As a freelance writer, I know a lot about writing in different voices. Some clients want a voice that is funny, some want simple, some want informative, some want technical, and so on. I have to be able to write in many different formats and voices.
What I have found through all this, is not how to achieve different voices, but instead, what my own voice is. You might not think that you can find your own voice by writing in many styles (I didn’t), but it turns out you can.
My personal writing voice varies depending on whether I am writing fiction or non-fiction. In both, however, my voice typically eliminates useless phrasing and imagery. My writing is simple and to-the-point. I don’t really like to wax poetic in my prose, and I don’t like to add forced drama to my fictional writing.
This is my voice and who I am.
Some people love it, and some people hate it. I’ve had potential clients turn me down because my normal writing voice is not what they are looking for. I’ve had others who have consistently requested for me to work with them again and again because they love the way I write.
So, what is the moral of the story? No more or less than you have read other places. Write how you write (as long as it is error-free grammatically speaking) and you will eventually find the right market or client for your style. I’ll give you some examples of a few vastly different writing styles for comparison:
Orson Scott Card is a fellow straight-to-the-point writer. His background is in theater, which eliminates much description and carries things along quickly and efficiently. He is an excellent writer.
Erin Morgenstern is a poetic prose writer. Her story, The Night Circus, is beautiful and reads like a piece of art. She is an excellent writer.
George R.R. Martin is a immersive writer. His stories focus on creating a rich universe that comes to life with its incredible detail and history that reaches far beyond the confines of the story. He is an excellent writer.
None of these writers write the same. The clients and editors that love Erin would not want George or Orson. Orson-lovers probably would not like George or Erin, and so on.
So, my message to you today is:
Search for your voice and develop your own style. Use others for inspiration, but never stray from who you are as a core writer in whatever you do. There are people out there who will love your style. You just have to find them.