Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Finding Your Writing Voice

I found this article today called 3 Steps to Finding Your True Writing Voice. I thought it was very funny, well written, and relatable. In the two months since I have launched my blog, I have heard several folks talking about the "voice" I have developed in my posts. Honestly, until I read this article, I had no idea what they were really talking about. After reading this, I am confident that I have found my voice and that feels pretty damn good.

Cori's 3 Steps are easy to understand. Speak your reader's language. Know why you are writing. Brand it. Well, maybe "brand it" could be confusing to the casual reader. But, she explains it beautifully. I've been pouring over my 101 posts since reading this article, trying to pinpoint and confirm for myself that I have indeed found my voice. You know, just to be sure. This is what I have found out so far.

This is very long. Grab a cup of coffee before you settle in.

The first step is to speak your reader's language. Alright, I think I do well with this. The only time that I have found that I use a "big" word when something easier to understand would work has been in quotations. Correct me if I am wrong of course. I also admittedly know zip about "industry lingo" so I think I'm in the clear on that one.

Now writing with purpose? Oh yes, that is definitely me. My daily posts have purpose. They are my sincere effort to share bits of my ideas, passions, and interests without hogging the spotlight.
  • Sunday Sales is a direct sales pitch for a random assortment of things that I think are awesome and other people should think are awesome too.
  • Monday Mood centers on overall well-being. I try to give a little bit of information, share a related personal story, and/or offer suggestions for dealing with some of the darker emotions. The purpose is to inform, maybe entertain if appropriate, and definitely to help those in need.
  • Tuesday Tales is about my love of fairy tales. Some are long. Some are short. Some are absolutely ridiculous; others are full of symbolism. I love them all... the stories, the origins, the authors, the interpretations over time.
  • Wednesday Wiki's only purpose is to inform. A little useless trivia never hurt anyone, and every once in a while I find something that is truly fascinating.
  • Thursday Thrift is another daily devoted to sharing something I love. The economy sucks. Really. Thrifting is becoming more popular each day. I love finding articles, videos, and sites to share about thrifting. In my town, we have 5 different thrift stores, with 2 that opened in the last month.
  • Friday Five is a sometimes goofy, sometimes serious listing of things about me that I can share without feeling like I'm screaming " ME ME ME ME ME" repeatedly. Some folk's Friday Five is just 5 things and that is it. I like to give an explanation for my Five. My earlier Fives didn't have explanations; they just seem dull and lifeless to me. The ones with stories attached are more interesting, at least to me.
  • Saturday Solicitation is simply a book review. I read everywhere that a writer's blog should include book reviews of current authors. I don't necessarily do that. I'd rather write reviews for books that I have read in the past and enjoyed, ones that have a decent story to go along with the review, or those that move me.
Do I write with purpose? Um, yes. Affirmative. Sure, I throw silly comics and videos in from time to time that are for nothing but entertainment. I post current event articles randomly as well. Those still have purpose. Like this post, I try to write about writing too. Mostly, that is because everyone says I should. I like sharing my views on writing, but I am definitely not an expert. (ProTip: The information for anything you would want to know about writing is out there on the internet already.)

I talk to my readers. I don't use fancy language. I don't assume you are all doctoral candidates or elementary children. I write just like I speak (you just can't hear the accent). I am honest to a fault, opinionated, and mouthy. It comes through in my blogs. Reading back over them today, I have cringed a couple times. *shrug*

The second step is to know why you are writing. This goes back to writing with purpose. "Lack of purpose is the death of success." I like that quote. It can apply to so many things in life, including blogging and writing in general. Everything in this blog has been included for a reason. I want to share my opinions and passions with others. I want to provide readers with a connection in my life but retain my privacy. If you have read my blog posts from the beginning, you should know several core things about me:
  1. I can't spell worth a damn.
  2. I have a bad potty mouth. See #1.
  3. I am a gay supporter. I take the Declaration of Independence seriously. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
  4. I am a very clumsy person. It is made much worse when combined with alcohol. Which I also like. A lot. I fell off a damn bar stool Saturday night and I wasn't even drinking. It is a sad existence.
  5. I am obsessed with fairy tales and thrift shopping. No, I'm not a hipster.
  6. I am fiercely protective of my friends and my privacy.
  7. I am so sarcastic that even my friends don't know when to take me seriously sometimes.
I write because I love to write. Having a blog has been an incredible outlet for me. Even that, the outlet, is part of my purpose. If I wasn't blogging, I'm pretty sure I'd be writing sexy Glee Project fan fiction and that is very scary.

The third step is to brand yourself. I can see where that could be confusing. It is a complicated matter. I've read about how a writer "brands" themself by being active on every social media platform available. I have this blog, my Facebook, and my Twitter. My blog is like my baby. I'm here all day long looking up articles, writing posts, and bookmarking things that might be of interest later. I'm logged in a good 12 hours a day. Facebook is kind of like my first born. It is the child you are so proud of and love to brag about to your friends. Except that I brag about my baby to my first born. I am guilty of promoting my blog on Facebook a lot. I'm also logged into Facebook every day, but I'm usually lurking. My Twitter account has the middle child syndrome. It is often forgotten, ignored, and lonely. Also, I haven't managed to figure out how to link tweets to my Facebook.

I know there are so many more platforms in the way of social media but I mean c'mon... I can't do it all. Mostly because I don't know how to use them. I made a Tumblr account a while back. I was logged in a grand total of 5 minutes before I closed it, never to return. I've heard of LinkedIn but I have no clue what it is. MySpace is more for musicians. I do want to make a YouTube account soon. I'm working on a book trailer for my first novel which has become a daunting task. I do NOT want to appear on camera though so that is dicey. I'm learning about podcasting and really want to record and release a serialized reading of my novel once it is published.

But there is so much more involved in branding. I read another article a few days ago that spoke of making sure every social media platform uses the same picture, color scheme, and listing format. I'll have to work on that. I found a passable photo of me from a while back that I am thinking of using. I'm fairly certain that all 3 of my social platforms use Dee Declares. A quick Google search of "Dee Declares" brings up a plug for my blog by my friend Booksteve, something about music, and then the rest of the page is links to different posts from my blog. That is pretty awesome. However, a search of "Dee Sutter" isn't quite as fruitful. My Twitter is the 3rd link right now. Booksteve's plug is the 8th one. None of the rest of those links are me. So I'm currently banging out 50/50.

Something that I have included in all 3 platforms is my mini bio about being a writer, nerd, reformed WoW player, and a cat lady. I've brought up all these things in different posts here. I suppose that is branding. The article suggests having a signature of sorts to end each post. As I read through my blogs, I found a phrase that I have used more than once. It is a powerful phrase for me so I may start using it as a signature. If you search for "Love is love, no matter the back story" in Google (use the quotation marks), only my blogs come up so apparently that is my own original line. An original quote attributed to an author is awesome. Having my own is phenomenal. Until I find someone else that has been using that specific quote before June 20th, 2011, I'm claiming it. Mine!

Alright, so ends my incredibly long winded response to a much shorter article. I think that might be a bad thing... that the reply/review is longer than the original. Oh well. So what do you think? Have you found your voice? Have I found mine, in your honest opinion? What do you think of my idea for a signature? Let me know in the comments below.


Booksteve said...


Arts in the Family said...

I love that signature. I don't know if I've found my voice yet and I've been at it a while. It can seem a little scattered I suppose...like me. It's a w.i.p.! Congrats on the high pageviews for your blog. Much success to you in all your endeavors.

Alberto Ramirez Jr.

Dee said...

Thank you Steven and Alberto. I know that post was really long so thanks for taking the time to read it.