Acquiring Voice

When reading my own writing, it always sounds like me, but it also sounds like someone completely different. It sounds like how I think, but not how I talk. As someone who is pretty shy, I usually keeping the talking to a minimum, unless I’m around people I know pretty well, or in a super fun mandatory participation classes. The voice that comes out in my writing is what I think I would sound like if I wasn’t as introverted as they come. In a sense, I use written language to “make up” for the ways I don’t use spoken language, as written language is something I am extremely more comfortable with.

The content I am most drawn to write about are things that are going on in my own life.  It is so much easier for my voice to come out when I’m writing about things that are pertinent to me, rather than a topic I’ve been assigned and can’t really identify with. I know the best writing I do is the writing that has the most of my own voice in it, and this is best when I’m speaking from personal experience (which I’m sure is probably the case for almost everyone and doesn’t make me special, but whatever).

I think the parts of my personality that come out the most, or what I try and include most often, would be humor and sarcasm, and just the general idea of trying not take myself to seriously. In writing but also in general it’s much easier for me to be funny and even a little self deprecating then it is to be confident and boastful.

I didn’t really realize it until sitting down and thinking about it just now, but I do have a few things I always try and include, and ways I always structure my papers. Most essays I write always follow the same order- opening paragraph, body paragraphs with arguments and evidence, transition, closing paragraph. It makes more sense for me as both a writer and reader to always have it follow that order. In 225, we had a paper where the professor encouraged us have the introductory paragraph be the second paragraph, and another where we didn’t introduce our argument until the end of the paper- both times I could not get my head around it and my papers felt wrong when I was reading them. I also try and throw in personal anecdotes and examples whenever possible, because as a reader, that’s something I love to see.

I wish I had a clear or defining moment as to when I acquired my voice or figured out what it should be, but I really don’t. I only started writing outside of school assignments pretty recently. Up until then, I guess it had just been a process of trial and error- turning in papers, getting feedback, seeing what worked and what didn’t. While it has been helpful and I do feel as though I’m continually getting better at identifying my voice, I’m hoping that the more I move away from solely academic writing, the more I can identify it.

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