Guided by voices

I don't know who needs to hear this today (I imagine nobody at all), but with my very best stirring motivational tweet hat on, I would like to tell you, that YOU (sorry for pointing) are unique.

You are a special little snowflake, with infinite jagged points of individuality, melting in the glow of your hottest takes and spinning into our view, beckoning us all to look at life through the lens of your opinions.

But we're in a blizzard. It's a real snow storm here. You ARE a unique snowflake, but so is everybody else – we're all swirling around in here and there's only so many other snowflakes we can latch onto before the weight of the chain brings us down softly to the ground.

There's a lot of content creators around, with more joining different platforms every day. Consumers are spoilt for choice, and if they read something they don't like, they're instantly on the hunt for something else they will.

So the key question, my little snowflake, is how do you make your uniqueness shine brighter than everyone else's?

The Voice

You've seen this show, right? Aspiring singers perform to the backs of heads of top musical superstars in the hope of making their way into a competition based on their voice alone. The stars don't see what the newcomers look like, how old they are, how they're styled or how they connect with the audience. Just how they sound.

They perform covers of famous songs – so it's well-worn, familiar content. They get three minutes to make an impression with someone else's words. Someone else's story.

Do you ever hear a new song on the radio by a singer you know? You've never heard the song before, but you know it's them. Their voice is an instrument and they use it to pack all of their talent, life experience, weight and nuance into a song. With signature flourishes, they distinctly tell us that it is them.

In blogging, we get to tell our stories, but we're using the same words everyone else does. To create connection and ongoing relationships with an audience, we need to do as those singers do, and use our voices.

Think about your favourite authors – if you read a page of one of their books out of context, you would probably know it was by them. How?

A writer's voice

A writer's voice is their style. The unmistakable stamp that they put on their work to let you know that it's theirs. It's the quality that makes a writer's work as unique as a snowflake.

As writers, we are blessed with a finite number of topics to write about – most of them covered in length and depth by many others before us. Opinions that we have are often not the 'hot takes' we think they are, and we're just re-cycling thoughts that have been thought already.

Hell, I bet there's a billion articles you can read about creating a strong voice in your writing. If you didn't know, could you tell this one is by me?

All of my favourite writers have certain things in common. They take a topic and they form an opinion on it filtered through their own perspective.

They give you a glimpse of their background so you understand where they're coming from. They use language from a place of knowledge and warmth, with no small amount of courtesy for their audience, and apply a tone of voice as reliable and unmistakable to the reader as a watermark.

I don't know who needs to hear this today, but in my very limited experience as a writer, this, for me, is key:

Find your voice – get that combination of topic, opinion, language and tone right – and own it. No one writes about the things you do, with the words you choose, in the manner you set it down. That special combination is what makes you you. Your readers read your words, but they hear your voice.

Find your inner snowflake.

Now, away! And into the blizzard.

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