The site of a blinking cursor can turn the most mild-mannered person into a blinking curser. Fingers hover over keys. They waggle in mid-air, waiting for inspiration to strike. Nothing happens. Wistfully looking out of the window doesn’t help either. Nor does stroking your chin thoughtfully.
Sometimes it’s because you simply don’t know what to say. But sometimes you know EXACTLY what you’d like to say, you just don’t know how to say it in the right way. And by ‘right way’ I mean – YOUR way.
Writing a blog post isn’t easy. Writing one that captures your personality and unique voice is even harder.
I’ve spoken to some people recently who have had some very kind words to say about my blog writing style. The theme that comes through consistently is that they like my mix of mirth and message.
In other words, they enjoy that I write content that helps or informs while at the same time letting my personality come through.
But it wasn’t always like that.
Some of my earlier blog posts were, in hindsight, a bit stuffy. The writing wasn’t terrible, but it lacked something. What was missing was me.
I was deliberately holding myself back. I had created two versions of myself; the online Kev and the off-line Kev. In short, I wasn’t authentic.
The Real Me
Being authentic simply means – being you. It shouldn’t be a task or activity. It’s not a tactic or a strategy. It’s spontaneous. It’s warts and all. It’s ‘take it or leave it’ – this is who I am.
In my case, the real me is an attention seeker who gets the greatest joy from making people laugh. For me, it’s a form of Tourettes. I just can’t help myself. Funny things come into my head all the time, and I get the purest of joys and highest of highs when I share them. The audience might be my kids, my family, my friends or strangers – it doesn’t matter – if I draw out a laugh, or at the least a genuine smile, then I’m happy.
The real me is also brutally honest, open and emotional. I’ve shared a lot of personal ‘stuff’ online. Touchy, feely stories, particularly about my family and the stress related illness that almost broke me.
That’s the real me. The authentic me. The ‘me’ that I need to share in my blog posts.
Find your personality NOT mine
As much as the compliments I’ve received have meant a lot to me (#AttentionSeeker), your writing shouldn’t aim to replicate my style or any other writers style for that matter. You need to find your voice. It means writing ‘filters-off’.
There are a few reasons why people find it hard to let their personality come through in their blog writing.
1. Corporate Social Irresponsibility
They’ve been forced to write bland, uninspiring copy in the form of formal reports & proposals in a corporate environment. Although they have left that World behind them – they suffer a form of writing hangover.
2. School Daze
For some, writing a blog, will be the first time they’ve written anything for public consumption since they left school. For them, the association can be understandably terrifying. They were judged at school. They don’t want to be judged now.
3. They Don’t Think They Have A Personality
Some people genuinely don’t think that they have a personality, or at least, a personality that anyone will like. They hide their real self. They play it safe. They write neutral content because they think that’s what the World wants.
Injecting the real you into your blog writing won’t just make the process more enjoyable, it will make your content sing. Opening up lets people get to know the REAL you. The authentic you. The best version of yourself.
Blog writing is one of the most personal forms of writing their is. There is an intimacy that you don’t get in other forms of writing. Have the confidence to be yourself.
“Easier said than done.” I’m sure some of you are thinking.
Here are three quick tips to get you started.
Write Like You Talk
Remember, this isn’t a formal piece of writing it’s a blog. Keep it conversational and write how you talk. Take it a step further by reading it out loud to see how it sounds. Does it flow like a natural conversation or is it clunky. Don’t worry if it’s the latter, it’s easy to fix.
The natural reaction is to self-edit as you go. An amusing thought, a play on words or a left-field anecdote doesn’t even get into your first draft. Why? Because you let your logical brain get in the way. You talk yourself out of it. You rationalise. Include everything in your first draft, don’t leave anything out. You can edit later. For now, capture everything.
Talk to one person
Having a specific person in mind helps focus your blog writing. It keeps the tone consistent and acts as a roadmap. It might be a friend who would relate to your blog topic, or it could be a specific client who needs help with a specific challenge. Think of it as an open-letter to your ideal reader.
Remember, this isn’t about being a stand-up comedian. It’s about being you.
I’ll leave the final words to a far wiser man than me –
People don’t buy from a website. They buy from people. Let them see who you are.”