Nonfiction writing can cover anything from self-help books to history, memoir, essays, high concept books and even copywriting. In such a vast genre that often involves facts, research, data and accuracy, how can you, as writer, let your unique voice shine through and make for an engaging read–a page turner, even?

Here are a few tips and exercises from nonfiction authors on how to find your writing voice—whatever your nonfiction genre, from copy writing to memoir to self-help, history and more.

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Author Gay Edelman

Gay Norton Edelman, the author of The Hungry Ghost: How I ditched 100 Pounds and Came Fully Alive, suggests starting with mental clarity:

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“I find my voice by meditating every morning until I feel as centered as I can. I often walk during this time as well. Then when I’m writing, I drop down into that place, feel that stillness and calm, and write from there. I find that place in my body and write from there. This takes practice and can’t be done perfectly, so I forgive myself when I struggle.”

 

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Copywriter Brenda Do

Brenda Do, a professional copywriter, points to the importance of using one’s natural voice in writing:

 

“The easiest way to find your voice is to be naturally, authentically, and unapologetically you. Don’t try to sound like someone else or what you think the other person wants to hear. If you’re quirky, wave your freak flag. If you’re formal, embrace it. Just be you. People don’t buy from companies. People buy from people. Write like you talk to friends because that’s when your voice really shines.”

 

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Author Brandy Walker

Brandy Walker is a writer and life coach who writes a newsletter sharing tips on finding a writing voice. Here she shares an exercise for finding your own writing voice:

 

– Who are you? Journal it out.
– Go through 5-10 pieces of your writing that you love. Why?
– Having trouble finding things you love about yourself? Be curious. What’s the resistance there?
– Imagine your friend comes to you. Funnily, your struggles are identical! Give her advice.
– Write something. Anything. Give a go.

 

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Digital marketing manager Dustin Christensen

Dustin Christensen, a digital marketing manager, suggests looking at the voices of some of your favorite authors:

 

“A great way to develop your voice is to focus on what you enjoy as a reader. Many times, writers can get clued into their voice preferences by recognizing the voices in their favorite books. This can help determine what voice elements, styles and factors writers finds appealing.”

 

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shawn donnelly book coverShawn Donnelly, co-author of Go Get That Scholarship!: A Guide to College Basketball Recruiting for High School Players, Parents and Sports Fans, and Travis Bliffen, an online marketer and founder of Stellar SEO, offer ways to find your natural writer’s voice by imagining you are speaking to a friend rather than an audience. Shawn suggests:

 

“The best way to find your true writer’s voice is to pretend you’re talking to a good friend. How would you describe this place or situation if you were emailing your best buddy? Take off your writer’s hat and just tell us what’s going on, in the simplest way you know how. Let the humor and wit come out organically.”

 

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Founder of Stellar SEO Travis Bliffen

Travis adds:

 

“As an online marketer, I write a lot! The one tip I was given when I first started was ‘write like you are talking with your best friend.’ That style of writing has landed me coverage on numerous industry leading sites and in front of key decision makers.”

 

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Content writer Jess Wilby

Jess Wilby, a content writer for Bring Digital, provides some tips for establishing a technical and professional writing voice:

 

“Develop your own personal style guide to ensure consistency throughout all of your work. Top publishing companies each have their own house style that dictates both punctuation and spelling. Ensure that your articles meet the same standard by sticking to your own formula.”

 

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Author Donna Hill

Donna W. Hill, a songwriter and author, suggests that one’s writer’s voice comes from careful research and editing before and after the actual writing process–no matter what genre:

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“In journalism, PR, or fiction, get the story, write it down, and start editing. Uncover the truth through thought and research. Editing, beyond a firm grasp of language and grammar, consists of developing a sensibility about how and when information is distributed for the purpose of preserving clarity and tension.”

 

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Lee Wagstaff, the Head of Content for Bring Digital, points to rewriting as the true key to developing one’s writing voice past that first draft:

 

“It’s not ideal for those working to tight deadlines, but the best way to perfect your style and tone of voice is to write something and then write it again. Ernest Hemingway suggested that the first draft of everything is bad (not the exact word he used) and I agree.”

 

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Brandon Peach, a writer and content strategist, and Jonny Taylor, a content writer for Bring Digital, suggest the beginning of one’s unique writing voice comes through the imitation of one’s favorite writers. Brandon notes:

 

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Writer and content strategist Brandon Peach

“The hands-down best way to find your voice as a writer is to imitate your favorite writers. Fake it till you make it, the same way history’s greatest writers have done. After writing a great deal you’ll find that, while your influences remain, your voice is your own.”

 

While Jonny adds:

 

“Don’t be afraid to imitate the voices of your favorite writers. If you read often, your tastes will change, but you’ll carry over certain nuances and syntactical tricks you picked up from your old favorites and blend them with your own. That’s the best way to find your voice naturally.”

 

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Interested in exploring more ideas about finding your writing voice? Read How to Find Your Writing Voice: Part I Tips for Bloggers. Have your own writing voice tips to share? Please comment below.

2 Responses to Find Your Writing Voice: Tips From and For Nonfiction Writers

  1. […] can also read our tips for how to find your writing voice for nonfiction or a writing voice for […]

  2. […] When I reread my first blog posts, I now see that I hadn’t yet found my voice or the topics I felt passionate about. My articles were an erratic collection of topics, and I’m sure search engine bots were the only ones crawling my site. Eventually, I started to find topics about which I felt passionate, and that helped me develop a writing style and an authentic voice. […]

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