How To Find Your Author Voice

Filed in Writing Craft — July 5, 2024

If you’ve spent any time researching how to get published, you’ve likely come across the term “author voice.” Agents and publishers tout it as the golden ticket to getting your manuscript noticed. Yet, for such a crucial element, it remains notoriously difficult to define. So, what is this elusive author voice, and how do you find yours?

Author voice is that indescribable quality that makes your writing uniquely yours. It’s the way you string words together, the rhythm of your sentences, the perspective you bring to your stories. It’s that thing that enables readers to pick up a book, and without seeing the name on the cover, know that it’s yours.

So how do you find it?

Here’s the secret nobody told me:

You don’t find your author voice; your author voice finds you.

When you first start writing, your voice will very likely sound a lot like your favorite author. Or maybe have strong elements of the most recent book you read (or re-read) and loved. This is a natural part of the process, so don’t freak out. Imitation has always been a part of the learning process! Keep going! Something magical is happening beneath the surface.

The key to uncovering your author voice is good old-fashioned practice. Write as often as you can. Every day is you great, but every weekend works too. Once a week, if that’s what you can swing? Do it. What’s important is that you keep showing up, consistently putting words on the page. The more you write, the more opportunities your voice has to develop and strengthen.

Don’t get discouraged. Finding your author voice is a journey, not a destination. There’s no finish line, no final point where you can say, “This is it. This is my voice.” It’s an evolving part of your writing identity that will continue to grow and change as you do. Be patient with yourself. Keep writing, keep experimenting, and most importantly, keep enjoying the process.

The more you give yourself permission to love your writing, the more readers will love it too.

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