Aside from pure content, your blogging voice is the best way for your readers to get to know you. A “voice” is that intangible something that marks your writing as yours, more than any little copyright icon ever could. This quote is the property of Mad in Crafts, all rights reserved, TM, patent pending.
Getting your voice to shine through your writing takes both work and experience since self-confidence is such a fundamental part of writing authentically. To start you off on your voice-finding process, I have compiled a few tips that have helped me on the way.
– Find bloggers whose voice you admire.
Some bloggers out there just get it. They have fantastic voices that make you feel like you know them, like you guys would totally hit it off if you ever met in real life. Read those blogs. Lots.
I read both Cake Wrecks and The Pioneer Woman daily, not just because I love their content, but because their voice appeals to me. It’s no surprise that both blogs are supremely successful with writing like theirs.
– Write like you are talking to a good friend who hasn’t had her coffee yet.
The easiest way to make your blog sound authentic is to write the way you speak. Whether you are aware of it or not, each person has his or her own way of speaking. You might have a specific cadence to your speech or use figures of speech native to your state or region. Use that in your writing!
That being said, if you are a craft blogger it is especially important that your posts are indelibly clear. So while it is good to write like you speak, don’t expect your readers to know everything that you do. If you are wondering whether or not to include another step in your tutorial or explanation of an project, do it. You aren’t dumbing down your content, you are clarifying your ideas. I have never had a reader complain that a tutorial was too easy to understand!
– Always follow proper grammatical conventions, except when you don’t.
Proper grammar is a must. Period.
(Did you see that? I established a rule and then immediately broke it. The English language does that all the time too.)
Grammar, spelling and punctuation exist to help create meaning. If you don’t include them, or misuse them, your meaning can be lost and then you might as well not be writing.
However, a casual writer, like a blogger, can take a few liberties. Sometimes sentence fragments can contribute to the pacing of your post; other times writing the word “workin’” expresses your voice better than the proper spelling. You will just have to use your discretion on this one.
– Go with your first instinct.
I don’t know how many times I have typed something out that I thought was hilarious and then immediately backspaced through the whole thing worried that no one else would get my sense of humor or recognize my whackadoo allusions. Naughty Jess. Chances are there was some good stuff I lost by second guessing myself.
The blogosphere is a big place. There is someone out there who will catch your “Pee Wee’s Playhouse” reference or who also can’t eat eggplant because it reminds them of Grimace. Those quirky little touches connect you with your readers and tell them more about who you are.
– Don’t stretch yourself too far.
I am all for challenging yourself when it comes to your writing: stepping out of your comfort zone, thinking outside of the box and all that good stuff. BUT, not with your voice. Try new content, post more frequently, commit to a blogging marathon, but don’t reinvent your voice. It won’t sound like you, you won’t like it, and neither will your readers.
– Enjoy your writing.
Hopefully you started your blog because you enjoy your hobby AND you enjoy writing. If not, fork over your blogging hat and go home because you are going to burn out before you know it.
It’s okay to giggle at your own turn of a phrase, or to go back to an old post and admire it. It’s not narcissism (okay, maybe it is a little), but it’s also productive. Try to determine what it was about that phrase or post that you liked so much and recreate it. This trick will improve future posts and establish a consistency in your voice.
– EDIT! REVISE! REVIEW!
Please, please do not write up a post and then instantaneously hit “Publish.” Pretty, pretty please.
Read through your post, looking for grammar errors, sentences that don’t make sense, left out words. Take a look at your descriptors (adjectives and adverbs) to make sure you didn’t use the word “awesome” 7 times. Unless, of course, you are one of those people who really think everything is awesome. In that case, leave them in… but I won’t be reading.
PRACTICAL TIPS FOR FINDING YOUR BLOGGING VOICE:1. Think of how you sound when you write a snappy facebook status or tweet. That is probably pretty close to your authentic voice.2. If you think of something that sounds good in your head, write it down. We are busy people and are likely forget the exact wording of the thought, or, if you’re like me, the whole thought entirely. That original, spontaneous phrasing will be closest to your own particular voice.3. Analyze your blog roll. Just like you are drawn to friends who are similar to you, you will be drawn to writers who sound like you. If most of the bloggers in your RSS reader have a casual style, don’t try to be overly formal. If you tend to prefer more factual, concise writers, steer clear of slangy wording or it will sound forced.4. Come back to it later and see if you still like what you wrote. If it still sounds good to your inner monologue, keep it.5. Write comfortably. As often as possible, write in a comfy spot, when you are in a good mood. You are more likely to trust your gut if you do.
Thanks for the advice! I’m pretty new in the blogging world and try to write down thoughts exactly as they come from my head (my voice) but second-guess myself a lot and end up re-phrasing. No more!
Scissors & Spatulas
Farmer's Wyfe says
Thank you so much for this. I’ve been struggling with my blog, what to do, where I’m headed. It takes so much of my time because I get so absorbed when I write, but I Wonder if I should just hold off on writing at all b/c I have small children and blogging uses so much of my time. I think I will just write for myself, what I need to say, and not care about where it is going in the blogging world, but then just limit it to a couple times a week. I just LOVE blogging and reading other’s blogs, but there has to be direction, and I so appreciate your tips! Thank you!!!
Krafty Kat says
Thanks so much- great advice! Sometimes, I forget that as a blogger, I am also a writer!
I just found this after linking up to your mad skills party. I needed this information! After almost a year of blogging, I think I am finally finding and beginning to develop my voice! I’m going to reread this with a cup of coffee! I’m looking forward to your next writing skills post!
Wonderful! Thanks for the reminder and great tips! I have been blogging since 1998 and I forget to check before I post only to say OOPPSS much later. I will be sharing this post on my blog, have a great night!
Creative writing ide says
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