Finding Your Voice
Recently I wrote a piece that, frankly, I thought either wasn’t great or was too personal. Because of my uncertainty I held off on publishing it for a few days longer than I usually do. But then I decided what the hell and hit publish.
And it took off, getting more views more rapidly than anything I’d written to date. What happened?
When I read the comments I realized that I had struck a chord and it was the personal nature of the writing that people related to. Nearly every commenter seemed to feel that we were having a meaningful conversation, which was my intent, but also the reason I held back.
I found my voice
When you’ve written as long as I have it is possible to lose perspective. Much of the writing I have done in recent years needed to conform to SEO best practices, a client’s preferred tone, etc. Unfortunately, this tends to iron out any personality in this marketing content. Just referring to it as ‘content’ is impersonal.
In hindsight, I think this is a fundamental error driven by the need for businesses to conform to the standards of other businesses. The result is a sea of bland words, a sea I contributed to in order to make money and please my clients. When I look back at this it seems so obvious.
I knew that one of my goals for writing here was not to continue that kind of writing. But much of what I’ve published is advice designed to motivate or inform. That’s fine in its place but it is not what interests me here as a reader. I’m looking for personal insights. Stories.
This is not ‘true confessions’
Another category is writing about overcoming some personal issue like addiction. I understand that ending an addiction becomes an all-encompassing thing. But there is an entire school of writing about something like kicking alcohol and there are writers who only write about that aspect of their lives.They are defined by one subject.
The challenge for a writer is to extend that learning experience into other aspects of a life. One of my obvious subjects lately has been the changes I’ve experienced as a result of our Covid year and that topic entered into the article I mentioned…