Many writers, especially newer ones, wonder about ‘voice’—what it is and how to develop it. This chapter gives some insight on that and how our writing not only impacts us, but how we impact our writing.
Wilbers says, “Writing is power. When you write, you assert your concerns, your values, your point of view. … With this power comes both responsibility and freedom.”1
He talks about the assumed identities the ancients called personas. We know it as an avatar, an image of what we want people to think—it might be a close approximation or a gross distortion, but either way, it’s not the real thing.
“Just as your choice of images is key to your persona, your choice of words determines your persona or the impression you create in your reader’s mind. … Natural word choice goes beyond language and techniques of style. Natural word choice shapes the reader’s impression of who you are as a person. … Your word choice should be intentional not accidental … should serve a purpose.”2
We impact our writing, but our writing also impacts us. Our writing journey is an opportunity for self-exploration. Through experimenting with language, styles and techniques that work for us, we can discover who we really are. But what about who you would like to be?
John Steinbeck said this: “I instinctively recognized an opportunity to transcend some of my personal failings—things about myself I didn’t particularly like and wanted to change but didn’t know how.”
I love this insight from Wilbers in writing behind the persona: “Whatever your choice [of persona], I urge you to be a complete person. Reveal not only your thoughts, but also your feelings. Share your insights and humor. Be playful. Write with heart. Above all, be genuine.”
And from Stephen King: “Honesty in story-telling makes up for a great many stylistic faults…”3
Revise the following using your own voice, making them less stilted.
1. I am making an attempt to make an improvement in my writing.
2. Please apprise me of what transpired at the meeting.
3. We need to fabricate a dike around this building utilizing these sandbags.
4. Such conditions impede progress in finding a resolution to said problems.
5. Our team leader deems it imperative that we conduct ourselves ethically.
1. Wilbers, Stephen, Mastering the Craft of Writing, pg 290
2. Wilbers, Stephen, Mastering the Craft of Writing, pg 291
3. Wilbers, Stephen, Mastering the Craft of Writing, pg 293
4. Wilbers, Stephen, Mastering the Craft of Writing, pg293