After blogging for over two years and reading many great blogs I've made some determinations about what works… for me.
Let’s face it, the blogs we subscribe to and truly enjoy aren’t all alike. What would be the point of reading five, ten or twenty versions of the same thing? Exactly.
Like most new bloggers I struggled in the beginning to figure out what my blog was about and why I should continue to write. It certainly wasn't a ‘how-to’ blog because I would be the last person to suggest I had all the answers on any given subject.
But that doesn't mean I don't have my own opinions. In fact I'm very opinionated and I get the most traffic and comments on my blog when I voice my opinions.
I discovered that while following ProBlogger’s book 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. It specifically tells you on Day 19 to write an opinion post. The post I wrote from that prompt is, to this day, the most read and shared.
I didn’t take that as a sign to just spew my opinions daily or even weekly. I simply tucked it away and knew when something was really eating at me and I needed to vent it that was okay. I learnt that even when you've found your way with your blog and narrowed down your niche you still need to mix it up once in a while.
My blog is the prelude to my memoir and my writing platform.
I tell stories on my blog. People tend to like my story telling even when the stories aren’t pretty. Discovering my difficult childhood stories were helping others deal with their own childhood demons was all I needed to keep going.
We can all help each other by simply telling our stories in an honest way.
Here are my five best tips for finding your voice:
1. Speak your mind
If you think you should write a certain way or your voice should be tempered to appeal to a particular audience you’re not being true.
The old adage, ‘you can please some of the people some of the time but you can never please all of the people all of the time’, will always ring true.
You may discover, when you speak your mind, you actually speak for many who don’t have a platform but will support yours.
2. Mix it up
The reason I read a variety of blogs is because it keeps the experience fresh and interesting. By the same token I love it when one of the bloggers I read writes something totally unexpected that makes me sit up and take notice.
Why is that interesting? Because it shows you another side to that blogger and makes you feel like you know them better.
I’m not a young girl but even at my age there are only so many stories to tell. In between it’s good to share your humorous or creative side and, occasionally, it's even better to throw your opinions out there.
3. Throw caution to the wind
Annabel Candy was interviewed here on Everyday Bright about how she likes to do something that scares her every day. I think that’s admirable but I’m not that adventurous. However, when I find something that stirs passion in my soul I feel the need to write about it and that can be scary.
This is how the process goes for me… I write like a maniac without any thought to editing. Stream of consciousness all the way. It’s exhilarating!
Then I stop and walk away. My internal dialogue usually goes something like this:
“Wow that really felt good!”
“Sure but you can’t publish it.”
“But I have to publish it. It’s how I really feel.”
“The world doesn’t need to know exactly how you feel!”
“This is important and I want my readers to know this is really me, this is how I feel and I’m not ashamed of it!”
Then with a knot in my stomach I go back and edit.
After that I pace some more and finally with a very shaky finger hit that publish button.
4. Accept the fact that not everyone will share your view
I admit that I love a good argument. I’m open and willing to discuss every conceivable angle of any topic and respect your right to disagree with me.
What I can’t stand is someone disagreeing with me in an ugly way and posting anonymously. I put myself out there and bared my soul the least people can do is share their name in their comment.
If you don’t have the courage of your convictions what have you got?
5. Be honest
We all have many facets to our life and if we are true to ourselves and our readers we will share them.
If you never take chances you’ll never fail. If you never fail you’ll never grow. None of us want that.
So if you want to find your voice speak your mind.
I've shared what helped me find my voice. Now it's time for you to be brave, write honestly and find out what works for you.
Have you ever written an opinion piece? What was the response?
Editor's note: This is a guest post by Barbara Hammond
Barbara Hammond is an artist, writer and published author and illustrator of The Duffy Chronicles, her first children’s book. Blogging made her realize we all have a story and our circumstances do not define us. Barbara is a true optimist and living proof that a good sense of humor and positive attitude can get you through almost anything. Visit Barbara's blog to enjoy her stories.