Note: This post was written several days prior and scheduled to post today. As you read this, I’m currently on a 24 hour month long journey through Israel and France. Please leave some comment love and let me know you stopped by… although unfortunately I won’t be able to catch up on your blogs or respond until I return to the United States. Wish me luck, I can’t wait to share my adventures with you!
This is the fifth post in my on-going series on the lessons I learned from seasoned blogging pros at the Texas Style Council Conference in Austin over spring break. Check the Archives for parts one, two, three, and four.
Panel 4 was all about how to build an audience through writing authentically. Communicating my personal voice is something I feel like I struggle with on just about every post, so I was particularly interested to hear what the panelists had to say. The bloggers consisted of Jen from Jen Loves Kev, Indiana from Adored Austin, and James from Bleubird Vintage. The discussion was moderated by Kristina from Pretty Shiny Sparkly. Here are the main ideas I took away from the wonderful conversation!
1. Write like you speak. Okay, easier said than done. But for the most part, when you read (or write) a blog, you want to feel like you’re talking or listening to your best friend. It should be easy to imagine the author speaking the text to you. This strategy creates a sense of ease and comfort between the audience and the blogger. This familiarity is key to maintaining an audience, and keeping people genuinely interested in your life. I definitely struggle with this. Although I am a creative writing minor, I find it difficult to break out of the constraints of formal, educational writing which has been drilled in to me, and instead write as I think. I’m trying to improve. Hopefully the creative writing classes will help (heck, a college education has to be useful for something, right?)
2. Write about your life honestly, but don’t be a Debbie Downer. There is a difference between lifestyle blogging, and diary-like online journals, and you need to be aware of where to draw that line. Sure, this blog discusses things I do in my life, but you don’t know everything. Basically the gist of this topic was what do you choose to share with your audience and what needs to stay private. Everyone’s line is going to be different, but it’s an important thing to know about yourself. Clearly take safety into consideration (don’t post your address, sensitive personal information, etc.) But beyond that, it’s up to you. Chances are that people read your blog to brighten their day, as an escape from the monotony of real life. They don’t want to read about your dirty laundry. Is it okay to say you had a bad day? Sure. Absolutely. Doesn’t everyone? But no one wants to come back and read day after day about how your life truly sucks. (Because it probably doesn’t. And if it does, maybe you should figure out why and do something about it.)
How do you write in stream of consciousness? Do you find it difficult, or does it come naturally to you? Where do you draw the line on what’s too personal to share with your audience? What do you and don’t you write about?