14 Prompts

Practice Writing Prompts that Inspire

Four to Five Ways to Find Your Voice

I asked Ted Dekker how long it takes for an author to find their voice.

“It takes four to five nov­els,” he said. So if the aver­age novel is about 80,000 words, then you have to write 320,000 to 400,000 words before you find your voice.

That’s about 1,000 blog posts.

Or 400 news­pa­per columns.

Or 80 short stories.

And how many have you written?

At first, you have to lis­ten to the feed­back. People tell you what they like and what they hate, and you incor­po­rate their feed­back into your style.

When you have found your voice, though, you don’t lis­ten to the feed­back much. You don’t need to. You know who you are and what you’re doing.

Until then, you write.

You lis­ten.

You ask for feed­back and you learn to take it graciously.

A com­mu­nity is start­ing to develop here around peo­ple try­ing to find their voice. On Monday, two writ­ers who had never met gave each other feed­back about their writ­ing. In a small way, they helped each other find their voice.

How cool is that?

My dream for this blog is that it would be the online meet­ing place of a com­mu­nity of writ­ers who want to help each other.

This implies an offline com­mu­nity as well, and that’s why on the first Tuesday of every month we have a Writing Feast just north of Atlanta.

We’re here to chal­lenge each other to find our voices. I hope, online or off, you’ll join us.

Let’s twist things up today. You and sev­eral inter­est­ing friends show up to the Writing Feast expect­ing a great time. Everything is going well, until…

Mr. Dekker is found mur­dered in the draw­ing room.

Everyone is locked into the lounge while a detec­tive col­lects evi­dence. As you look around the room, describe your sus­pi­cions about who­dunit.

You have fif­teen min­utes. Share your prac­tice in the com­ments sec­tion for feedback.

About Joe Bunting

Joe is a ghostwriter, editor, and an aspiring fiction author. He writes and edits books that change lives. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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