Writers are often told that “voice” is what makes their writing unique and interesting, what separates them from the crowd. To hear that your writing has a “voice” is one of the best compliments you can get. This is true for all genres, but couldn’t be truer than in memoir writing. But what does “voice” actually mean? And how do you find it?
The writer’s voice is about how you show up on the page. It’s how you express your own way of being in the world. The writer’s voice is about speaking your truth; you being you. Sounds simple; but it’s not necessarily easy. Some writers naturally write with a strong voice, while others struggle to bring their voice to the page.
We often hear, “show don’t tell” but I think writing that has “voice” does both. To “show” means to bring the reader into your world in a way that engages the sense of smell, touch, taste and so on. The reader can feel your pain, joy and emotions; they can relate and sympathize with your experience.
To “tell” is often described as too much narration, describing or explaining, and lacking connection. But, telling can be done with a great degree of creativity and color by writing from an objective point of view, while at the same time staying connected to the character (that would be you in a memoir).
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