While helping out at the Middle School today, I heard a teacher tell the students that the secret to writing is to talk on the page. To write your story the way you'd tell it to someone. This teacher didn't go into any more details than that, but what she was really talking about is Voice.
Voice is one of a successful writer's most important skills. It is what sets him or her apart from other authors. It's part of what keeps their readers coming back for more. It's the YOU in your writing. (Remember the theme of this blog? Your Value is in your individuality?)
But how do we develop a "voice?" I have two suggestions:
First, write A LOT. A LOT. Writing A LOT, such as on this and my other blogs, has forced me to put a bit of myself and my personality into my writing, because, as the aforementioned teacher said, I'm not just writing, I'm "talking" to you. Writing A LOT has brought another benefit, too: it's freed my sometimes debilitating, inner critic. How? Because when I write A LOT, I simply don't have time to sit and think about every word or sentence. Not during the first draft, anyway. Not when each day I have high writing goals to meet.
Second, tell a story to someone. Even to yourself, if you're too shy. And tell it like you really want to entertain them (or yourself). Doing this will bring out your natural pauses, the words you use, the effects you implement to convey your meanings. One of the storytelling opportunities that helped me "see" my voice was when I looked back on my babysitting years and remembered how I used to tell the kids a bedtime story about Jack and the Beanstalk. Not an unfamiliar story, but they loved it because of the way I told it. That was key to me. Knowing and recognizing what they loved about my storytelling.
So that's my two cents, er, two suggestions. Hope it helps. And if you have anything else to add, don't be shy. Leave a comment.