Voice in “Why I Write”

If voice is how I come off to the audience I am communicating with, then I think that I have multiple voices, and that the “Why I Write” piece is one of them. I have a different attitudes toward style, word choice, and sentence structure when talking to different people. For example, when I’m with friends that are my age, I tend to use slang, sarcasm, and pop culture references. When I’m with my extended family, I avoid using profanity or strong opinions, and try to speak in complete sentences. Based on different sets of shared knowledge that I assume the audience possesses, I decide whether not to explain terms that I use.

The voice that I use for writing is more formal and deliberate than the voice I use while speaking. I don’t use many unexpected words or informal language to create a unique style. I don’t use poetic language or try to communicate my emotions through writing. I try to describe things as simply and clearly as possible. I try to make an argument and explain my points in a straightforward manner so that the reader will be most likely to understand what I am saying. In order to be able to write, I must understand the ideas that I will be discussing beforehand.

The topics that most easily allow me to write in my voice are topics that I am curious to learn more about, but also related to things that are related to topics that I am already familiar with. I like to use writing as a way to make connections between topics I am learning about and what I already know. Personal writing, such as the “Why I Write” essay, is very different than the type of writing I normally do. I felt like I had to think of both the ideas and the way of delivering them from scratch.

 

Voice in my “Why I Write” Post

Before re-reading my Why I Write post, I was convinced the words would be unrecognizable; I would review it and immediately write it off as something I had written on a whim, and, if I were to write it again, would look completely different. Having said this, I was quite surprised by the level of familiarity I had with my writing. This seems to be a common theme in my life as a writer–with each draft I write, I imagine words that are so quickly thrown together that they couldn’t possibly be my voice, when in reality, these moments are when my most prominent thoughts are best communicated. So, while I recognize my voice within the written words, I believe a key component of my own thought process when considering why I write is missing in my writing: uncertainty.

When I crafted my response, I wasn’t confident in exactly why I write.  I had a few ideas, but with every thought came ten more suspicions. Instead of honoring these questions by weaving them into my response, however, I chose to edit them out. I wrote and deleted, wrote and deleted, until a half hour had flown by and I only had a few sentences to show for it. With each sentence I wrote, I knew there was a better way to communicate my thought, and I chose to get hung up on each and every word instead of expressing my thoughts as they came to me, regardless of clarity. Uncertainty was a key component of my brainstorming process–and my resulting voice–but it wasn’t successfully translated into my writing.

This isn’t to say that this uncertainty is to be present in every single one of my writing assignments–there are some essays I spend months on and subsequently become very confident with my arguments, and therefore don’t exhibit great levels of uncertainty. In an assignment such as this one, however, where I am instructed to state my thoughts in a informal response-like format, I believe my writing could have benefitted form an expression of uncertainty. I would have been able to look back on my writing when constructing subsequent drafts and follow my thought process more clearly. Instead, I am left to review a response where much of the small but crucial components of my thought process have been omitted. Further, the lack of uncertainty present in my writing invites a false image of expertise. In this case, I think a bit of questioning and apprehension would have created words that more genuinely reflected my own thoughts and honored my voice.

Still trying to figure out voice

An essential element of answering the question of whether or not my “Why I Write” draft is in my voice is knowing what my voice is. To be completely honest I still have no idea what “my voice” is. When it comes to writing, voice is never really something I think about. As always, I try to answer whatever prompt I am given to the best of my ability, whether it be a prompt that was assigned to me or one I made up myself to guide my writing. Therefore, writing tends to be a highly meditative process for me, involving a lot of erasing and re-writing as I go along. When I think of voice I think of something that comes naturally, which leads me to believe that most of the writing I do is not in “my voice.”

However, when I re-read my first draft, I can’t say that it is not written in my voice – even though it is hard for me describe what my voice is. This leads me to believe that I wrote my “Why I Write” piece in one of many voices that I put on, varying based on the circumstance for the writing. I just spent a month engrossed in research to produce a literature review on evolutionary theories for grooming behavior in non-human primates. The result? A dry, scientific-paper primarily made up of other people’s ideas. However, I did paraphrase those ideas into “my own words.” While I wouldn’t necessarily want to claim the style of that paper as my voice, I think it would be fair to say that it is a voice of mine used in writing that has to be professional, clear, and succinct.

The voice in my “Why I Write” paper is very much a voice that comes out when I am thinking very in depth about a subject, and translating those thoughts onto paper as seamlessly as possible. This strategy often results in a stream of rather incoherent, superfluous sentences that I then have to edit to make sense. I believe the ultimate result is a mixture of writing that is both my voice and not my voice. So, is the rough draft in my voice? Yes and no. I do think that writing this blog and continuously going through my draft has helped me to pinpoint which parts of the draft are in fact my voice and which parts are not.

Am I Me?

We were asked to address whether or not our first take on the “Why I Write” draft was true to our perception of what our voice is.

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: Idk–maybe, dude?

I always feel a little bit like that fish in the asthma commercials that were popular in like 2009 when asked to stake a claim regarding my voice. Flipping and flopping around, in obvious discomfort, but safely returned to the bowl because PETA would have a field day otherwise. I’m obviously in discomfort but ultimately I know that the harm that will befall me when I fail to answer is only superficial.

I’d like to say this initial gut description of what compels me to write is fitting with the “witty” voice I’ve built over a lifetime of pen stroke chatter. I try to say that about everything I do though, even the really boring business reports I have to write that are way too long and way to devoid of mistake, humor, personality and warmth in general. Ya know, business-y stuff. But even with that, I try to bring in me in the ways I structure sentences and phrase things. My formatting and structure also help me build a cohesive professional paper me. It’s the equivalent of wearing a blazer. Underneath is still the girl that probably forgot to put on deodorant and is trying to cover up her doughy palms. Me just dressed up.

That’s how I feel about my writing voice for the most part. That no matter what I do, someone will inevitably be able to tell it was me who wrote it–assuming that they’ve read my work before that is. Because what I’ve found is that my writing voice, though relatively constant, is unrecognizable unless it’s been read by someone before. People are shocked it’s mine. Not sure what that says about me as a in-real-life person (actually I do and it’s that I’m boring), but if it means that I put on a voice, then that’s something I’ve come to terms with.

I guess the real question though, and one I’ve never been able to answer truthfully, is which one is it? Which one do I put on? The one I write with or the one I talk with everyday?

Why I Write, vers 1

I wrote this piece in my voice.
Not in my real voice, mind you, because there’s really no use to writing if it’s going to be in the same voice you use for talking. No, this piece is written in my voice, that is to say the voice I have distilled my voice into being when writing a piece as introspective as this one: succinct enough to sound as though I am to be taken seriously, but whimsical enough as to seem quirky yet relatable, characteristics which my real voice would have a tough time portraying.
This voice, while one of many voices I use when writing, is still my voice, and still feels as authentic as one I would speak in. Just like I vary the way I speak depending on whom I am speaking to, I vary the voice I write in depending on the subject matter and the intended recipient. Even know I’m using a different voice: “intended recipient.” I don’t talk like that in real life, but for whatever reason, here it seems like the perfect way to communicate what I intended. Perhaps I don’t ever write in only one voice at all; perhaps I mix all of the voices I’ve developed over the years into one, drawing from different messages and sounds at different times in order to communicate different things to specific audiences.
All I know is that voice, these voices, are mine.

Why I Write: Voice

The voice I wrote my “Why I Write” piece in is a voice I recognize, but not my natural voice.  By natural, I mean my normal speaking voice or the voice I use when writing to friends or family members that I feel completely comfortable with.  However, this is written in a very typical writing voice of mine.  I recognize this voice as my go to academic voice.  It’s the voice I use when writing papers for class.  This is not surprising to me because I very rarely write in my normal speaking voice.  I always take on a more refined tone in my writing unless the occasion explicitly calls for something else.  Whenever I write, I think that I default to this voice as I am so used to using it.  It is not excessively professional, however it is fairly straight to the point and doesn’t show many levels of my personality.

My Voice[s]

I wrote my first “draft” of Why I Write in a quasi-bullet point-paragraph-outline format–I basically just let my fingers spit out the words in my head with very little mediation in between. I suppose that could mean that it truly was my voice, since I made very little effort in trying to make my sentences sound any certain way. However, I wonder if perhaps my writing that is mediated with extra effort and purposeful tone and voice is also another real voice of mine. I don’t believe in many absolutes in general, so along those lines I don’t think I believe in having one voice–that sounds awfully boring, really. I sometimes like to play around with different voices in my personal writing. I don’t mean that people have multiple greatly differing voices, because evidenced by a good majority of writing out in the world that doesn’t seem to be the case, but I think there are variations within one’s voice that can come out in different works of writing. In my opinion, even writing that seems voiceless, such as research or scientific writing or lists, can have a variation of one’s voice, because they involve choices related to words, syntax, and other aspects of language. So yes, I do believe that I wrote my Why I Write in my voice, or at least in one of them, but it will probably–hopefully–develop and transform as my essay goes on.

The Voice

While completing my “Why I Write” assignment, I wasn’t really focused on writing. It was late, I wanted to go to bed, but I had a spark of motivation to do it mid teeth-brushing, so I decided to get it done. I whipped it up in about twenty minutes, and then closed my laptop and went to bed.

The next day, I re-read what I had written, and was surprisingly shocked. It sounded like my typical writing style and it had some pretty decent points in it. The piece was most definitely written in my “voice” and didn’t fall short from what writing style I typically produce.

In class we were also asked if it was written in one of the many voices that you have, and to be honest, I’m not quite sure if I have multiple voices. I’m not actually quite sure what my voice is either, I just know it when I see it. Maybe I do have multiple voices, as I feel like it’s difficult not to change the voice for different types of writings, but I think it’s safe to assume that they all derive from one overarching voice that I always somewhat write in even though sometimes it’s adapted.

In regards to the content of my “Why I Write,” I can assure that the content is very specific to myself. I give concrete examples for why I wrote in different periods of my life, allowing the reader to hear about my journey but apply the feelings and reasons to their own life. As a result of this, the reader is able to appreciate my story but then also think about their own more in depth.

Why I Write: My Voice

I think the draft I submitted of Why I Write is a solid attempt at representing my voice in this context. In much of my writing I use satire or sarcasm, but this piece of writing was a little more serious and therefore that aspect of my voice was left out. I had a detailed personal anecdote that allowed me to add some narration and show how I would act in certain situations rather than just tell my readers. I think using examples of real life is always more effective than telling someone “I like to write because I like to make a point” or something along the lines of just stating facts. Self reflections and personal analysis are something I am not used to writing and therefore I’m not entirely sure what my voice is. I’m not taking a stance on anything, proving a point, or making any jokes. This prompt is so different from what I am used to writing that I don’t know whether I am representing my voice correctly or even at all. I definitely want to go back and see what about my voice in other pieces of my writing I can take and add to this. I wrote it almost formally and was trying solely to answer the question rather than make it a unique piece of writing.

My Voice- Why I Write.

Is my, “Why I Write,” piece written in my voice? Hell Yea, it is! This is as “me,” as it gets. What I discuss in this piece is what drives me each and every day and is what gives me purpose in my daily life. It’s a topic I’m extremely passionate about and because of this, my voice naturally comes out.you have my sarcastic, witty commentary throughout but also my honest and raw experience that I discuss point blank.
I like to think that my voice comes into my writing whenever I have a strong opinion or am passionate about what it is that I’m talking about. Most academic essays don’t give me much room to insert “my voice,” and therefore don’t usually contain a lot of personality.
Although I do find ones voice to be extremely important in writing, i do think that the lack of my own personal tone in academic pieces makes them seem a lot more credible and professional than they would if I included my parenthetic, snarky thoughts.
Most of the time, i feel like writing IS my voice. I don’t fully understand my own thoughts or even who I am, until I catch a glimpse of it in my writing. i wouldn’t say I’m a sarcastic or a funny person, but in my writing I am! I allow myself to release the thoughts that I push aside automatically and usually don’t even realize I have.