My first blog ever happened right here, on my Just Write Blog, in January of 2009. As I wrote on that fateful day, the idea of just posting my thoughts on the internet with no editor to tell me whether I was on the right track or not, kinda freaked me out. But I did it, and two years later I’m still doing it; in fact I’m doing it on three different blogs.
The voice for this blog came rather easily. By voice, I literally mean, the “sound” of my writing. Voice is the thing that a writer must find to share what is inside, and distinguish him or herself from other writers. And the blogging voice can be one of the toughest predicaments.
Writing as an entrepreneur, small business owner, someone who continues to get schooled as I compete for clients, figure out new ways to make money, and climb the ladder to becoming a New York Times best-selling author, feels quite natural to me. I suspect because this is my daily struggle (with a victory every now and then), when I post on my Just Write blog I feel as though I’m just commiserating, trouble-shooting, and sharing ideas with someone.
I also started a blog earlier this year with my good friend, amazing artist, and book partner, Jerome Prieur: www.darklovebooks.com. I decided to start this blog as a way to motivate myself to finish our next book project, and chronicle our journey as artist and author. This voice too came easily; writing as an independent author, publisher, trying to always find a twist to that creativity, being accountable to someone other than myself on a project–all stuff I am also dealing with on a daily basis.
The blog voice that posed the greatest challenge to me, and at times even dug into my confidence as a writer, was the Sex, Life, & Hannah blog voice.
I started this blog in the fall of ’09 because I began discovering the power of blogging. And as I searched for ways to publicize my Sex, Life, & Hannah book series on basically a zero budget I started to feel that blogging was the answer.
It all seemed so simple when I first began. I was going to write articles about dating, and fashion, and Los Angeles life and gossip; and I would hire writers to help me, so that I could post on a daily basis (I couldn’t fathom the idea of having to do this all myself). The revamped Sex, Life, & Hannah website and blog was going to become THE destination for everything hip and happening in this plastic city:)
At the time all this brilliance was occurring I had hired a girl to help me also get a grasp on social networking. She kept saying to me, “they want Hannah, you need to blog as Hannah,” but somehow this concept was not resonating with me. I still kept thinking, Sex, Life, & Hannah is about dating in L.A., so they want to read stuff about that. It wasn’t until a year later that I finally understood what she meant, and what blogging was really all about.
From what I’ve observed, blogging, is a much more personal style of writing than an article. When a blog becomes flagrantly successful, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s espousing a wealth of knowledge, it means the person writing the blog, has shared enough about themselves for people to want to know what happens to them next; whether they’re writing about food, fashion, or a four-hundred-thousand-year-old fossil specimen. What they’re writing about doesn’t really matter, it’s the way they’re writing about it that does. And sometimes that can mean just posting a really great picture.
Whether some of you are nodding your head, thinking to yourself, isn’t this obvious? The point is in the proof: when I started blogging as Hannah, which was really as me, my Sex, Life, & Hannah website hits went up 30 percent. When I started writing less about dating, and more about my dating (errr…married) life, people started tuning in more. And that’s what my social networking girl was talking about…
If you, like me, have struggled, or are struggling with your blog voice, here are my five suggestions:
1. Be authentic. Blogging is about people getting to know you. Write like you would in your diary, and you’ll start to feel the rhythm.
2. Check your spelling and grammar. Though slang is OK in the blogging world, you should still read over your work once or twice and do a spell check. Yes, it’s kinda like writing in your diary, but remember, the world is reading your diary.
3. The point can be…a picture, or video, or even a one-sentence thought. This is another concept I had a hard time grasping when I first started blogging. As a writer, I wanted to write, but as a blogger, I realized that sharing my thoughts didn’t have to look like a thesis every time. Take a look around at some of the top blogs. People care more that you keep in touch on a regular basis, which is the perfect lead-in for my next point.
4. Regular posting will make your audience NOT forget about you. There is so much truth in this, and yet, this is the thing I struggle with the most. Because blogging is not my full-time job, nor do I make any real money from it (yet), I am often too beat at the end of the day to even think about posting. But we are creatures of habit, and just like so many of us reach for that cup of coffee or tea in the morning, so we reach for your post in our RSS reader or inbox.
5. Write for the medium. Remember you are dealing with computer screens, mobile devices, and people scrolling. Keep your word count low, your paragraphs short, and make your points sooner rather than later. Make sure there’s enough in the previous paragraph to make them want to scroll to the next.
That’s all folks. Happy blogging:)