At the WVU Writing Center, our tutors have adorned the ceiling with various paper snowflakes in spirit of the winter season. Each snowflake, like real snowflakes, has their own unique features and qualities that make it special in its own way. The concept of individuality displayed in the creation of snowflakes is similar to individual expression created by a writer's voice in their work. Like the saying that no two snowflakes are alike, every writer has their own, specific voice.
To establish a voice in writing, writers make decisions that have an effect on their reader. This is sometimes evoked in one's conveyed tone or mood with the presence of original thoughts or personal emotions. It can also be fostered through the writer's style. The reader can learn a lot about an author's personality through identifying voice, the unique quality of a piece.
In terms of appropriateness, authors have to modify their voice at times to fit certain writing styles. For example, when sending an e-mail to a friend, I may use different language or sentence structures than when writing to my professor. My voice does not completely change; I am still writing, though in a different role that I possess in my everyday life.
Finding your writing voice may be difficult at first, but it is important to stay true to who you are. Writers should not try to mimic someone else's voice because this will take a way from the genuine aspect of a piece, sometimes sounding forced or awkward. When you are able to write comfortably and enjoy your work, you can take pleasure in the process and express yourself with ease. In time, your voice will emerge from the words, just as every special snowflake falls from a cloud.