This guest post is by Nihara of Doing Too Much.
I’ll never forget what my sister said when I showed her the first iteration of my blog. “BOH-ring!,” she announced after scrolling through the first few posts. “It’s all so very dull and generic.” Fortunately, she did have some constructive advice: “You always have the most interesting stories. Why don’t you try telling some of those instead?”
At first I wondered why anybody would be interested in hearing about the little snippets of my life, and what I have learned from my experiences. But after I started writing in my own voice, an amazing thing happened: people started to respond.
I haven’t been blogging long, but I have already learned how to blog better. Here are five good reasons why you, too, should aim to be authentic instead of generic.
1. Being authentic brings something new to the conversation
There’s not much you can write about that someone else hasn’t already covered. But by bringing your unique personal angle to the topic, you can add something new to the discussion.
Rachel Meeks, the voice behind Small Notebook, offers this advice in her ebook, Simple Blogging: Less Computer Time, Better Blogging:
“Everything you could possibly write about has been written about before, but none of those ideas have been written about from your perspective. Nobody else has that special combination of life experiences which influence the way you think. You can weave a unique, personal thread into every story.”
2. Getting a little personal can help you get your point across
When you tell people a little about yourself and your experiences, it’s easier to convey your message. It gives your readers some context—a framework in which to understand what you are trying to say.
Gretchen Rubin, the cheerful writer of The Happiness Project, has found that she “often learn[s] more from one person’s highly idiosyncratic experiences” than she does from “sources that detail universal principles or cite up-to-date studies.” This is why she regularly posts interviews with “interesting people about their insights on happiness.”
If you want to get your message across, it helps to share your “highly idiosyncratic experiences” with your readers.
3. Being authentic inspires and engages people
Opening up and telling people a bit about yourself, in your own words and in your own voice, gets people interested and engaged. They want to jump in and join the conversation!
Here’s what Ken at Mildly Creative has learned: “the more honest you are, the more people seem to respond. I guess there’s something about being human that attracts other humans.”
4. It’s so much easier to be yourself than to be anyone else
When I first started blogging, it felt like I was hearing an echo … of other people’s blogs. I had been reading so much of other people’s writing that I had forgotten the sound of my own voice.
“Be you. Write like you. It’s way more fun. You’ll definitely stick with it longer, and people will enjoy reading you more.”
Once I changed my blogging style to write from my own perspective, a small miracle occurred. Writing blog posts suddenly became incredibly easy.
When you write as yourself, writing isn’t hard work anymore. It’s just telling a story to your friends … and that isn’t very difficult at all.
5. You’ll learn about yourself in the process
Blogging in your own voice can put you on a path to self-discovery. When you open up and let your personality shine through on your blog, you can learn a little bit about yourself with each post.
Just ask Arsene Hodali of The Good Life? | dancePROOF, who blogs just as much for himself as he does for others. He has found that blogging can help you “get your ideas in order” and “find yourself.”
Honest blogging “forces you to … be specific, and take sides,” he writes. “And in doing so, it makes you learn about yourself.”
Do you blog authentically? What other benefits has it given you? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments.
Nihara is (slowly) figuring out how to make the most of her time and her life—and you can too. Read Nihara’s thoughts on how to live a better, saner life at Doing Too Much.