Finding Your Voice

How do you know what to write and how to write it?

Sometimes, I have the hardest time figuring out what words to put down and how to really express myself.

I’m pretty animated when I talk. Maybe a bit too much. I talk with my hands and make faces, and I love getting into telling a story.

I’ve been known to break into reciting a scene from Tommy Boy or Superstar. Or imitating people when sharing stories, trying my hardest to copy their voices and mannerisms. But there’s no good way to “talk with my hands” when I’m typing, you know? So how do I find a writing voice that is authentic and close to how I communicate in person?

Is it possible?

I don’t want to use big words that have never come out of my mouth or type other things that I never, ever say in real life either.

I mean, I’m not very cool. Never have been, actually.

I was always the teacher’s pet,  the bookworm,  the dependable girl-next-door. I used to make up my own word searches and crossword puzzles – and then do them myself. For fun. Sometimes I’m not sure why other kids liked me.

I can’t say things like “a’ight” or “biznass” without sounding and feeling ridiculous. I also can’t dance, but that’s another story for another time.

I realize we all have our own writing voice and it may be different than our speaking voice and mannerisms…but I love my speaking voice and mannerisms!

Last summer, I received one of the best compliments: someone thinks I’m a great storyteller. And I love that.

But I know there’s a disconnect in how I tell stories in person and how I write them down. Sure, I can get the story out and have the same details, but it’s tough for me to figure out how to get the same effect.

Maybe I’m just a better storyteller in person because I love seeing people’s reactions?

I love seeing the light in someone’s eyes when they’re really engaged and interested in what’s going on. The way they lean forward when they’re waiting to hear what happened next.

And the laughing. If I get a big belly laugh from someone, that makes my day – makes my week! Those throw-your-head-back, lose-your-breath laughs are what keep me going.

I guess it just takes time to find and refine your writing voice, right? Maybe I need close friends and family to help with this because they’ve seen me doing the Tommy Boy scene (probably more than once).

 

Tell me I’m not alone – do you have a tough time writing in a way that feels similar to how you actually communicate in real life?

 

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14 comments

  1. You’re definitely not alone. In person I’m casual, relaxed, ready to tell a story in an animated way. In writing, I have a hard time breaking away from the formal communication style I use every day in corporate America. But I’ve been working on having my personality come thru in my posts. Good luck on your end. :)

  2. Brandi, have you seen how many blog posts I’ve done on my blog (a whole TWO)? Yeah, I’m searching for my voice too, so it’s okay!

    I also think you’re pretty cool despite what you say :)

    (((hugs)))

  3. Definitely not alone! I talk SO much in person, but translating the spoken voice into a written one can be challenging..because with writing, the simpler the better. It’s ok to embelish a little to make your point, but I realize that I ramble quite a bit in real life, and that’s not really readable when written. Even so, I think it’s important for written voices to match spoken. I still feel mine does and I think you’d match your written word, too if met in real life.
    Apparently some people don’t match they’re spoken and written style very well, so it’s kind of special. :)

  4. Yes! I think telling a story in person is so different because you can see those reactions, and they can cause you to either keep going or maybe change your story approach. If someone looks disinterested, you can tell – and switch gears!

  5. I think that like so many things in life in the end, it all comes down to practice. Yes it’s hard to communicate certain things in he written word without tone of voice and facial cues but I’m learning that he upside is we also get to use pictures which tell a lot.

  6. Brandi I struggle with this a great deal. In real life I’m sarcastic, witty, nonPC, swearing chic. That’s how I am. I tell stories the same way you do and my goal is to get someone to laugh. I usually achieve this by swearing and being sarcastic.

    I try to be fun and yet also want to be professional on my blog. Swearing obviously goes out the window. It’s hard for me to still be fun and sarcastic when I know that some of my personality has to be reigned in. Still looking for that happy balance.

  7. You aren’t alone. I have a tough time writing. My boss actually told me that my writing was boring yet, I’m one of the most expressive individuals he has ever know. I think a lot of it is that I get to interact and explain things when I’m looking and talking to someone.

  8. Most definitely! Some days are easier than others, but I think over time and with practice it gets easier and more natural.

  9. You are not alone–I absolutely have trouble with that! I also don’t post very often (about once a week) so I don’t give myself a lot of opportunities to really develop my “writing voice.” I focus much more on having my tone and general demeanor–upbeat, energetic, positive–come across in my writing more than my actual idioms and expressions. It’s definitely a challenge, though, to express who you are and remain true to yourself in a blog format.

  10. You are SO not alone!!! I feel the same way!

    Jen

  11. i think this is the age-old question – how do we accurately reflect who we are to people? sometimes it IS hard to show who you are inside through writing. it’s so much more – voice, inflection, clothes, gestures, mannerisms.

    that’s why i have loved meeting so many bloggers in person, because even though sometimes you never get a full sense of who people are via the Internet, somehow your voice DOES come across. everyone i met has been just like i expected them to be – and more! i have no doubt you will be the same way.

    “be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

    hugs and love girl!!!

  12. Yes! I love this post!

    In real life I’m hysterically funny (not to be vain, but it is one of my favorite qualities) and wickedly sarcastic, but I feel like none of that comes through in my blog. I wish I knew how to sound more like *me* but I haven’t quite figured it out yet.

  13. You are definitely not alone! Sometimes I write something, and it just doesn’t “sound” write on paper, so I try over and over again to get it right. Ugh!!

  14. I had/have such a hard time with this. The best tip I’ve ever heard is write it and then read it out loud. If it sounds like you would say it, hit publish…if not edit.

    I may look crazy to Hunni when I’m talking to myself after writing my posts but my blog style has improved to be more “me.”

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