Do you remember your very first Blog post?
You had been “stalking” those DIY or Crafting or Decorating or Cooking blogs for weeks/months/years and you finally worked up the courage to start your own!
The templates confused you, you had no idea what a widget was and html code sounded like something you would have to learn to become an astronaut.
You finally got it all set up and ready to go and then there it was.
That blank page staring you in the face, daring you to fill it with something.
What do you say?
How do you start?
What if no one reads this?
What if they do?
How terrifyingly thrilling was it to hit that “publish” button and see the screen filled with your life, your words and your photos?
When I started blogging I felt like I was on a high for those first few weeks.
There was this whole “follow” thing where this little number on the sidebar would go up and up (and occasionally down!) and people were actually leaving me comments!
And then, I started getting sucked in.
I entered the “Blogging Bermuda Triangle”.
You know, that mysterious world where you find yourself spinning in circles trying to figure out just what kind of blog yours will be. You’re lost, confused and not sure if this was such a good idea after all.
I mean, they never did find Amelia Earhart’s plane did they?
Other bloggers seem to have it all together. Their photos are perfect which must mean that their homes are perfect too, right? They manage to do a million projects in one week while that paint can you’ve had sitting out for a month mocks you every time you walk by it.
Then you start wondering if your blog should be more like theirs…sound more like theirs…look more like theirs…
You’ve reached a pivotal moment in the life of a blogger.
The moment where you ask yourself if you want to continue and if you do continue, how do you define yourself?
How do you Find Your Blogging Voice?
Frankly, this is something I’m still trying to figure out myself!
But, I’ve come up with 5 tips that I believe will help you focus and gain confidence as you strive to find your blogging voice!
Finding Your Blogging Voice Tip #1
Yes, I know. That sounds a tad bit like we should all be holding hands while chanting “I’m OK, you’re OK”. But, there it is. The truth is often just that simple. There may be hundreds, even thousands, of DIY/Decor blogs, but there is only one You. And, if you believe that you have something to offer or to teach or to share then do it! But, be like a race horse. A race horse wears blinders or “blinkers” when they are running. It keeps them focused on the goal ahead and not distracted by what is happening around them. In Blogging, it can be very easy to look around and judge yourself based on what you see happening for others. This is dangerous territory. It can lead you into believing that there is something wrong with you. Now, granted, we can all strive to be good “students” of blogging. And to truly be successful as a blogger we SHOULD always be a student of blogging. We can learn the meaning of “SEO” and the best time to “pin” and how to code a button. But, always remember that You are what sets your blog apart!
Finding Your Blogging Voice Tip #2
When I tell people that I’m a blogger, they either look at me like I am speaking a foreign language or they say something like, “oh, you mean one of those things where people write a bunch of stuff about their kids?”. Granted, I do share things about my children once in a while. I mean, come on, they are hilarious! And, while the grandparents love those posts, our blog isn’t really written with them as the intended audience. Sorry mom and dad! One of the most important things to determine when starting a blog is to WHOM you are speaking. Are you blogging to share your thoughts about faith, politics, culture? Then write with that in mind! Are you hoping to inform? Inspire? Motivate? All of the above? Then, write with that in mind! Are you a food blogger and wanting to share your favorite recipes? Then, don’t just include the recipe. Share some of your kitchen tips and tricks. Maybe even share a time a recipe didn’t work out as planned. No matter the genre of your blog, always ask yourself “why do I enjoy reading my favorite blogs?” and then keep that in mind as you write each post.
And when a reader leaves you a comment saying, “I really think you should be doing more of this or more of that” just remember that it is YOUR blog and that they can
go jump in a lake find what they are looking for elsewhere!
Finding Your Blogging Voice Tip #3
Now, some of us are open books by nature. We strike up conversations with the person next to us in Wal-Mart and absolutely HAVE to tell everyone within earshot the price we paid for the sweater we’re wearing, even if they didn’t ask in the first place. I mean, who doesn’t want to hear about a bargain right?
Others of us find it more difficult to let people in and share our thoughts and feelings. We might be horrified at the thought of telling someone the price of the sweater we’re wearing!Remember that there is no right or wrong when it comes to being “YOU”.
But, always keep in mind that when you open yourself up to others, even a little bit, they feel that they can relate to you. You find commonalities and forge bonds. It’s up to you to decide how much or how little of your life to share. You don’t need to tell everyone about your aunt’s cousin’s boyfriend’s dog’s hip replacement. But, you COULD if you wanted to! And you might just find that someone else is in the same situation. Or finds the same humor in said situation. That’s a win-win either way!
It’s hard to believe this when you first start blogging, but you will develop REAL friendships with people you may never meet. And, they will do so much more than leave you nice comments about your DIY projects. They will be cheerleaders congratulating you on your success. They will support you when you doubt your abilities. They will encourage you when you open up and share your heart…your burdens…your troubles.If that doesn’t define “real” friendship than I don’t know what I does!
Finding Your Blogging Voice Tip #4
Have you ever visited a blog and realized that while the author might be sharing beautiful photos and fabulous projects, you just don’t really have the sense that there is an actual person behind those words and images? You see their face on the sidebar but somehow it just all seems detached. It’s hard to picture them ever accidentally spilling paint down the front of their shirt or trying to attach rose petals to a foam cone and burning their fingers on the hot glue and then tossing the whole craft into the garbage. I’m not saying I’ve ever done those things either!
You see, I believe that in order to really develop a connection with your readers you need to be willing to put yourself out there and yes, even be willing to laugh at yourself. Share those projects that are colossal fails. Tell us about the times when things didn’t quite go according to plan. Keeping things “real” is what bridges the gap between author and reader. Who doesn’t love knowing that other people have issues? That they make mistakes, mess up and are generally just like the rest of us. We all want to know that we are “normal”…whatever “normal” means!
Finding Your Blogging Voice Tip #5
It is just one of those inevitable things in life. Just as a young boy will mature and grow and his voice will change, so will your blogging voice. There will be new experiences, challenges, successes and yes, even failures. All of these things impact us and the way in which we write each blog post and share our journey. As we get older we tend to get more comfortable in our own skin. Things that used to be hindrances no longer affect us in the same way. Oh sure, we are always a work in progress! But, I’ve found that the older I get, the more self-assured I’m becoming. The same is true of our life as a blogger. Your voice might start out in one octave, squeak and squawk for awhile and then settle down nicely into the groove of an octave (or 2 or 3!) lower. And then, you will find yourself feeling more comfortable in your blogging “skin”.
As much as I’m sure he’d like to, that adolescent boy can’t fight his changing voice. So, I’d like to suggest that you don’t fight your changing blog voice either. Let your life’s journey, and your blogging life’s journey, mold and shape you. Embrace those squeaks and squawks!
They are all apart of the refining process.
Well, there you have it! My 5 Tips for Finding Your Blogging Voice.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 3 years as a blogger it’s just how important it is to stay true to yourself, and your voice. In the midst of new adventures and experiences, that will be the constant.
Do you think you’ve found your blogging voice?
If so, what tips can you share?
If not, what do you think is keeping you from feeling confident in this area?
Looking for more great tips? Check out the Blogging 101 series written by my sister.
My hope is that you will not only find your blogging voice, but that in this finding, you will feel more confident and secure in who you are as a blogger. Let your voice be a reflection of your talent and creativity. Let it be encouraging and supportive of others as they pursue their dreams. May your voice be used for building up, not tearing down.
And let it always, always be a reflection of your heart!
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