonate enough to draw readers to you. Even when your reader is a teacher, a friend, a learner, or a colleague that you have trouble tolerating, care a lot about him or her. No matter your feelings, that is a person, a human being, who is reading what you are writing. Respect is crucial to your authentic writing voice.
4. Until you know your authentic voice well, read what you write aloud and change it until you could easily say every word without tripping. I still do this whenever I can. We all have vocal patterns and phrasing that mark how we talk. Learn what yours are and you’ll start to write to them. Your readers will hear them. Your writing will sound like the person who wrote the words is inside their computer or on that sheet of paper.
5. Use metaphors and stories to be sure that your message is clear. Your stories and metaphors are personal and feel like gifts to me. What’s more authentic than showing me who you are?
PLUS ONE: Know that you can’t do my voice, and I can’t do yours. We might come close, but unless we have reason to, why bother? You’re not me. I’m not you. We’d probably both end up doing a laughable facsimile of each other. Readers have a way of seeing right through our attempts being what we’re not.
It’s easier for me to relax and write real thoughts for readers I care about. It’s also much faster. More than that, the readers I know seem to value the bond that occurs when I talk about important stuff truthfully, without putting flashy things in between us.
Some days I wish I could talk as well as I write. I don’t. Though my conversation has considerably fewer typos — that I know.
–ME “Liz” Strauss
If you think Liz can help with your writing, check out the Work with Liz!! page in the sidebar.
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