I don’t remember a whole lot about my childhood. Maybe I’ve repressed much of it, or maybe it’s just a case of bad memory. But in my pint-sized memory bank, I do recall spending hours and hours acting out countless storylines with my Star Wars action figures. Little did I know then that those characters—Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Chewbacca, and the one snowspeeder they all carpooled in to galaxies far, far away—would help me as a writer.
And in just two steps, the Star Wars Force can help you with your writing too. Here’s how.
“The first rule in writing is to be yourself.” I received that advice somewhere in my career, and it’s always stayed with me. Maybe because I’ve seen it to be true. The best writers always seem to know what makes them unique. They know their own strengths, weaknesses, propensities, competencies, etc., and you can see them leaning into these things in their writing.
In other words, they know the sound of their own writing voice.
If that’s a foreign concept—a writer’s voice—think about this. With your speaking voice, you have a unique sound that people have come to know and expect. It can be your high-pitched, nasally sound. It can be your slo-o-o-o-o-o-w, sou-u-u-thern-n-n dra-a-a-w-w-l. Or it can be the things you tend to talk about—your hot buttons or go-to subject matters.
A writing voice has that same unique sound. For example, if you were to close your eyes and listen to someone read a chapter by Mark Twain and then a chapter by Jack London, you’d most likely hear a significant difference in the two styles. That’s their writing voice you’re hearing.
And the only way to find your own writing voice is by knowing yourself better.
Over the years, I’ve done several things to try and discover myself—read books, took tests, received therapy, etc.—and one of the most helpful was the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®. In short, it’s an assessment that measures how you perceive the world and make decisions in it.
After taking the survey for myself, I discovered that I’m an ESTP—an acronym for the words Extraversion :: Sensing :: Thinking :: Perceiving. Characteristics within this personality type include outgoing, realistic, action-oriented, curious, versatile, and spontaneous. We tend to be very pragmatic in our problem solving and skillful in our negotiations. Or as 16 Personalities puts it, ESTPs are “smart, energetic and very perceptive people, who truly enjoy living on the edge,” and I concur.
So how about you? How well do you know yourself? How well do you know the sound of your writing voice?
If you don’t know much, I suggest you start by visiting 16Personalities.com and taking the test. Then take some time to review the free results or pay for a premium profile. You may discover several new things about yourself that can enhance your writing style.
Once you’ve found your true self, only then can you begin to use your writing voice for good or evil. Only then can you know the power of the force.
For fun, plot your newfound personality type on the Star Wars Personality Chart below—courtesy of GeekInHeels.com. Which one are you?
May the force—and your voice—be with you.