Listening to the sound of my voice

PaperbacksWhen I first started writing, I never intentionally tried to mirror a favorite writer. The problem was that I hadn’t found my own voice yet. So when I started creating stories, it surprised me when I discovered the stories were not my own.

One of my early attempts was to write a science fiction epic that would have a galactic scale to it. I stopped after a few thousand words when I realized I was retelling Issac Asimov’s Foundation series. As time went on, I discovered an interest in writing stories about a populated Mars, not unlike Ray Bradbury. When I graduated college, it was Stephen King and his epic The Stand that I was mimicking in style — if not in apocalyptic subject matter.

Through all these phases in my writing, I was equally concerned and confounded by the advice I received to “find your own voice.”

I don’t have a voice, I wanted to argue. I only know how to write like the books I have read.

After a decade or so of writing, I’ve discovered my voice has been with me all along. It was my own voice I was drowning out by listening to my favorite authors whispering in my ear.

What I didn’t understand, what many new writers fail to grasp, is that our favorite writers aren’t doing anything special in their writing. They aren’t adopting a “writer’s voice” when they put pen to page. Do you want to know their secret? Lean in close and I’ll whisper it to you: They talk to you.

Writing can still be difficult. I get off track, I overwrite scenes, and I have a habit of putting on my editor hat when I should be writing. But when I get things right, it’s because I have stopped trying to write. Instead, I talk and let my fingers transcribe what I’m saying in my head.

That’s the voice I needed to find, and it was inside me all along.

Kevin Wohler is a copywriter and novelist living in Lawrence, Kansas. During the day, he works at a digital marketing agency in the Kansas City area. When time remains, he likes to tell stories of the weird and bizarre. And sometimes, he writes them down for others to read.

1 Comment

  • Kevin,

    Your mother-in-law, is a dear friend of mine and she is one ‘proud mama’ over you.

    I really appreciate your article here because I, too, love to write, and I, too, struggle to ‘sound like me’. Your article helped me to see that all I got to do is ‘just be me’. Thanks!

    dismantling disABILITIES

1 Trackback

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.