Borrowing your writing voice

from Annette 

Way back when, in college, I took just about every writing course available.  We’re talking poetry, public relations writing, journalism, advertising copywriting and of course fiction writing.  In every beginner course I remember hearing the same thing…if you don’t have a writing style/voice, find one you like and borrow it.

The theory is that as you try to emulate a style your writing style and craft will improve.  As your craft improves your own voice and style will come through.  The key to writing well, as with most things, is to practice.  Borrowing a voice and writing style makes it easier to practice writing. It gives you a goal and a structure to work with.

Finding a voice to borrow.

This part is actually easy.  As you read articles, books, reports, blog posts and so on you’ll be drawn to certain authors and their writing style.  Save those files.  You can even print them out and keep what’s called a swipe file.  I recommend keeping your files catagorized and separated so the sales letters don’t get mixed up with articles, reports and so on.

Using your swipe file.

Plagiarism is not acceptable and please know that’s not what I’m talking about here.  I’m talking about emulating a writing style.  Analyze the content you like and want to emulate.  How is it structured?  Is it formal or informal?  Does the writer use a lot of descriptive language?  Short sentences?  Personal anecdotes? Do they write in first person?

Borrowing a writing style is a great first step to becoming the writer you want to be.  Emulate, practice, practice, practice.

Happy writing.

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