21 Find Your Style and Voice

Sister Molly Heine

As college students, we are required to write different types of papers. There will be times when you’re asked to write research papers and papers that will allow you to express your opinions. Most writers are challenged with the question of whether to use the first person in their writings. However, while it’s good to put yourself into your writing, there are times when you shouldn’t use the first person. Most people think by not using the first person, that you’re not actually in your writing. However, the mere fact that you wrote your paper or assignment means that it’s already a part of you without having to use ‘I’. When writing anything, you need to find your style and voice.

When writing, find your style and voice, because once you find your style and voice, they will always show themselves in your writing. The more you write, the more you can learn to establish your style and voice. By finding your style, it’s all about the ‘how’. How do you find your style and voice? Well, finding your style and voice is done by being original in your writing, using life experiences, stepping out of your comfort zone, and by writing often. By doing the steps previously stated, you will find it easier to find your style and voice in writing. When I was younger, I was more on the shy side, so I didn’t think that I had a voice worth listening to. However, as I entered my junior year of high school, I was asked to write and to write from a personal perspective on a topic. Once I allowed my voice to be heard from my perspective, my teacher was surprised by how well I wrote. She said I had a very real and down-to-earth style. Hearing those words from my teacher made me confident in myself and my writing. So, once I found my style, I was then able to find my voice as well. Rodrigo Joseph Rodriguez, a writing teacher at St. Edward’s University says, “The writer needs to be present and breathing on the print or digital page.” By having a style and voice original to you, you will be present and breathing in your writing. Your words as a writer are called to be alive and to give life to your readers.

You have to understand your voice and style—if your style comes through, you need to know when to let it out or rein it in. This is important to know when writing, especially with assignments such as research papers. When writing a research paper, we need to know how to balance how much of our writing is research and how much is a personal perspective. However, even when writing a research paper, your thoughts or opinions can still be present and known in your writing. The only part that will be different will be the language we use. It’s like when we speak to our boss versus when we speak with our friends. We may be speaking about the same continent, but we would have a different language or a different style and voice. Like Rodriguez says, “speak up and be present and known in your writing!” By speaking up, being present and known in your writing does not mean only using the first person. You can be present in your writing in more ways than just using the first person. That is why establishing your style and voice is important.

As college students, we establish our voice through the vocabulary that we frequently use, our tone, point of view, and the way our writing flows. It sounds simple enough, right? The writing process is not and should not be drastically complex. To find your style and voice in writing, you need to practice. The more you practice writing, the better you will be. We find our style in writing by of course practicing writing. We also find it by carefully choosing the words we decide to use and being direct in our writing as well. Also, do not be afraid of revisions. When revising your writings, they become better and it helps you articulate what you want your readers to read. And lastly, you can find your style by reading books, articles, and other writings from famous authors. That will help you write and find your style in your writing.

Finally, once you find your style and voice in your writing, you will be more proficient in the way you write and feel more confident as a writer. Your words are powerful and when you feel comfortable enough to use your style and speak your voice in your writings, it is then that you will be able to connect with your process of writing and be able to connect with those who will be reading your writings.

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Good Ideas About Writing by Sister Molly Heine is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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