How to develop your writing voice in academic papers - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

How to develop your writing voice in academic papers

Writing voice is a difficult concept to define. But developing it is a significant aspect of becoming an effective academic writer. Voice is created by the tone, phrasing, and style. It is noticeably unique to the author. You probably can distinguish Mark Twain from Ernest Hemingway.

We can all agree that a distinctive, persuasive voice successfully engages the audience. Without it, there is the risk of having your assignment lost among hundreds of others despite all the time invested into researching the topic, following the given guidelines and even using additional academic help from EssayPro. Visibly, each style of writing has its own specific set of rules and requirements. With that in mind, one can easily notice that quite often nothing is said about impersonal, boring prose and what should be done with it.

Read a lot independently

It is very important to read broadly, deeply, and critically. Read something except the material you are assigned to read. Choose the passages both within your academic field and outside it. It can be fiction, nonfiction, biographies, blogs, essays, and magazine articles. A broad range of literature will give you an advanced vocabulary that establishes a suitable academic style.

Read like a writer. Analyze the writing styles of authors you like. What makes their writing so pervasive? What about the tone? What are the peculiarities of stylistic? How did the author arrange the argument? Think about how you could use it in your own work. Try to mimic the styles you like most.

Keep a journal.

Writing a lot will help you find your voice. What revolutionary advice! Seriously, you need practice. But it should be something except your usual writing assignments. It should be a place where you can feel free to experiment without a fear of failure. A journal is an ideal option. It gives you a possibility to free write.

Sit down, open your laptop or get a pen and a paper. You need no other things. This does not require notes, quotes, sources, or any other data. Write for 15 or 20 minutes without stopping to filter and censor. Just write. You will see your voice improve every day.

Be grammar-savvy.

Grammatical accuracy is a must for academic writing. Mistakes will weaken your final grade. Always proofread your papers. Consider the following aspects:

  • Make sure you write in the 3rd person. Avoid personal pronouns.
  • Use correct abbreviations and acronyms.
  • Remove the spelling mistakes.
  • The language should be formal. Avoid contractions, colloquialisms, slang, and jargons.
  • Avoid passive voice whenever possible.
  • Cut down on the excessive verbiage and keep it simple.
  • Pay attention to referencing style.
  • Format your paper properly.
  • Check your punctuation.

The way you say things (the words and phrases you use, the sentence structure you prefer, even the kind of punctuation that appears in your writing assignments) will soon become the labels of your authorial voice.

Show your personality

In academic writing, you reveal your opinion on a certain issue. This is where you show your voice. Your position and evidence may be based on the works of other scholars in the field, but the conclusion you have reached is your own.

Every student approaches a topic of the assigned paper from a different perspective. Everyone can make a valuable contribution to the debate. Show up your knowledge, values, and personal experience in your distinctive individual perspective. There is no scholar or expert whose answers are so perfect that the rest of us have nothing to add to the topic.

Put yourself in your audience’s shoes

The actual reader of your paper is your instructor or TA. They will read and grade your writing piece. Before writing, think about what are your educator’s expectations?

A common purpose of academic writing is to present a clear position and defend (support) it. Your instructor wants to see that you have a personal “voice” on the subject in question and use it effectively to build an academic argument.

Show confidence in your point of view. An uncertain whispering voice may never be heard by the reader.

Express your argument clearly. Comprehensible points create a strong essay where a writer’s voice is distinct.

Final thoughts

In academic writing, the authorial voice is not about emotion or personal experience. It is about being clear, concise and accurate. A student backs up what is being said with evidence, making a judgment and assessing the contribution of others. Practice will make your voice grow naturally. And the grades for your academic papers will confirm it!


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