Finding Your Blogging Voice
Whether it happens when you very first start blogging or as you grow with your blog over time, at some point you are likely to hit a wall when you wonder what exactly your voice is, or even perhaps, what it could be or what you’d like it to be. On any given day as we have conversations with our family members, our mom friends, our husbands, our mailman, etc., we use a thousand and one different voices, we just don’t consciously realize it. We get to be sweet, sassy, funny, witty, smart, helpful, compassionate, empathetic, angry and maybe even sarcastic. All of that combines into make our voice what those around us recognize it as. But, when we try to consolidate all of those voices (and countless others) into one “style” that we try to portray day in and day out on a blog, there’s often complication that arises with that, as it naturally should. Do you have to pick one? Can you change along the way? Is one stronger than all the rest? If these questions have ever danced through your head, let’s look at some ways to find and solidify the voice you love.
The “Context Voice”
Just as different scenarios in our life (the grocery store, mommy club, work environment, etc.) all require a different voice of us, sometimes the easiest way to land on your voice is to base it upon the context of your blog. Is it professional? Is it to share advice? Is it to promote a home business? Those each require a certain voice that we all know and can put on very easily. However, if it’s a blog that’s more general and does something like document your life, then you’ll have to go a bit deeper.
The “You Voice”
If you don’t have a specific voice necessitated by the type and format of your blog, then you can really have some fun discovering your voice! My best advice is to go with the “you voice.” Look at finding and using the voice that is most naturally you on any given day. Do you tend to be silly? Serious? Witty? Sweet? Look at the way you write and talk and think on a “normal” day when you are not frustrated or overwhelmed. Then use that for awhile to see how it feels. This should be the voice that flows most naturally and it should make your blogging the easiest. While you’re trying it out, ask your friends and family to read and see if they feel it sounds like “you.” They might have some good insight on whether you sound too uptight or like you’re trying too hard and you can tone it down accordingly. The best test is if it makes you feel comfortable when you’re in the process of writing.
Let Go of the “One Voice”
In my opinion, you should absolutely never feel trapped or stuck to just one voice, even if it’s the “you voice.” Some days one voice will just be more fitting than another, that’s all there is to it, and 9 times out of 10, your readers love getting to see other voices from you, because it makes you a real person with varying tone and emotion. As soon as you typically feel stuck in a voice, you’re likely going to start to dread writing in it, and none of the results of that are any good! In fact, if you’ve been blogging for any period of time, you can probably look back now and see that over time, your voice changed right along with you, even if you didn’t know it.
Testing out the Waters
If you really just have no idea where to begin or how to start or who in the world you want your voice to come across like, I highly recommend guest blogging. I also very highly recommend that you come up with a pen name for yourself while doing so. This gives you absolute freedom to write anything you like with whatever voice you want and you can change it constantly. Write a very straightforward voice. Write a funny one. Write a sweet one, write whatever you can think of! No one will ever see these pieces and know that it was you, so just let go and have some fun with it. Do a little reflection after each writing session and compile your notes in the end. You can look at things like: 1) which was easiest to write? 2) which was most enjoyable? 3) which got the best feedback and response? 4) which was hardest? 5) which can you see yourself coming back to every single day? I have a feeling you’ll get some very good insight into what voice made you feel alive and made you feel comfortable and confident.
All that Matters
In the end, you can’t go wrong, because your voice is your voice. It’s just the process along the way of discovering which voice of all the voices you normally wear in one day, that makes your blog feel strong and makes you feel like you when you write in it. Sometimes it’s not the easy/comfortable voice that even makes the most sense because you’ll likely get bored with it. And the hard voice to write that gets the great feedback will probably eventually crush your desire to write if it’s overly tough. There will always be a balance somewhere in the mix, so keep writing and keep experimenting till you find it. And then remember: you can always change it – whether for just the day or for the long haul!
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Freelancer Jocelyn spent far too long struggling to find a specific “voice” and finally decided just to write and let her voice be what it wanted to be depending on the topic at hand. She now writes and blogs for Heater Home and has found an entirely new voice writing a guide for their patio heaters.