When you’re writing a book, you want it to have a great voice. Meaning, to sound like you. It would be kind of weird if you didn’t.

But, this often creates an internal pressure to perform.

Then, a sneaky kind of performance anxiety starts to develop. (And you don’t want to talk about it.)

Next thing you know – you’ve got writer’s block, a fear or paralysis when you sit down to write.

Or, the “voice” that comes out of you starts sounding like a very correct version of yourself. Like you are giving a speech at a high tea where the ladies are in long-gloves and the gentlemen are in coat-tails.

You sound formal, professional, high-minded – and not at all like the engaging person that people know and love.

Readers want the real you. They want to hear the person they know from conversations, or even from your blog posts, Instagram feeds, or wherever else you connect with people.

Believe me, I know allllll about this.

When I want to “do a good job,” my writing can become very stiff.

Which is a killer for keeping my readers happy and engaged. They don’t want to feel uptight. And the truth is, as a writer, neither do I.

So – what to do?

Here are a few things you can do if that internal pressure to “be a good author” is suffocating your true voice.

1. Switch to voice memos.

Your phone likely has a voice memo app. Every time you get a great idea or hear a great story, record it on the app. Letting go of writing for a moment can give your creativity a chance to breathe. (Be sure to label your file – and transcribe it later!)

2. Revisit those places where your writing feels comfortable and easy – to you.

Maybe it’s your blog, or your journal, or a letter to a friend. What allowed your voice to sing? How can you make that happen again?

3. Notice when you start feeling uptight in your writing.

Then, take a break. Walk around, get something to drink, sing out- loud to a favorite song. Do something to change the channel.

4. Remind yourself that you don’t have to sound authoritative to be authoritative.

Do 10 minutes of free writing to loosen up. Then, get back to work.

GOOD LUCK – and let me know how it’s going.