Monday, February 20, 2012

The Absolutely Most Important Thing a Writer Must Have?


Voice. 

We all have a voice. And Whitney was dubbed the Voice. Ted Williams is dubbed, the golden voice, and Kevin Clash created the voice of Elmo (some very insightful things about voice and character in this interview).

The most important thing a writer must have is a voice that grabs and holds the reader and makes him want to read on past the hook, past the first page, past the first chapter and on to the end.

I have read dozens of blogs in the past two months and I came to realize that there are a few things that make me look forward to certain blogs—the voice of the writer; her take on and expression in the world. Is the voice authentic? Is the blogger trying too hard to be clever? Do I believe the writer even if I don’t always agree with her/his opinions? Does the writer speak my language? Or a language I can relate to? Ah, that’s getting closer.

When I started the journey with Kristen Lamb’s Blogging To Build Brand class to develop a blog, I didn’t realized that it would also be a journey to develop my voice. When Kristen helps us with log lines, she is trying to identify our voice. But our log line won’t keep the readers reading, it will only help us get their attention.

Do we have content with purpose or are we just rambling, trying to fill a page? Does the writer talk at, over or through me? Or does he speak to me.

I found great, in-depth advice on how to develop your voice over at Cori Padgett’s Copy Blogger site


Do you have your blogger voice or are you still trying to develop it? 
Have you seen development in other Wana peeps as we have traveled the path with Kristen’s class? 
I’m sure your comments will help other peeps, bloggers and writers that are still confused so don't hold back.

Tags: #writer #voice #bloggers 

20 comments:

Kim @ The Fitness Moms said...

I really like this post and will be checkin out your recommended link. I feel my voice is still in the developmental stage. Sometimes I think I have it and others I don't.
The most important thing I'd say is to just be yourself because that's where your voice and personality will shine through.

catherinemjohnson.wordpress.com said...

Cora your background is beautiful. I think voice on blogs is very important and something that takes a lot of practice. The more comfortable we are with our regulars the easier it gets.

Gabriel Rumbaut said...

I think I'm still trying to develop my voice. I haven't been blogging for very long. Hopefully I'll get better. Thanks for the link!

Barbara Forte Abate said...

Wonderful post, Cora!

Oh yeah, but voice can be such a tricky thing. I find that when I'm writing a blog post, I best recognize my voice when I'm careful not to fall into the trap of pulling it from someone else's mouth. If it feels false when I'm writing it, there's no doubt it will read false.

Cora said...

Being yourself in your writing can be tricky. Cori Padgett (link above) really had some good techniques for loosening up and letting your voice come through.

Cora said...

Until I read Cori Padgett's advice, I hadn't really given my blog voice a whole lot of thought. It does take practice.

Cora said...

I tried one of Cori's techniques about writing for a minute (3 minutes) without stopping, about anything. Write like you talk and keep it going without stopping. You will start to see your VOICE coming out.

Cora said...

That's the tricky part, we write words of other people, being careful of grammar, etc. That is where our voice gets smothered. I am working on my blog voice--don't feel I have allowed it to come out yet. Guess that's why I did a post on it.

Marian Pearson Stevens said...

Love this post, Cora! At the end of the day, it comes down to the voice and if the reader clicks with it. I like that-writing for 3 minutes-deal. Must try. And Kristen Lamb did say it might take a while for you to find your blogging voice. Very interesting. Congrats on the blog, Cora!

Cora said...

Thanks for your comment, Marian. I had forgotten that Kristen said it might take a while, whew, that lets the pressure off a bit.

April Plummer said...

Oh, yes. I'm lovin' watching us all grow and learn and develop such unique voices. Those of us who were further along the road than others have been such a help, and it's been amazing to be part of such an intelligent and supportive group. Voice is hard to find. Whether on your blog or in you novel. But once you find it...you're good to go. :)

Erica Miles said...

Good post.

My problem's not with voice. It's with tone. My novels are pretty dark, but my blog is funny and I can't seem to help it. I just think funny things all day.

I'm afraid the result will be that a blog visitor will read my fiction expecting laughs and get the equivalent of mental whiplash.

What to do?

Ellen Gregory said...

Seems to me humorous/light-hearted voices are good for blogging. Not really me though - I tend to be all serious! I often wish I was more naturally amusing :-)

Cora said...

I agree, I enjoy watching us grow. It's amazing. Blogging three times a week (or trying to) forces us to improve much quicker.

Cora said...

Maybe your two sides are a good balance. Have you ever taken a survey of your readers to see what reactions they have to your blog voice vs book voice--or is your voice the same?

Cora said...

No, Ellen, you have a great voice. I don't think you have a serious voice, the humor comes through.

Erica Miles said...

I've just start to blog, so I couldn't say about voice. My crit partner says that I could write a grocery list and she could tell it was me, so I suppose voice is pretty consistent.

You could be right about the balance thing. Guess more time blogging will work some magic. Like everyone else, I want answers NOW. *sigh*

Margaret Miller said...

Cora this post is wonderful.

I'm still working on mine - I like the idea of just writing it, but I have to refrain from rehearsing it in my head first. If I can catch those "head" words then I'm a lot closer to the conversational me, but if it gets played out in my head then I struggle to keep it conversational - too many years writing academic papers and the like get in the way. I also find there's a big difference in voice for me in the composition of a blog post and in responding/commenting. I'm guessing I'm less stilted just chatting here than on my actual posts.

Cora said...

Yes, it's the chatty voice you want to develop--not the academic voice. I'm still working on mine, it comes and goes. I know it takes practice--the more you write, the more comfortable you get--don't you think? Thanks for commenting.

S.M. Hutchins said...

I think a certain voice has developed on my blog over time. I definitely started in one particular way (4 years ago?), then developed in to something a bit different and settled in. Recently I think my voice has changed as I became a mother last year. I found myself back in a place of worrying about what to say and how. Now I'm trying to let my writing happen a bit more organically again so I can redevelop my voice and see where it goes. Kristen's class has been insightful for learning (or remembering) things about myself.