How I Know I’m Writing In Authentic Voice

I facilitated a great salon-style writing workshop in Tucson Thursday night, “Writing Well-Sung: Your Authentic Voice”. It pertained to lyrical-musical writing, and reaching so deep into the mind and soul to find the universal truths behind our experiences that, when we write them out, our voice carries the page and the reader can “hear” the words hitting them in the heart. Any writer who does that has won the reader!

Very wonderful cast of characters at the workshop: Barbara Stahura, the hostess and my long-time friend, a fine essayist and former public radio station writer whose book, “What I Thought I Knew,” is being published by Aisling Press in May; dear friend Stephen Gladish, professor at Pima College and author of two novels, “Moonlight, Missiles & Moana” and “Mustang Fever” (Aisling Press); Carol Krone, a historian working on a piece about the Manhattan Project; Valarie James, a fine Southern Arizona sculptress who was featured in the newest issue of “Sculpture Today” magazine (see her website at; Barbara MacNicol, a self-help and business book editor and writer; and Sally, a high school creative writing teacher.

We wrote and talked for three hours about voice and how to use it in fiction and non-fiction works. I could even teach a workshop about it! Towards the end, I jotted down a list of ways in which you KNOW your writing is true to your voice, true to your essential self, and therefore is likely to connect big-time with the reader. Thought I’d share them right now—see if this happens to you:

1) I feel my body literally pulsate and vibrate with the power and truth of the words pouring through.
2) My word choices and sentence structure seem effortless, flawless and completely relevant to the subject, like a piece of music that hits home perfectly.
3) Time stands still. Hours on the clock pass without notice. The movement of time feels inconsequential.
4) All similes and metaphors feel natural and connect with the theme and plot, regardless of how disparate they might seem at first.
5) Every word that comes out feels true, essential, vital — life-giving, triggering mind and heart.
6) I feel the satisfaction of knowing it came out right.
7) I can HEAR and FEEL the words as they move through me, not just visualize them.
8) I am confident the theme, or message, will resonate with readers by the way it has made an impact on me.

Put your essays, poems, lyrics, stories, articles, novels or books to this list. See what you think — and let me know! Email me direct at or post through here.

Off to another workshop today — “Writes of Life,” based on my book. Talk with you tomorrow!


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Filed under Books, Editing, Journalism, literature, poetry, Writing

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