“Grammar Girl” (http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/) describes voice as “the distinct personality, style, or point of view of a piece of writing or any other creative work.”
Voice is what draws you in to a story or keeps you searching through the archives of a blog you stumble upon. Whether you appreciate, are entertained by or can relate to a writer’s ‘voice,’ it captures your attention and keeps you going back for more.
For writers who are writing to a specific audience or are trying to address their target market, it is easy to get so focused on who you’re writing to and on making it grammatically correct that your ‘voice’ gets lost.
I was on a recent conference call with some fellow bloggers and discussing the issue of what to write about in regards to whether to write about what you are passionate about versus writing what your reader wants to read. I told the story about my freshman year of college as an English major taking one of my first writing classes.
After an entire semester of writing assignments with detailed parameters, specific topics and harsh rubrics to follow, our final exam assignment was that we could write about any topic that we were passionate about. I dove in with great enthusiasm, preaching from my soap box on some aspect of male and female relationships. It was a little sassy, very honest and was really a venting session.
I don’t remember exactly what my teacher wrote on my paper but the gist was, “Your writing has been terrific all semester but this piece had voice and passion and was by far your best. Write more like THIS.”
My essay had ‘voice.’ I was able to get past the technical aspect and get real.
Our readers want to hear our ‘voice.’ They want to get caught up in the moment and laugh, cry or snicker right along with us. They want to feel our passion and our pain. Their connection to our ‘voice’ is what endears them to us and our writing and what makes them our devoted fans.
The world needs more passionate writers who can captivate their readers while also being technically correct. Let’s find our voice again!