This worry pops up a lot in the messages I get from readers and students, so I decided to create a series of posts that shares some of the techniques and tools I personally use to get clients feeling confident about their copy.
Over the next three weeks, you'll start to define your "Voice": not just what you say, but how you say it. We start here because having a clear sense of style can boost your writing confidence, and prevent self-doubting thoughts that can cripple your creativity.
Week 1: I give you prompts to help you write unabashedly about your work, so that we have something to assess in Week 2.
Week 2: I show you how to assess what you wrote and pick out 3 qualities that define your voice and style.
Week 3: I show you how to create a quick-reference tool for yourself that makes it easier to stick to your voice no matter what you're writing.
Voice-Finding Exercise 1: Let It Out
The first step in this process is to get what's in your head on to the page so we have something concrete to assess in Week 2.
This exercise requires a buddy. Get a friend / colleague who's a great listener to interview you using the questions below. Answer the questions as if you were being interviewed for a podcast or magazine. Record the conversation. (If you have an iPhone, you can use the Voice Memos app.)
Afterwards, transcribe your answers. You can either transcribe them by hand (tedious, but educational), OR you can send your recording to a transcription service like Rev.com. (It costs $1/min, so if your interview is 10-20 minutes long it might be worth it!)
You can answer these questions directly in writing, but there's something magic about how you describe your work live to another human being. Not every word or phrase will be something you want to publish, but the spontaneous nature of the interview might reveal something you haven't yet uncovered in your writing.
Hold on to your transcript for next week, when we'll assess it for your distinct Voice qualities!
"What do you do?" Questions:
- What inspires people to seek you out?
- What problems / challenges do you attend to?
- How do clients' lives improve after working with you? (What do they feel / think / do / understand differently?)
- What do clients thank you for?
- Why would people choose to work with you vs. another healer?
"Who do you serve?" Questions:
- Who were you born to serve?
- What kind of folks do really well working with you?
"Why do you do this kind of work?" Questions:
- What do you stand for?
- What do you want your legacy (as a healer) to be?
- Why do you choose this work?