The Writer’s Voice Vs. The Writer’s Platform Dynamic: Part 1

by @thewritermama on November 3, 2011 · 7 comments

Is there a difference between a writer’s voice and a writer’s platform dynamic?

Yes, there is a difference.

There is often a difference between a writer’s voice and his or her platform dynamic because writers are so much more than our voices these days.

We are a dynamic force of leadership, entrepreneurship, and technological innovation as well as fitting the old fashioned description: writer, or a person who writes.

But don’t dismiss the seemingly old-fashioned job description, because writers write, first and foremost, and everything else, including voice and platform dynamic, emerge from the writing that we do.

You may not have heard the term “platform dynamic” before, because I coined it. And I’m going to keep talking about it until everybody thoroughly understands it. But I doubt we are going to get there in one blog post because it’s a complex topic. And one that is thoroughly covered and put into context in my forthcoming book, The Writer’s Workout.

And, I guess once again this is going to take a few posts to cover thoroughly, so I’ll break it down into three posts. Here we go!

What is a writer’s voice?

To quote John Schultz, the creator of The Story Workshop Method at Columbia College Chicago from his book, Writing From Start To Finish:

Voice is the articulation of all perceptions in verbal expression, written and oral, including the so-called nonverbal which we want to get into writing too. Voice is the expression of the whole person, an extension of speech, an extension of the body.

I agree with Shultz about this definition of voice. He was one of my professors in grad school and I have a lot of respect for him.

However, the way I conceive of the writer’s voice is a not only as an expression of the whole writer, but also as related to the particular context in which the writer’s voice is heard.

Therefore, I have two definitions of voice. One is the writer’s voice, which is holistic yet evolving with the writer, as the writer changes and grows.

And the other definition of voice reflects the ways that a writer consciously changes her voice in response to the context in which the writer’s voice appears.

According to this definition, I have a voice across mediums that most could recognize. But let’s not be too quick to pronounce me monotonous: my voice also has a mercurial aspect to it.

For example my voice in my blog vs in my books is not quite the same. Have you ever noticed? (Me neither, my readers had to point it out to me.) It’s the same speaker (me) but my tone in my books has a more patient, kind, and helpful tone. That’s what readers like. And ditto in my curriculum writing.

But in my blog my voice has more urgency. More calls to action. More “wake-up-and-smell-the-coffee, writers” tone to it.

That’s because this is a different context than a book, therefore my voice shifts into what we could call blogger voice.

Perhaps the shift is imperceptible to some, but it’s quite obvious to others. And people are responding to both in different ways. In my books and classes, folks are using my work as tools to focus on their own work. They don’t want to focus on me, and I don’t want them to focus on me.

But in my blog, as you may have noticed, I would like a little more of the reader’s attention. And the shift is subtle but it works for me.

What do you think? Do YOU have a voice that is characteristic of your body of work overall? What about in various media? Do you also have an “online voice” that is slightly different? Is this different than your speaker voice? If so, in what way or ways?

This is an interesting topic. I think we should discuss it because I have even noticed that I even change my voice slightly as I switch social media tools. It’s also different in my blog and my e-zine. How about you?

Come back tomorrow and we’ll talk about the definition of a writer’s dynamic.

Then, on Monday, we will do some comparing and contrasting of the voice and dynamic, in case the differences are not utterly clear.

Hope to see you then!

~ Photo by sean dreilinger

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