Many aspiring writers dream of sharing their unique perspectives with the world but struggle to establish their own distinctive written voice. Though we each have experiences that shape how we see the world, putting our singular viewpoint into polished prose can feel daunting. This is where partnering with a talented ghostwriter can make all the difference.
What Does It Mean to Find Your Written Voice?
Your written voice represents your unique style, perspective, and personality communicated through the written word. It goes beyond just what you say, but how you say it. An authentic written voice grabs readers’ attention and compellingly conveys ideas.
Some key elements that comprise a written voice include:
Word choice: Using vivid, descriptive language that fits your message and audience. Some people prefer to stick to vocabulary that will appeal to the average reader, while others enjoy using words that might make some reach for a dictionary.
Tone: Writing with an appropriate emotional tenor and attitude. Is the tone conversational, academic, or humorous?
Personality: Letting your perspective and character come through the written word. We all have our unique way of expressing ourselves.
Rhythm and cadence: Writing with a distinctive flow, pace, and musicality. If you have trouble picking this out, try reading a passage out loud.
Point of view: Communicating from your authentic first-person perspective. How you see the world will be very different than how others view it.
Writers risk sounding disjointed, unclear, or generic without a refined written voice. Your voice breathes life into your writing.
Why Is Finding Your Voice So Difficult?
Establishing a confident written voice takes time and practice. If you speak to the average established author, they will share with you that it took many hundreds of thousands of words to develop their unique written voice. Here are some of the hurdles that can make the process challenging:
Lack of writing experience: Simply writing more helps you identify what works for you. If you’re new to writing, set aside time each day and experiment with different voices. Also, read a lot and see how other authors express themselves.
Self-doubt and hesitation: Your lack of experience may cause you to feel afraid your voice might not appeal to readers. A professional ghostwriter will craft a written voice for you that will resonate with readers.
Trouble identifying your perspective: You need to know what makes your view unique. Through many conversations with your ghostwriter, they will help you pinpoint this so it is consistent.
Getting trapped in formality: Stuffy, impersonal writing lacks personality. Most of my clients have expressed some kind of fear of their middle school grammar teacher. They were taught to write in a certain way. While that might have made sense for grade school, it doesn’t work for your memoir. It’s often best to keep things a bit less formal.
These issues stem from a lack of confidence and experience. This is why partnering with a talented ghostwriter can accelerate your progress.
How Can a Ghostwriter Help You Find Your Written Voice?
A ghostwriter is a writing professional who helps others author books, articles, speeches, and other content while letting them take credit. Skilled ghostwriters don’t impose their own voice but are adept at bringing out their client’s unique writing voice. Over the last twenty years, I’ve helped dozens of clients find their written voice. Here are some of the ways I can help:
Ask probing questions: I will interview you to draw out your personal stories, perspectives, and passions. I’ll ask a lot of detailed follow-up questions as well.
Encourage authenticity: I always want you to express your real self, not what you think readers want. Readers can see right through that!
Expand your creativity: By discussing new perspectives, I can help you discover new aspects of your written voice. Through the ghostwriting process, you’ll discover new nuances of you!
Build confidence: Through many conversations, we’ll uncover your written voice. Typically, my clients can be a little shy about their voice in the beginning, but by the halfway mark, they are fully committed and confident about it.
A Few Tricks I Have Developed
I always prefer to start by asking the client to provide written notes. This helps me tremendously as I can learn a lot quickly about the project and start to think about their written voice. Even if it is just a short reflective piece or a transcription of their thoughts, it all helps. Then I ask probing questions during interviews to elicit personal anecdotes, opinions, and little-known facts that reveal the client’s singular perspective.
For fiction clients, I will sometimes ask them to write character sketches or scenes from different narrative viewpoints to find the ideal voice for telling the story. Of course, I’ll rework and polish these pieces, but this initial draft helps me understand the client’s needs.
If the client wishes to work with me through the writing process I will recommend that they study writers with distinctive voices to better understand and channel their own style. I am always eager to learn which novels or memoirs they prefer.
As I begin to write my client’s story, I always share pieces for feedback to ensure their voice is coming through authentically. I take notes on what they like and don’t like and make adjustments accordingly.
Another trick I sometimes employ if a client is unsure about their written voice is to read aloud passages to them or have them do so. This helps them judge if the voice sounds natural or needs adjustment.
As an experienced ghostwriter, I have many tools in my belt to help my many diverse clients discover and sharpen their voice and style. With persistence and care, I always find my client’s unique written voice during our ghostwriting process.
Case Study: How I helped Becky Find Her Written Voice
As a ghostwriter, I can’t reveal my client’s names. However, I thought it would help to probe how I go about uncovering an author’s written voice. Becky represents a client I worked with many moons ago. I’ve changed a few details (as well as the name) to protect her identity.
Becky had started from humble beginnings in a small town in Nebraska. After college, she struck out and tried her hand at starting various companies, failing miserably at most. Then she discovered her inner passion and found her success. Becky’s life turned around as she began to travel the globe. Finding my website, she wrote to me, “I have all these amazing stories and lessons learned, but lack the writing skills to share them.” For years, she tried unsuccessfully to write her memoirs, because she wanted to share her triumphs with others so they might follow in her footsteps.
I started by interviewing Becky at length to draw out her most interesting life experiences. I wanted to hear about her failures as well as her successes. Becky talked passionately about starting her first company in college, and how many mistakes she made. She learned a lot about herself through those experiences.
I took careful notes, writing down what she said verbatim. Becky also provided me with detailed written notes. I could see how she expressed herself. She was very plain speaking and had a certain enthusiasm that was infectious.
While Becky had trouble identifying her personal story arc, I asked a lot more questions. We uncovered key themes like risk-taking and perseverance. “Let’s use your stories to illustrate those bigger ideas,” I suggested. I worked with Becky to hone her fascinating anecdotes to highlight her upward battle to succeed on her own terms.
Left to her own devices, Becky tended to write rather dryly. This happened, then that. There was no story, just facts. I worked with Beckey to punch up her prose with vivid imagery and witty turns of phrase while retaining Becky’s conversational tone. Adding dialogue really helped. I also nudged Becky to open up more about her vulnerabilities and mistakes to make her story more relatable.
I remember submitting the first two chapters to Becky as if it were yesterday. Becky was so excited! “This sounds like me! It’s like you’re in my head.” That was one of the biggest compliments I’ve ever received.
Key Takeaways: How Ghostwriting Facilitates Finding Your Written Voice
Each ghostwriter will have their own way of helping you find your written voice. However, you’ll find that most professional writers have similar tactics. Ghostwriters will typically:
- Ask a lot of probing, personal questions throughout the ghostwriting process.
- Request any written material to help them decode your style.
- Identify key themes within your personal stories and shape your experiences into compelling narratives.
- Turn your raw words of self-expression into polished prose with a consistent written voice.
If you feel you have important things to say but struggle to express them in writing, consider partnering with a professional ghostwriter. Having your ideas and stories shaped into smooth prose can help unlock your potential as a writer with a compelling written voice. With an expert’s guidance, you can share your one-of-a-kind perspective with the world.