This guest post is by Matthew Setter of Malt Blue.
Recently I read a post by Jeff Goins on ProBlogger, called Finding Your Blog’s Unique Voice, which talked about having a distinct voice for your blog. Something that is uniquely you, original, and distinct.
That post resonated loudly with me, because for some time I’ve been working to achieve that on my blog. I’ve been forever reviewing the tag line, writing style, and writing frequency in a continuous attempt to get the right voice and sound for it.
Then I read another post, How to Prevent Blah Blah Blogging, about overcoming writers’ block. That resonated with me as well because of my feelings of being yet another blog in the tech sector; that I’m just another voice in an over-crowded space.
For some time I’ve been trying to find where I fit in, and what I bring that’s original and fresh—something I’m sure you have felt more than once as well. Nobody wants to be a “me too” kind of blog. That’s not interesting to anyone! Wouldn’t you agree?
Your greatest asset right by your side
During the reading of these posts I remembered reading a great book, Acres of Diamonds, by Russell Conwell. In it, the author related a series of short stories about a series of people, all in a similar predicament.
They all sought success, whether that was money, fame, or wealth. Yet each made the all-too-common mistake of looking everywhere for what they sought, except at the source of that thing. They all went out and expended energy, money, and time, only to find that the reward they sought was right in front of their faces. How shocking is that?
As I read both these blogs and book, it struck me that there’s a simple way of writing in a voice that’s completely all your own. And each of us can start right now, without delay.
Remember the child inside
Consider this scenario: as we grow up we learn so much, whether in school, from our parents or guardians, on the job, and with friends and partners. We take that learning and we apply it day by day as we grow as people. Now a lot of the time, it works just fine; but occasionally we make mistakes—sometimes embarrassing or painful ones.
Maybe we ask out a girl we’d admired for months, to the school formal, only to be unceremoniously turned down. Maybe we did something at a job, which for all the best of intentions seemed right, but was a poor decision to make.
Sometimes we take these experiences on as battle scars that we wear with pride … but sometimes we wish they’d never happened. I’m not sure about you, but there have been times over the years where I’ve wanted to be able to talk to that younger self of mine, first-hand, to give him the wisdom I have now, to give him clues about how to do things better, and in so doing, to speed up time. Maybe you’ve felt the same?
Would I listen to me?
Well, what if you could talk to your younger self? What if you could share some of your life’s accomplishments, share some of your wisdom and experience? What would you say? What would you tell them? How would you talk with them? In what voice or style would you communicate with them for maximum affect?
I’m sure it would be different from how you write now.
If you’re struggling to find your voice, your sound, or your approach, then I encourage your to forget everyone else! Forget trying to picture your ideal audience and trying to anticipate what they want to hear or not hear. Make your audience one person—your younger self. Write as though you could talk to them, guide them, and teach them.
As you’re writing that way, ask yourself these questions:
- Would I take this on board?
- Would I listen to me?
- Have I communicated worthwhile knowledge/experience/wisdom with true passion and conviction?
- Would I learn and grow from what I’ve just written?
- Would I be left confused or wondering by the post?
Through taking on this approach, I’m confident you’ll see the following changes in your writing:
- You’ll take more care with what you put out.
- You’ll pay more attention.
- You’ll write with more genuine passion and conviction.
Finding your voice
I’m confident that in taking this approach, your enthusiasm cannot help but show in every facet of your work—not only your writing, but your promotional activities as well. I believe that you will develop a tone that resonates with a much richer and more vibrant note. Through that, you will attract an audience to you for the new-found quality and depth of your material and conviction.
So if you’re stuck, desperately trying to find your voice, trying to find your audience, stop! The only person that matters is all too ready to listen and they’re right here. No go, write, teach and inspire them!
Matthew Setter is a passionate writer, passionate Australian and software developer. He’s also the founder of Malt Blue, dedicated to educating PHP professionals. You can connect with him on Twitter and Facebook anytime.