Writing, for me, has always been a safe haven. It is my escape route from the world and thoughts that consume my mind. Writing is, for the most part, the only form of communication which I enjoy.
That being said, I would be lying if I told you that writing is easy. Yes, I know that I am a senior writing consultant in the University Writing Center and that some people think words should automatically flow from my head to my fingers and into the computer, but they don’t. The truth of the matter is that knowing basic grammar rules and how to perfectly format an APA paper is rarely comforting when it comes time to actually sit down and write a paper. In fact, I struggle with academic writing on a daily basis. That’s right; you’re not alone.
One of the greatest struggles that accompany the writing process is finding one’s own voice. Accomplishing this task confuses many people, so you may be thinking, “Well, how in the world am I supposed to do that?” The answer is simple: write.
Writing isn’t as dreadful and excruciating as you might think. In fact, if you’re like me, writing just might turn out to be the only thing that gets you through the day. Instead of solely writing for academic purposes, make it an enjoyable pastime. Journaling, blogging, and writing letters all serve as great gateways into finding your own voice.
Instead of spending hours trying to brainstorm creative subjects to write about, grab a pen and a blank sheet of paper and write whatever comes to mind. Write about things that interest you, topics that you enjoy reading about, or places you have visited in the past. It doesn’t matter what you are writing, as long as you are writing.
If you share what you have written with others, don’t be afraid to ask them for feedback. Be open to constructive criticism and consider applying what others have said to your writing techniques. Don’t, however, allow harsh remarks to cloud or hinder your voice. The most important thing to remember is this: be yourself.
In academic papers, you want to establish your voice early on, keeping it present throughout. It is common for students to use run-on sentences and fragments in order to showcase their voice, which is why it is important to prove yourself as a strong writer beforehand. You must establish yourself as a capable writer before breaking the rules of grammar.
Increasing the amount of time that you spend writing for your own enjoyment will definitely enhance your abilities as a writer. Writing for yourself enables you to find the voice that may not shine as brightly when writing for bigger audiences. Your voice is important; use it.
For more tips on improving your writing, please click here.