Ghostwriters are the freelance writing world’s shape-shifters. You’re expected to write in the manner and style as the person hiring you. Do this for 8 hours straight and you’ll really be a ghost with your true self buried six-feet under.
When you want to shift gear and start writing your own stuff, you find yourself writing in a way that’s not you. The worst part of it all is that you’ll begin to hate the whole experience, because you know deep down in your soul that it’s a fake.
This experience isn’t restricted to ghostwriters alone. It can happen when you want to write in a particular style that you think, in your moments of entrepreneurial delusion, that it’ll make you get accepted. That’s what I lovingly call my ‘Forbesy (Forbes-worthy) phase’. I’ve been there. I know how it feels.
Writing in your own voice makes it easier for your thoughts and ideas to flow better. When you write in a voice that’s not yours, you’re expected to write within constraints. But in your own voice, there’s freedom. It makes the whole writing experience actually fun.
All it takes to retrieve your voice from the dusty haunted tomb are these 3 things:
- Be prepared to acknowledge the fact that you have a distinct way of speaking.
But we’re talking about writing here.
Yes, I know.
In case you’ve not noticed, the acts of speaking and writing have some things in common. Both are methods of communication. The expression of anyone of them is a reflection of your personality. They are unique to you.
Since you do more of speaking than you do of writing, then what you say is the most expressive part of the way you communicate. If you want to get your voice back then you need to re-create the way you speak in your writing. In short, be conversational.
- Let go of whatever is holding you from truly expressing yourself.
I’ve always wanted my articles to be great. I wanted them to Forbes-worthy. But instead of writing the way I would write, I focused on writing the way Forbes would want it.
Result? I struggled with my writing. Here’s a double whammy: the number of personal articles I turned out hit ground zero – I stopped writing. The only time I did write was to write for my clients and that was it.
What held me back was the little mafia who sat on my left shoulder threatening me to “Write this way or else….” It put a lot of pressure on me to the point that I stopped writing for myself. Completely.
I don’t know what may be holding you back. Perhaps it’s all the new styles or techniques that you learnt while ghosting for your clients, or maybe it’s because you’re a great fan of someone’s writing and you want to write just like them.
It’s not bad to learn new styles or techniques, or write in a similar style as your mentor, as if you’re wearing matching t-shirts and sneakers. It’s okay to learn. The problem is if what you learnt doesn’t improve upon what’s existing but instead destroys it or banishes it into oblivion. Then it’s time to run. Fast.
To get your voice back, you need to make your voice dominant. You can let the new stuff enhance and sharpen your voice, but not get rid of it.
- Indulge yourself in creating spontaneous content to put your thoughts out there.
This, for me is 2 words – Social Media.
While I was stuck in my Forbesy phase, there was one thing I did consistently – I was active on social media. Creating content on social media is easy. It’s just you telling the whole world what you’re up to, what you’ve observed or what you’re feeling at the moment. You comment on your friend’s posts. It’s easy. No pressure.
When I’d write on social media, I’d make really long posts in Facebook groups, write a long captions on Instagram, or a short, but meaningful, tweet on Twitter thinking, “Damn, this is so good and so easy. Why can’t I write articles like this?”
Believe it or not, the act of making posts on social media is the act of creating content. This is the same thing you do when you write articles – you’re creating content.
It wasn’t until I read about Tam Pham that I realized that I was being myself on social media and that I have to be myself when writing my articles.
Tam Pham created a lot of content consistently, because he loved writing. I enjoyed creating content on social media and it was easy for me.
After reading a couple of Tam’s articles I observed how natural and how conversational they were. He was telling things from his own window in his own way using his own voice and he enjoyed it.
I flowed naturally on social media and this gave me a glimpse of my own voice. As soon as I broke free from what was holding me from expressing myself and acknowledged I have a distinct way of speaking, I got my voice back.
It’s all part of a journey and those 3 are the stepping stones to resurrecting your voice.
Are you ready to get your voice back? Let me know in the comments.
Author: Vicky Law
Freelance writer and content marketer on a mission to kick ass, touch hearts and pick your target audience’s pockets with my writing.
Interested? Click here to hire me…before I’m fully booked.