Finding Your Voice
I started blogging back in my Myspace days in 2004 – but I have really been blogging my whole life. When I was young, I kept a diary which I later called a journal and the writing has never really stopped for me.
I have heard it said that blogging isn’t for everyone. I have often been heard to reply resoundingly with,“Yes, it is.” If you can carry on a conversation, then you can blog. Of course, not everyone is a great writer. And not everyone is a good writer. Many people darn right stink at it. But just like anything else, practice makes perfect… “Sooner or later, the man who wins is the man who thinks he can.” (Thinking)
I guess started writing, really writing – seriously writing, when I was in high school. A few of my papers, as a freshman, came back with A+’s and nice remarks scrawled in classic red pen and much like that first 50-meter freestyle I won, I thought, “Maybe I could be good at this.” I stuck with journaling and free-verse poetry for many years and I think that is why whatever I write now has to flow and be easy to read. What I write might not be an easy topic or easy to write, but it must flow and be easy to read. Why else would you want to read it? I clearly don’t strive to be the next Victor Hugo, but I do want more substance than Seth Godin. Not that I don’t love Mr. Godin’s writing, but his style is to make you think outside of your your own box while saying as little as possible. My style makes you say, “Oh yea…, I remember that” or “I have felt like that before.” My style is Deja Too.
Setting Some Rules
The best thing I ever did for my writing was to set some rules. Why do I know what rules to adhere to? Because they are the ones that hurt me, hurt my writing, when I broke them. And, for me, the discovery of these rules has been such a passionate thing, that I wanted to share a bit of the process. It is not hard. When you make it hard by thinking too much about it, then it becomes hard.
Finding your voice
- You do not have to be a great speller or a grammar-know-it-all to find your voice. That is why God created spell check and grammar check, use them.
- Know “who” you are writing for – who is your audience? Are you writing for work, colleagues or clients, customers or partners? For your family? For anyone interested? Only for you? These are all great targets. Just make sure you have it straight and you follow that aim. Connecting with the intended audience is the goal, right? It is impossible to connect with an audience without thinking about them.
- Your audience may be no one at all and this, blogging, is just a practice in finding yourself. This is the best reason of all. I cannot tell you how much I have learned about me in writing for someone else. Clarity about who I am and how I got here is divine. Divine in that I consistently write about life struggles, joys, exposures, denials, and the experiences that find me here – the place where I currently dwell – figuratively, not literally.
- Once you find your voice, then you can determine whether to publish your writing or not. I firmly believe that everyone should write, not everyone should publish nor should everything be published. Think about it like a conversation. Not every conversation should be had.
**This is part 1 in the three-part series, The Art of Blogging