Finding your writing style and voice

It’s National November Writing Month – the month when writers around the world join in a quick-fire effort to complete a story of 50,000 words in just 30 days. I’m marking it this month by re-posting some of the material I’ve published in past years to help writers get to that goal.


Nailing down a style that works for you – which is distinctive, unique and cool – isn’t always easy.

One of my bookshelves...
One of my bookshelves…

There’s so much going on for beginning writers, everything from wrestling with the fact of expressing ideas through to the mechanics of actually writing. All of it has to be mastered and all of it comes in at once. My advice? Don’t panic. All this sorts itself out with time and experience.

Of which the annual National November Writing Month (really, a world-wide rather than just a US event) is maybe the best practise. Where else can writers without contract deadlines get to enjoy the pressure of having to pump out X-number of words every day, finish them off and complete something.

Did I say ‘enjoy’? I did, didn’t I…

Anyhow, the trick to sorting out the overwhelming part of being a beginning writer is to break the problem down. The mechanics of writing include:

  1. Control of the words – getting the grammar and sentences right (only once you have that control can you play games with it), so you can phrase what you are doing.
  2. Control of expression – being able to translate your three-dimensional ideas into linear written phrases, quickly and well. Related to but subtly different from (1).
  3. Combining (1) and (2) to create a distinctive voice of your own.
  4. Having the three-dimensional idea that you want to write about (be it a novel, non-fiction, or whatever).

A lot of authors have (4) but need (1)-(3) to translate it. Others are pretty good on (1)-(3) but lack (4). All of them are necessary.

How does this translate into something for NaNoWriMo? If you’re stuck, have a look at why you’re stuck. Is it lack of content (4), or lack of expression (2)? If the wording sounds dumb, is it lack of (1). Understanding what’s going on – by breaking the issue down into components – is a huge step towards then being able to solve the problem.

Click to buy
Click to buy

If you want some more writing tips and hints, and a method for pushing your book through, check out my short quick-start manual How to get writing… fast. Available on Kindle.

Copyright © Matthew Wright 2015 and 2018


2 thoughts on “Finding your writing style and voice

  1. I’m not sure I had a writing voice before I did so much blogging I started to get bored with my subject and tried to think of how to say the slight original thing I had in enough words to be read.

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