Hey Roni! Love your sites! I have been a been a fan of Roni”s Weigh for a long time. I debated about whether to post this on RW or here, but decided to post here, since it is a blog-related.
After being a blog lurker for a long time, I have decided to start my own blog. In fact, I have set it up already on Word Press, but haven’t made it public yet. I am surprised to find myself hesitant to put it "out there." I definitely have things to say, have technical prowess and am a competent writer, so this is silly, I know.
Do you have any advice about finding your blogging voice, kicking off your blog and not being intimidated by all the other voices in the "blogosphere"?
Hi Susan! What a great question! Blogging voice is a term I hear and use a lot as it’s really the only way to describe your unique point of view and writing style as a blogger.
I’ve gotten many comments from people who have met me after reading my blog that say "You talk just like you write." People that know me say they can "hear" me in my writing.
I guess you can say I have a strong "voice."
Funny thing, I always hated writing. HATED IT. I talk a little bit about the reasons why in this post on Roni’s Weigh. Once I started blogging that started to change. I discovered that I didn’t need to be formal or perfect. That I could express my thoughts, opinions and feelings the way I would if I was chatting to a friend. That, in essence, became my voice.
It happened somewhat organically. I didn’t start the blog with a clear definition of voice but as my sites grew, I realized it was an important aspect of my writing.
Now that blogging is a bit more defined and popular I see people, like yourself, making more calculated decisions about their blogs from the very beginning. This can be a good (clearly defined mission) yet a bad (too ‘scripted’) thing.
Here’s what I would suggest…
- Write a Voice Statement
Darren Rowse did a similar activity earlier this year called Write an Elevator Pitch for Your Blog. Whether you call it pitch or a "Voice Statement" doesn’t really matter. Clarifying who you are and what the mission of the your blog is, is an important step.
For me and my blogs I’d say…
I am approachable, inquisitive, funny (at least and try) and somewhat fallible. I don’t pretend to know everything and my goal is to inspire others by sharing my experiences, not by being an expert.
Clear, concise and descriptive.
Try your hand at writing you voice statement. You never know it could be the start of your about page.
- Don’t Force Anything
I remember being told as a child that lying is a lot of work. You have to remember what you lied about and to whom. It’s just much easier to tell the truth. Well the same is true for your blogging voice.
Uncovering your natural voice is much easer then faking one. Would you rather be completely free on your blog or have to work at creating a persona you now have "keep up."
Don’t get me wrong, creative writing from a character perspective could be fun but if you plan on blogging long term you better be prepared to keep perpetrating that lie.
To me that sounds daunting. I’d rather not force anything and let my natural voice come through.
- Follow Your Passion
Writing about what is important to you is another way to clarify your voice. I’m not really into politics, sure I have opinions, but it’s not in my nature to start a political conversation on my blog because I’m not passionate about it.
Don’t choose your blog topics because you think they are popular and/or will get you hits. Write about what’s important to you in your voice passionately and like minded people will find you.
- Focus on Why YOU Blog
You mention not being intimidated by "all the other voices in the blogosphere" and I totally get it. There are many times I feel like a small fish in a VERY big pond.
Then I remember why I blog because that’s really all that matters. First and foremost it’s for me. It’s an outlet, a creative space, a release. Some people will get it. Some won’t. But if I touch just ONE other person with it isn’t that worth it? If I brightened their day. Make them giggle. Give them something to ponder. Then I am a success.
I remind myself of that daily and it keeps me going.
- Make a Commitment
You can’t find your voice if you don’t write. You can’t attract readers if you aren’t posting. So many people abandon blogs before they even get started. If you are serious about blogging then make the commitment to do so. Find a pace that works for you. The more you write the more you’ll hone in your voice. The more people you’ll attract with your writing style. Longevity is a huge part of blogging success.
I hope that helps Susan. Your feelings are not "silly". It’s hard to throw yourself out there. Blogging can make you feel very vulnerable, especially is you choose to blog on a personal topic like weight loss.
Here’s are some other resources that may help.
- What Is The Sound Of Your Blogging Voice?
- The Secrets of Unique Blogging Voice
- How to Blog With ‘Voice’ and Increase Community and Readership
If you launch let me know your link! I’d love to take a look.