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How to Write Authentically

by Lisa Morgan (follow)
A writer who also reads waaaay too much.
Writing (22)      For Authors (10)     
A 1833 handwritten diary courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


Writing authentically is a lot more than just writing accurately, for example, getting all the historical details right in a novel based in 19th century Victorian England. It is about finding your own authentic voice as a writer. There are several ways you can go about doing this.

Be an authentic person
What are your beliefs and values? Where do your boundaries lie and how do you reinforce them? Spend time on self reflection and discovery to figure out who you are, and then ask yourself this. Do you spend your life being you? If you do, then you are well on your way to being authentic.

Write like you talk
Pretend you are talking in your head, or to a close friend. When we write and describe a story as if we are telling someone about it, our authentic voice tends to shine through. There is a tendency for writers to engage in overly descriptive, or flowery prose to sound more like a real writer, only to come off appearing pretentious. Avoid that trap at all cost, and write as you would speak when telling someone a story. After all, storytelling traditionally was passed down through generations via spoken language.

Write from experience
You donít necessarily have to write about things that have happened to you, to write from experience. It is possible to take how you felt about a situation you experienced and insert these feelings into a story that has nothing to do with the situation you experienced. This also works the other way around - you can use your real-life situations to inspire ideas for similar situations in your work.

Insert yourself into a character
Usually it is the main character an author can insert themselves into and pretend they are the character. This helps authors write more authentically as this enables them to close their eyes and enter a fantasy world pretending they are their character. It is similar to writing from experience - only this time you will be writing from your imagined fantasies.

Ignore writing conventions
I was reminded of this recently when editing a book for a friend. Ignoring typical conventions for grammar or writing allows writers to create something new and interesting, and often unique to them - their authentic voice. I realised this over the course of reading and editing for my friend - that what I was reading sounded so typical for him, and was one hundred percent him. What a way to get to know someone!


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