I’ve tried to write this blog post several times today. Each time I start typing, I feel this inner restlessness broiling up inside of me and my head starts hurting and I can’t decide if I need a diet coke or to just take a break.
What should I say next? What direction am I moving in? How is this going to be in-line with my original purpose for This Girl Thrives?
What if people hate me?!
These questions have been whirling around my head at a thousand miles an hour. It’s like being at a hurdle that I just can’t hurl myself over.
Last week hit me hard.
I wrote a blog post that wasn’t in my own voice; that didn’t reflect me, my opinions, or my values.
It was meaningless, nonsensical bullshit that I wrote for the sole purpose of getting hits and traffic.
Not that I was being deliberately controversial by any means, in fact, my intention was to be the opposite.
But I’m going to tell you in on a blogger’s worst kept secret, Internet.
Nothing says a good recipe for traffic and instant shares like a good old listicle.
Don’t get me wrong, I love to occasionally entertain the brain-cell destroying past time that is reading a Buzzfeed article. But I agreed with Sabina when she questioned if Buzzfeed has ruined blogging.
The thing is, it’s so much easier to bring in page views with some memes and silliness than it is to sit down, open up and say something real.
In the world of monetization, sponsored posts and viral Facebook shares, taking the shortcut and writing a listicle is incredibly tempting.
As bloggers, we fear that our audiences don’t really have the time to connect.
The result is cheapening our stories and underselling ourselves into bite-sized chunks that readers spew out as quickly as they digest.
The listicle version of this story would be, 1) I took the shortcut and it massively backfired.
But actually, I have so, so much more I want to say than that.
Besides the obvious fact that I should’ve hit “block” and “disable comments“, I actually learnt a lot from that experience.
I learnt that whilst women have the opportunity to be each other’s biggest cheerleaders, too often, they choose to be each other’s worst enemies.
I learnt that expending energy on drama will do little else besides leaching your energy and making you feel pretty crappy.
After all, if you buy tickets to the circus, you can’t act surprised when you see elephants.
Elephant metaphors aside, what I’m trying to say is that I need to start writing in my own god damn voice.
When I was interning, after 8 hours of writing click-bait about Miley Cyrus’ dead dog, I would unzip my bullshit suit, open my laptop and unleash the ugly realness that was my actual voice here on my blog.
Somehow, I messed that up for the sake of a few thousand hits.
What I’m trying to say is, as bloggers, writers, journalists, WHATEVER, we need to write in our own voices. We need to stop underselling ourselves from fear that people won’t engage or think that we’re of value. Because your real voice IS of value – it’s what separates you from everybody else, it’s your “USP” and the most original thing that you have to offer.
So will I ever write a listicle again? Probably. If it’s the right format for my post and doesn’t compromise the quality of what I have to say.
But what I do intend to do a lot more of is trusting in myself and in my audience. I want to write high quality content that I am proud to put my name to. I want to write content that reflects my writing and shows what I can do. I want to tell stories, go on adventures and to take this blog with me.
SO, HERE ARE A FEW REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD ALWAYS WRITE IN YOUR OWN VOICE…
Being disingenuous will be obvious to your readers and as I experienced, massively backfire.
Think of your favourite bloggers – why do you connect with them? For me, it’s because of how they write. They start to feel like my “friends” and I trust what they have to say. After all, if they were underselling themselves, why would I trust anything they had to “sell”? From a beauty product to a hotel recommendation, their voice would immediately lose value. We should strive to be genuine, always.
It will allow you tell your story.
Rather than cheapening and compromising your content, tell it how you want to tell it rather than what you think people will enjoy reading. When you let your own voice come through, you will find that the words spill out on the page in a much more fluid and engaging way.
Because only you can write like you.
Okay, a little bit corny, but this last one is important. There is already so much run-of-the-mill content online. Rather than greying into the background, be yourself and bring something new to the table.
Have you ever had an experience where something you wrote backfired? Do you write in your own voice? Tell me in the comments!