Discovering Your Voice
Once you decide what you want to write about, you need to figure out how to say it.
Your blog should have a “voice” – a unique way of communicating your message, so that people will immediately recognize your writing when they read it.
Your blog can be unique from you in its voice. Since it's the online version of you, feel free to be playful and allow the blog to bring out a certain aspect of your personality that others may not see.
This is a chance to be vulnerable and creative, to try new things and see how people respond.
Any professional writer will tell you that writing voice is important, but really this is essential to all communication. Knowing who you are and how to represent yourself is important to being understood and clearly conveying what you want to say.
So learning how to hone your voice early on in blogging is essential.
Try This Exercise
- Describe yourself in three adjectives.
- Ask yourself: “Is this how I talk?”
- Imagine your ideal reader. Describe him in detail. Then, write to him, and only him.
- Jot down at least five books, articles, or blogs you read. Spend time examining them. What about how they're written intrigues you?
- List your influences. What movies do you watch? What kind of art or music do you like? Are you using these as references in your writing, or avoiding them? Try using them more.
- Ask other people: “What's my voice? What do I sound like?” Take notes of the answers you get.
- Free-write. Write however is most comfortable to you. No editing. Then go back and read it. Is it different from what you usually publish?
- Be honest with your own writing. Ask yourself: “Is this something I would read?” If not, change your voice.
- Do a personal inventory: do you love doing this? If it feels like work, you may not be writing like yourself.
How do you feel?
Worried? Nervous? Afraid? Good. You're on the right track.
If you're completely calm, then you probably aren't being vulnerable.
Try writing something a little more dangerous, something a little more you. Fear is good. It means you're being yourself (which is always a little scary).
One Absolute Non-negotiable
Don't try to be Donald Miller or J.D. Salinger. That's already been done.
If you're messy, be messy. If you're playful, have fun.
Don't try to sound like someone else or do what someone is already doing. Don't force yourself to write in a certain tone if it feels unnatural. Be sensitive to how your reader will receive you, but above all else, you must be yourself.
- Be unique.
- Be different.
- Be you.
Because no one else can do that.
So what are you waiting for? Write something unique that only you can write. And write it today.
Now, go do something risky. And do it in your voice.