Voice

There is much ado about voice.  Writers spend a lot of their effort on “finding” their own, as though it were a magical object hidden behind the mists of everyday speech.  But what is the objective?  Will one voice work for everything the writer might want to write?

A good singer will tell you that voice is about range, timbre and pitch, and the right level of intensity.  It is the same for writers.  For us, range consists of the variety of forms we’re comfortable writing.  Timbre consists of the distinctive tone and color required for the work.  Our pitch is the level of flourish and poetics (or simplicity and succinctness) we apply to our message.  Intensity is defined as the level of passion and persuasion with which we infuse our product.  Good writing is no different than good singing.  Good is always defined by the audience.

Like singers, writers can choose to make the body of their work in one particular form in whatever voice is comfortable to them, but this is limiting.  It reduces the amount of performances for the singer, and the amount of publications for the writer.  Both must adapt to a variety of styles in order to increase their opportunities.  Singers must sing ballads and choruses as well as arias.  Writers must write articles and prose as well as poetry.  This can only be accomplished with practice.

With practice, range increases and a variety of voices develop.  You can pick and choose the manner of performance appropriate for the audience and context.

There will always be a signature style, small ways in which the way both the singer and the writer demonstrate their individuality, but both will be aware of this style and know how and when to turn it up or suppress it.

In the end, it is not so much a matter of finding your voice as shaping it.

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