Read through this exercise completely, then do the tasks (three in total; takes 25 to 30 minutes).
Write about something you really care about.
You need to forget your audience for this exercise.
Just write. Especially, “free write”. That is, write about anything for a set time period, usually around ten minutes without editing or correcting or stopping for anything! This writing or “free writing” must be written in your own voice. That is, write as you would speak to another person. If you are seeking your unique voice you need to do this exercise and forget who you are writing for, and most importantly don’t listen to your internal editor – for this task your internal editor is out of work!
After the ten minute drill try to imagine one of your characters. View them in your mind. Look over their features; hair, eyes, skin color, any specific marks or noticeable blemishes. Once you have your character fully visualized in your minds eye, let them open their mouths.
What do they have to say?
How do they say it?
Are they intelligent or stupid?
Are they well spoken or use broken English?
Imagine all these things before you attempt to write one word. After you have spent around five minutes doing this, let the character speak again and when you are confident you can hear what he (or she) has to say, clearly write down the words as he (or she) speaks.
From this exercise you should start to notice your unique voice. Your voice should sound somewhat like you speak in every day life.
Then there is your characters voice. He or she should be totally unique to your own writer’s voice. If not, you need to repeat the exercise above until you can release yourself enough to unrestrainedly write (speak) without fear.
Finding your writer’s voice is about breaking new ground.
Not being afraid.
Challenging your beliefs about a lot of things you thought were set in concrete. Some areas to challenge you are: religion, politics, morals, sex, ethics or education. Pick any of these areas and make your character argue the opposite point of view to your own point of view.
In this part of the exercise allow the character to win the argument against what you believe. This is when you really start to break through the fear barrier and learn about who you are and what you really want to say in your writing. Allow between five to ten minutes for this in “free write” style yet again.
After you have done this exercise you will definitely need to take a rest. If the exercise works correctly you will find yourself quite exhausted – exhilarated, but totally exhausted!
Leave the “free write” aside for a day, then come back to it and read it afresh.
Good luck with this exercise and if you have any epiphanies, please come back and post. I’d love to hear about your successes or failures; it matters not – so long as you write – you are showing me you care.
Keep up the good writing!
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