Last week I talked about being honest to your readers. Today I want to mention another side of that...being true to your voice.
I read a book this past week that drove me crazy. I finally had to put it down and not finish it - it was actually so boring and contrived that it was a waste of time. When you are going to bother putting so much time and effort into writing, wouldn't you want to do your best? It felt like the author was trying too hard. Wanting to come across as cutesie and funny, but it wasn't happening.
Have you tried to write something that just doesn't come naturally to you? It's a strain to make the words work and things sound right? Sometimes that's a good thing, we all need to stretch our abilities. I'm not talking about changing genre, but actually how you write.
All of us have a way of writing that is called voice. A feeling of 'oh, that's so funny!' or man, 'that made my hair stand on end.' When it comes across a certain way, the reader comes to expect that type of writing, or that type of story when they pick up your book. If you don't write in the same way and the reader doesn't like it, they'll be reluctant to pick up something by you again. They want to know they can trust the name -- your name.
What is it that flows from your fingers? Is it humor or romance? Suspense, mystery, Gothic romance? Whatever it is that seems to flow as you write, that is where your voice comes through. You need to find that spot and nurture it. This is the true writer in you. That is where the stories are going to come from, and what people are going to want to read.
The real voice inside of you. Find it. Feed it. Share it.