Dr. Bessie would probably agree that in the beginning find one’s scholarly voice is often anxiety-provoking and confusing.
It is like you must erase everything you have learned about writing and start from scratch. The anxiety that an author feels is natural when they are first asked to find their voice.
Developing a scholarly style requires you to find what works for you and dig in. Scholarly writing is composed of research and synthesis.
It includes perspectives of earlier research. You have an audience in mind and you seek to solve as well as find answers to worldly issues. Finding your scholarly voice is definitely not an easy task.
A Missing Piece
After years of training some scholars still feel that they have not found their scholarly voice.
It is like finding a missing piece of a puzzle and the puzzle doesn’t fit together correctly without that one piece. Finding one’s scholarly voice is about visualizing and communicating your problem on paper in a proper manner.
I want to share some tips that helped me along my path to unearthing my scholarly voice. I hope you find them as helpful as Dr. Bessie and I did. You can find your scholarly voice too. I have faith in you.
The first tip is free and reflective writing. It is a great way to discover your scholarly voice. You will need to sit down with a blank piece of paper or word document on your computer screen.
Set a timer and write for 10 to 15 minutes without stopping. Write anything that comes to mind. No backspacing, erasing, or reorganizing. I found this to be a good exercise to get you started or when you are stuck and can’t seem to write anything. It gets your creative juices flowing.
Read Before Writing
The second tip is to read, read, and read. Always read before you transcribe. Tear apart what you’re reading like an mechanic takes apart an engine to know what is wrong or how it works.
Always remember there is something to be learned from everything you read. If you read a lot, you will soon find your own scholarly voice.
The third tip is to write every day. Even if you only can write 10 minutes a day, write something. Never get out of the practice of writing. A scholarly voice develops through continuous practice through writing.
The more you write, the more you will hone your scholarly skills. The more you review, revise and edit, the more you will see your own scholarly style emerge on the blank page.
Feedback: It’s Not Personal
The fourth tip is to share, and share your rough drafts. Be open to constructive feedback and never take feedback personally.
If you think your writing comes across in a scholarly way, but no one agrees, you need to listen to them. Feedback is a great way to sharpen your writing skills, improve your writing, and help you find your true scholarly voice.
Trust the Process
The last tip is to always trust your instinct. You must trust yourself to know when your writing is good as well as when it needs work.
If you write daily, you will start to develop a sense of how you write about your subject, get more comfortable with writing, and develop your scholarly voice. After all, you are the only one who knows how to write like you.
When you finally find your scholarly voice, and you will, you will know it.
Words are a lens to focus one’s mind.