How do you find your writing voice, really? In educational settings, we've been taught to curb our writing to a particular tone and format, with, in most instances (unless it's a creative writing course), tailoring the way we write to these parameters, instead of letting our own voice fully shine through. With a blog, you can instead make your personal writing style a priority, but I've discovered that with that, it can be daunting in the beginning, as this is the first time the opportunity to write in your own voice may be publicly available.
After teaching a few semesters of a Fashion Blogging Bootcamp course, I realized that some of the biggest hang ups weren't regarding how to add in an image or a hyperlink, but rather how to come into one's own with a writing style that felt most comfortable.
I've devised three tips that can help to break out of the “paper writing mode” or a “business proposal” formality that people are so used to doing, and instead flourish in your own words.
Start a Diary
I know it may seem cliché, but this is THE best way to find your own voice. It doesn't matter if you write about the events of the day or thoughts that may be more introspective; just the act of doing it, and doing it consistently will make a difference. As highly functional and convenient as Google Docs and Evernote are, don't use them as your diary.
Instead, compose it on paper with a pen, which, although is more time-consuming, will work to your benefit. It will slow things down a bit for you to think more thoroughly about the words and sentences you develop, and you may not feel like writing a lot, so it will aid you in becoming more concise.
Understand Some of the Gentle Guidelines of Writing Online
Now that you've got a diary in motion, think about how you would adjust this to the web. Remember what you look for, or what bores you, when you read something online, and keep that in mind for the editing stage of your post. That's right, you should go ahead and write it all out, and then go back in and refine it. I use WordPress and prefer to do this in the preview mode, toggling back and forth between that and the editing window to make my changes.
It's really important to make your writing number one and not detract from that, but don't forget to return to the post to add the key online visual elements like headings, bolding, italicizing, hyperlinking text and visuals to enhance the reader's experience.
The editing phase is also a good point to look over your word count and paragraph breaks, making sure that you aren't going to lose your reader with a post that could easily be shortened. Introduce a “more” option for them to click on and continue reading at a crucial point if you feel that it's getting too long, and be sure to use a title and keywords that will signify what the reader can expect, but don't hesitate to execute your wordsmith skills and do it in a creative fashion.
Read, Read, Read, Practice, Practice, Practice
I'm not the first person to ever suggest reading more, but trying to do it in an analytical sense can elicit some great takeaways for your own writing. Let's say that you were super duper into “The Hunger Games” trio of books by Suzanne Collins, reading them all in a weekend. Reread a few pages of it and/or think about what kept you engaged with the texts; was it the plot, subject, the writing style, the way the chapters were broken up?
Continue to read as much as you can, in any medium, in or out of your blog's category (i.e. fashion), and when you feel yourself deeply enthralled and reading rapidly, take pause and think about what's “doing it” for you with this content.
Like anything in life, the more you practice, the better your changes of improvement, so continue to write, write, write as much as you can.
Remember that just because you write a post in your blog doesn't mean you have to publish it, and just let the writing flow until you feel incredibly pleased with it — or don't think about it at all!
Do you have any writing tips to share? Post in the comments below!
[Image credit: Shutterstock.com]