In writing, tone and voice go hand in hand. With tone, I was able to offer a straightforward explanation. But voice is a different matter. Put simply, if tone is your writing attitude, then voice is your writing personality. It's you being yourself on the page rather than trying to write like your favorite authors, although their influence will, no doubt, be present.

If that's it, voice should be easy, right? In theory perhaps, but why do so many new writers have trouble “finding their voice”? That depends on each writer and what he/she is trying to accomplish. Perhaps you are trying to imitate your favorite bloggers because their style has made them so successful, or maybe you're attempting to write like one of your genre's best-selling authors because “that's what publishers want.” Or it could be that you just need more experience. As I said, everyone has their reasons for struggling.

Finding Your Writer's Voice

Ultimately, like any other aspect of writing, you find and perfect your voice by sitting down and stringing words together into a story, poem, blog post, or article. Your writer's voice will start to surface when you ignore your inner critic and let the words flow.

1. Trust Your Writing Instincts

Are you willing to tackle a theme you're passionate about? Would you take risks in a story when your creative instincts are leading you in that direction? I've struggled with this too. Is it too strange? Too bold? Reaching beyond your comfort zone and taking risks will help your writer's voice.

2. Remember the Rules of Good Writing

Just because you are developing your writer's voice does not mean you can forget the rules of good writing. Sure, you may be able to bend and even break a few here and there, but ultimately they still apply. The more comfortable you are with the rules of good writing, the more your voice will shine within their boundaries.

3. Do Not Compare Your Voice to Others

It's tempting, especially since writers inevitably are readers as well. So whether it's your favorite author or one of your writing buddies, do not compare voices. They will be different, and remember that those you emulate also had to work to find their voices too.

4. Let Envy Work for You Rather Than against You

While too much envy can hurt you, let your jealousy inspire you instead. Let your desire for the same success others are experiencing drive you to work harder toward finding your voice and achieving your own writing goals.

Ultimately, it's about writing and putting yourself into it. Yes, you'll feel vulnerable, but if you see your voice as a stilted imitation of another, no doubt your audience will too. Write from the heart.