Why Your Voice Matters


Why Your Voice Matters

It’s not what you tell, but how you tell it. As writers, our truths are in the details: the way we describe the sharp taste of coffee, the grit of sand between our toes, the sound of our partner’s heartbeat. The way you frame your story—the “how” of it all—is your voice, and it's as important to your book as the actual plot. It’s the way you see the world, your perception, your point-of-view. In other words, it’s what makes you you.

Your writing voice should be as natural as your speaking voice, and includes elements like sentence patterns, cadence, tone, diction, and syntax. Above all, though, your voice should be true to yourself, a glimpse of your worldview captured on the page. Think about the last book you read: what phrases made you pause? What passages made you see the world through a different lens?

For novice writers, finding and maintaining “a voice” can be a daunting task. But readers are hungry for voice—we all want to hear a story through a perspective that isn’t our own. Your voice allows readers to experience life from a new perspective, to understand the human condition in ways that we otherwise couldn’t. If that’s not the ultimate reward of writing, then what is?

If you’re having trouble honing your voice, try these tips:

  • Trust your gut. If you think there’s something off about the way the story comes out, you’re probably right.

  • Read it aloud. It’s easier to hear the bumpy passages.

  • Be transparent. Whether in fiction or nonfiction, readers can tell if a writer’s voice isn’t ringing true.

  • Take some time away. Ironically, sometimes writing like yourself is one of the hardest things to do. Go for a walk, run some errands, read a book, and come back with for a fresh take.

  • Above all, remember: we want to hear your perspective. Your voice is important!

Written by Sarah Mitchell, FriesenPress Publishing Specialist
Edited by Christian Fink-Jensen, FriesenPress Marketing Manger