Writing With More Than One Voice

I’ve been blogging for a couple of years now and have slowly settled into the style and pattern of blogging that you see here today. Most posts are several paragraphs, they reflect what I’m doing and reading, and they rarely are about topics that are contentious or highly popular. I write to share, I write to help cement my own ideas on a topic, and less often just to record something.

Of course, it’s how I do it that makes it me!

I’m comfortable with that style now, though I hope and plan that it will continue to evolve. But is that enough? How can you or I stretch our skills, learn to write differently (which isn’t the same as better!)?

I’ve had two opportunities over the past year to do some different writing. The first was that in 2009 I wrote the editorial for the PASS Connector. My goal there was to speak as me, yet speak on and about the organization. It was hard for a couple reasons. One was that I was used to writing as me, about me. Another was that I didn’t always have a deep view of everything that was happening within PASS. It was definitely more work, because I had to write using a different voice and that voice didn’t come naturally, though by the end of the year it was going faster.

More recently my friend Steve Jones has invited me to write a guest editorial for SSC once or twice a month. That’s yet a different audience, and Steve has built a solid pattern of interacting with the SSC audience that encourages reader response. It’s been a struggle to find a way to write something that will resonate with the audience, yet not just be a poor copy of Steve. Let me say that a different way – think of any local newscaster you watch. Now imagine stepping in to take their place. Same job, so how do you do it differently – as you – yet still just do the job of delivering the news?

I’m still in mid learning curve, not sure what the end looks like. Do I ultimately just write everything “as me” and quit worrying about it, or will I get better at adapting to writing with different voices?

This is one of those posts where I’m trying to cement my own ideas!

2 thoughts on “Writing With More Than One Voice

  1. I would say writing style should be adjusted to the intended target and the medium with which you are presenting the material. Blog Posts can be informal so some of the rules surrounding first, second, and third person can be relaxed as well as active / passive voice. I for one disagree that everything should be in active voice as it makes it more difficult to write and is sometimes harder to follow for the reader.

    For example

    Blog Posts – I normally write in 2nd or 3rd person depending on the topic
    Technical Documentation – always in 3rd person. Never use words such as “you, yours, his, hers, etc”.

    The biggest thing I took from college was communication skills and training. Everything else was ancillary.

    Like

  2. I would say writing style should be adjusted to the intended target and the medium with which you are presenting the material. Blog Posts can be informal so some of the rules surrounding first, second, and third person can be relaxed as well as active / passive voice. I for one disagree that everything should be in active voice as it makes it more difficult to write and is sometimes harder to follow for the reader.

    For example

    Blog Posts – I normally write in 2nd or 3rd person depending on the topic
    Technical Documentation – always in 3rd person. Never use words such as “you, yours, his, hers, etc”.

    The biggest thing I took from college was communication skills and training. Everything else was ancillary.

    Like

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