One of the toughest parts about blogging, especially when you’re starting out, is finding your “voice”. There’s a tendency to try to sound “professional” and correct. You want people to take you seriously, and to be seen as an expert, so naturally, you have to write like and AUTHOR, right? Wrong.
Why People Struggle To Write Naturally
A big part of the reason why this is such a struggle for a lot of people is because it’s not something that most people do every day. And it’s definitely not something that gets stressed enough in school. You’re taught to write in a particular format, without any “slang” and having to write for academia. Unless you opt for some type of creating writing class or majored in journalism, you’re pretty much only taught to write “professionally” (AKA boring).
That style of writing has its time and place, but it isn’t on your blog. Obviously, you want to make sure that the grammar isn’t atrocious and that you don’t come off as illiterate. But you should keep in mind that when you’re blogging, your audience isn’t a college professor that’s grading you on your technical writing ability.
You’re writing for real people (not that college professors aren’t real people) that don’t necessarily care whether or not you use the word “whom” correctly. They care that you’re giving them the information they want in a way that’s easy to consume.
Finding Your Voice
For me, finding my voice just came over time. I’m sure if you were to find some of my old blog posts, they wouldn’t sound as natural as the content that I put out today. I struggled with it for a while, but now it just comes natural to me. Don’t worry if it doesn’t happen over night.
Jeff Goins wrote an article on how to find your writing voice. In his article, he gives a 10 step technique that you can use to find your voice. It can be a very helpful way of getting started. But again, you’ll start getting better the more you write.
My tips for writing in your voice are:
- Read articles you’ve written out loud, and then explain what the article was about to someone. Pay attention to the way you describe the article, then rewrite it in your “voice”.
- Read your posts as you type. I mouth the words I’m writing a lot of the times, which makes it come out very natural, and not forced.
- Stop thinking of what you “should” sound like, and just write. For the first draft of my articles, I just let my thoughts go. Then once I’m done, I go through and make edits. Basically, just start typing.
The Benefits Of Writing How You Talk
If you look at some of the most successful content creators out there, you’ll notice that they write in a very natural voice. Their content doesn’t come off as just a boring article, but more like a conversation. Your voice is what differentiates you from the competition. There are thousands of people writing about the exact same topics as you, but only you can write about it in your unique voice. That’s what helps people connect and resonate with you.
Also, writing in your voice makes creating content a lot easier. You don’t have to worry about whether or not you sound “professional” enough. You’re just being you. If you’re constantly trying to make sure everything sounds a certain way, or stressing about how you think it should sound, you’re going to be spending WAY more time creating blog posts than you need to. And honestly, the final product probably won’t have the impact that it would’ve had if you wrote naturally.
Practice Makes Perfect!
I’ll leave you with this good technique to help you find your voice. Pick a topic that you know a lot about. Something that you can write a lot about without having to research or think about. Then open up Word, Google Docs, or even notepad, and write freely about that topic. Just write!
Here’s how this helps. Since you’re not researching anything, you don’t have to deal with the distractions of formatting and all of the other tasks that come along with writing that can slow you down. You’re just letting your ideas flow naturally, and don’t have to think, or over-think, what you’re writing. After you do this a few times, you’ll writing naturally will become a habit for you, even when you’re writing about more in depth topics that you have to put thought and research into.
Another tip is to look at some other blogs, and notice how the bloggers’ writing style is natural, personal, and inviting. Aside from my own site of course, some great ones to check out are Nerd Fitness, ByRegina, and Greatist. They each have excellent content, written by people who write in their natural voice.
To sum it all up, start working on finding your voice, and your content will become much better, and a lot more enjoyable to read.
Any tips on finding your voice? Let me know in the comments, or tweet me!