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Switching Writing Voices: 3 Tips
Anne Janzer -- Membership Expert Anne Janzer -- Membership Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: San Luis Obispo, CA
Tuesday, November 14, 2023

red and green sticky notes as speech bubbles

Have you ever breezed through composing a message for a friend, only to hit a wall writing an email for your manager? Maybe a “corporate” tone creeps into your creative writing after a long day working.

You’re not alone. Many of us juggle multiple writing roles, each with distinct voices. This is a trial for multi-dimensional writers—the marketer who writes mysteries, or the programmer who pens poetry. 

Wouldn’t it be great if you could switch writing voices for the purpose as easily as changing jackets for the weather? You can—with practice and a few simple tactics.

Create a cheat sheet

Audiobook narrators often keep careful notes about each character they encounter when recording fiction. They may even record samples to create consistent voices for characters throughout a book or series.

You can adopt this strategy in your writing.

For each “voice” you regularly project, make a quick reminder sheet.

  • Curate samples: Identify a passage that best represents the voice and read it before drafting or revising.
  • Characterize it: Identify three adjectives that describe the target voice, and review them before writing.

(The second point is part of the Three Adjective exercise in The Writer’s Voice.)

Refer to your cheat sheet when switching voices. This simple trick can do wonders.

Tailor your writing environments

Our external environments shape our internal moods, so switch them up.

  • Relocate: Inhabit different spaces for personal writing. Move the laptop onto the living room couch or camp out at a cafe to get away from your usual workplace when seeking a different tone.
  • Create soundtracks: Use music to set the right mood for the piece. For example, listen to a suspenseful movie soundtrack for the thriller you’re writing and orderly Bach for your professional writing.

Focus on the reader

Adopt a servant authorship mindset. Instead of focusing on your voice, consider the reader and what they need. If you have a photo of an ideal reader, keep it handy to refer to.

Putting yourself in that reader’s perspective will spark your empathetic tendencies, and might help you adjust your writing voice.

Question the differences

Does the switch between professional and personal feel jarring? Maybe that’s a sign that you’re stuck in a rut at work.

Your writing can be professional without being ponderous. For example, if you write stories for fun, put those skills to work in your workplace writing (with the right subjects, of course.)

These tactics should help you adapt your writing voice. With a little practice, this shift can become intuitive and easy—and perhaps fun.

Do you have any other suggestions or stories to share about writing versatility? Drop them in the comments, so we can learn from each other.

Explore this topic

Read the results of the Writing Voice Survey.

Find more ideas for switching voice in The Writer’s Voice.

Cuesta Park Consulting & Publishing publishes books and online courses for writers and marketing professionals. Books are available in print, ebook, and audiobook formats from a wide range of retailers. For more information, visit AnneJanzer.com.

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Name: Anne Janzer
Group: Cuesta Park Consulting
Dateline: San Luis Obispo, CA United States
Direct Phone: 4155176592
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