Would you believe that finding my own writing voice was something that I found difficult for so long? I did – which is a shame because it is one of the most important elements of being able to distinguish your blog from another. My favorite blogs tend to be the ones with distinct voices.
What is ‘voice’ and why should I care?
Voice is what enables readers to ‘hear’ you through you words and the way that you put them together. It’s a function of you – our real voices are rarely so similar that someone would confuse you for someone else. There are a ton of blogs online, and thousands on fashion and lifestyle alone. Your voice is one of the few things that readers can get anywhere else – they have to come to you to get it. This means that you need to find your voice, the one that allows you to stand out and break through the clutter.
You need to sprinkle a lot of yourself into your writing. So, how do you want people to ‘hear’ you?
How do I find my voice?
1. Say it – then write it (write like you talk)
The first step is as simple as that. I’ve found it easier to determine how I want to say certain things by saying them aloud to myself first. When you’re speaking naturally, words tend to flow a lot easier than when you’re trying to project your thought processes straight onto the keyboard.
Note the words and phrases that you’re using, these are an important part of your voice!
The second part to this is, ‘write it – then say it.’ Say it aloud and listen to how you come through out loud. Does it sound like you?
2. Let your words flow
If you’re struggling to write on something, then stop trying to make it perfect the first time around. Get all your thoughts down instead, ramble and don’t worry about making sense. Your far more likely to discover gems of ‘voice’ that wouldn’t have come out if you’d been taking it one word at a time, trying to force it.
3. If it’s really not there, don’t force it
No. 2 comes with a catch – something it really won’t be there at all, even if you want it to be. What I mean is that you shouldn’t write about something you really don’t know about, or really aren’t interested in. No matter how much you want that topic on your blog, or how much you think your readers will like it. Write what you know, because if you don’t you’re likely to lose your voice in the process of borrowing the words of others.
4. Read it from someone else’s point of view
If you start to read something from the perspective of someone else, such as a friend looking over your shoulder, then you’ll probably realize pretty quick if you’re not writing in your own voice. I think that this is the bloggers voice acid test. You should be confident about what you’re writing, because it should still be you – just in a different format. It’s quite possible that you’ll meet people through your blog, and you’d hope that the transition from offline to online would be as smooth as possible…right?
I think it takes time for a bloggers voice to really develop, it can be hard to put yourself into your writing. It comes down to writing on topics you are truly interested in, letting it flow and speaking aloud, and finally reflecting from another person’s point of view. Let’s just say that after taking this to heart, I no longer feel like I should be writing catwalk reviews. They can be fun, and interesting to watch, but reviewing them is not for me and I sound like cardboard when I try…
What do you think, does your voice come through as you’d like it to? Is it something you even think about? – I understand that this doesn’t matter to everyone!