Developing a literary voice through essay writing!

Devika K By Devika K, 11th Jun 2018 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Essays

A writer's voice plays an important role in a writer's career. Read further to equip yourself with the much needed skills to develop one and become a writer like no other !

Understanding your literary voice

I remember the first time I had written an essay and showed it to my English teacher at school, who was by far one of the strictest teacher and believed “English is a language you can never attain perfection”. Naturally, I was nervous to show her my work and was almost certain to get criticism on my work. I was waiting in anticipation, by the minute and could feel my forehead dripping in sweat and my heart throb in my chest. After reading the entire essay, she slightly raised her head to look at me between her glasses and eyebrows, and remarked “impressive’ but work on your voice, because it can never be taught”.
I was astound, what on earth is a voice? When I am writing?
I spent several years writing trying to understand and dissect what she meant and I think after a decade of writing I still call myself, a “work in progress”. I intend to use this opportunity, to discuss what I understand by literary voice after years of soul searching, how does essay writing facilitate in developing one, the need for originality in thinking, the crucial role played by the education system and why in today’s times it has become more important than ever, to develop literary voice.

A correlation between universal truth and literary voice

Every person is unique. Talking in nature’s terms, each one of us, think, understand, analyse, express etc... differently. In such a situation, it would be only logic to state that each one of us also have unique literary voices. Literary voice is the expression of what you understand on paper. How I perceive an orange is not how you may perceive it. I may describe the taste and you will describe the colour of the fruit. This is the individual expression of ideas on paper.
Now, essay writing plays a crucial role in developing a literary voice along with developing style, tone, simile, personification and so on. It allows oneself, to explore and discover the literary voice. There aren’t set parameters to establish and define boundaries of literary voice, it is intended to naturally come along, during the play of words whilst, writing essay. Therefore, it becomes imperative to constantly ask yourself, every time you write a piece of work, “Is this what I intended to convey?” Trying to express ‘yourself’ on paper seems like a daunting task to many, but there is no easy way to attain a literary voice and constant perseverance in writing is the solution. Reality is that there are no shortcuts to develop a literary voice. If you want to find one, then stop looking over the internet “how to develop my literary voice?” and start writing.

Writing alone can help develop literary voice

Writing is the eternal solution to develop a literary voice. The ability to bring your thoughts; ideas; express yourself, passions; experiences is what helps create your voice. The need to bring pen to paper is the first step to this process. Now, how are we to go about this? To a large extent it happens by itself, stories come from the subconscious. We need to be attentive towards our thought processes. If you are capable of doing this, then writers block will become a myth. There is great power in essay writing.
You would recognize the difference between Tolkien and Hemingwat, wouldn’t you? It’s the way they write; their voice, in writing is as natural as everyone’s speaking voice. Your voice should be authentic, even if you borrow the sense of style from someone else.
Essay writing is capable of carving out a beautiful sculpture out of a stone. It harnesses your thoughts and helps towards expression of voice. It is capable of making you more confident and vocal whilst even having conversations. When you find your unique voice, you might not even be able to explain how it came about – let alone describe what it is.
Sometimes the best things happen naturally. By voice it means unique way of putting words together, but a unique sensibility, a distinct way of looking at things, at the world. An outlook that enriches an author’s oeuvre. Readers want to read an author like no other.
An original. A standout. A voice

Importance of developing original thought process

Next, I voraciously argue, that developing an original thought process is crucial in developing literary voice. This will enable you to express yourself easily on paper. In the recent times, I have observed the decline in original thinking amongst youngsters. Why is this happening? I blame the cut-throat competition for this. Competition kills originality in thinking, because the focus is no longer on innovating but on winning. We stop thinking of newer ways to do something, innovate, explore in the field of unexplored, instead tend to follow an established pattern that may have proved successful for one person, over and over again, but not necessarily prove to be useful again.
Education in schools contribute toward this competition, and the focus on being unique is stifled out from a young age. Schools aim to develop large-scale clones without realising that every child is unique and capable of doing things differently from one another. The focus is on developing uniformity amongst children, as a consequence originality dies. We need to tackle this issue right from primary education, where schools realise the uniqueness of every child and develop a curriculum for essay writing, so that they are free to express themselves without external influences.

Setting the perspective right

In today’s fast paced world, there is an imminent need to develop a literary voice now, more than ever. Why?
Because in my view, times are changing causing us to be in a state of constant imbalance, may it be, the political parties asserting their views on people; or societal pressures being imposed; zero-tolerance towards domestic violence, ensuring your work space is free of exploitation etc.
Immense possibilities lie in your decision to speak up to make a change. We often hear stories about shape-shifters who have triggered a social change through their actionable opinions.
From planting trees in your locality to opting for clean energy sources, an idea worth the action can trigger a colossal social development. About your city’s malfunctioning electricity board or rising costs of school education, life is full of untold stories.
It’s time to set the perspective right, by using the avenue of writing and using your literary voice to tell your story, you are contributing to change.
I am often confronted with a lackadaisical question, “why, me?” My answer is, because this is your world, just as much as it belongs to another. We are often prevented and our voices stifled out, even if we live in a democracy, because we are afraid, it may sound “politically incorrect”. But, in fact, it takes tremendous courage to express what you have gone through and I assure you this courage is born, when you discover your literary voice.
In conclusion, I urge upon every reader, to develop and use your literary voice, to bring about a change you want to see for the betterment of society, your country and humanity at large.


Essay Planning, Essay Writing, Literary, Literary Essays, Literary Reviews, Writing Articles, Writing For A Living, Writing Skills

Meet the author

author avatar Devika K
A care-free freelance journalist who doesn't like to be tied down.I would rather do nothing and be happy than do something I don't love.

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