8 Reasons Writer’s Block is Kicking Your Butt (and how to defeat it)

writers block

I am a writer. It’s a core part of my identity. But lately, I’ve been struggling with writer’s block.

And today when I woke up, I knew. I knew that I needed to jump back into it. I was kick of writer’s block kicking my butt.

So I sat down and I wrote a headline. I checked it with the Coschedule Headline Analyzer. Score: 55

I rewrote it. Still 55.

Shit.

I walked around. And then I realized something.

Writer’s block is real.

I/You can’t just sit down and push through it. We must go in and understand it first. Only then can we lovingly get back to writing.

Here’s why you and I might be battling with writer’s block. And how we can overcome it and get back to work.

1. There’s a truth you’re hiding from.

The worst writer’s block I ever experienced was in college. My senior project (called a Div III at Hampshire College), was to write a collection of poems. I thought it would be the best thing ever. I loved writing poetry and suddenly, all I needed to do every day was write a poem.

Oh boy was I wrong.

I was in a terrible relationship, but I wasn’t willing to admit how unhappy I was. Because I was unwilling to face this nasty truth, I could barely force myself to write.

Writing poetry became torture because of this stuck truth.

Now, coming back to my blog after letting it rest for a few months, I feel some truths hiding in the dusty corners of my body.

Here are the truths that are keeping me from writing:

  • I’m ashamed that I stopped blogging for a few months. But I can’t do anything about it.
  • I feel such a strong need to write something perfect, something share-worthy, something for my ideal clients, that I don’t let myself write anything. (Even while claiming I’m anything but a perfectionist. Oops.)
  • I’m a little burnt out and I’m not sure how to get un-burnt out.
  • I shifted my focus away from blogging and now I’m back again, coaching content marketing, and I feel like a weirdo because of it.
  • I want to have all the answers. But I don’t.
  • I struggle to claim my own expertise.
  • I don’t want to get trapped in the stats-hungry approval-seeking always-distracted pattern I found myself in a few years ago, and I’m afraid that if I fully commit to blogging again, I will go there.
  • I lost myself in the online content marketing world. Then I found myself. Now I want to go back into it, but how do I know I will keep being me?

There they are. My truths in all of their beautiful (ugly) glory. And reading over them, bringing to light the places I’m getting in my own way, gives me resolve to write consistently again.

In other words, now that I see my enemies, I can destroy them with a stroke of my keyboard. (Or something like that.)

So…if you find yourself stuck and unable to write, list your truths. You’ll probably get the juices flowing.

2. You feel like everything you write has to be perfect.

I mentioned this in my list of truths, but it bears repeating. Because this nasty devil gets in the way of so many writers and bloggers.

It becomes nearly impossible to write when you feel like you need to create something perfect every time.

Your creative muse can’t be heard when your inner critic keeps shouting, “Nothing you write will be good enough, you fool!”

And the sad but amusing truth is that without writing a lot of throwaway posts, it is very difficult to write truly masterful ones.

Without practice, how can you ever expect to master a craft? Even Harry Potter needed to go to Hogwarts for 7 years before he could defeat Voldemort.

Here’s how to get around that perfectionism:

  • Accept that you are on a path of continuous growth in your blogging and writing, and the only way to get to the next step is to write something.
  • Do another art form where the perfectionism hasn’t taken hold. That will loosen your muscles and remind you that you don’t have to be perfect.
  • Make a goal to write a shitty blog post every month. You might be surprised at the great post you write when you sit down to write a crappy one.
  • Use the rules of writing practice. They have singlehandedly defeated my need for perfectionism many, many times.

3. You’re out of the habit.

This one is huge for me.

It’s like working out. For 8 years (!) I did yoga 3 times a week, every week. I was addicted to it.

Then I moved away from Denver, didn’t find a yoga studio I loved, and stopped. I’ve gone to 2 yoga classes in the past 2 years. (Slinks away in shame.)

The same thing happened with writing. When I first started blogging, I wrote every day. Then it shrunk to 5 times a week. Then 3. Then 2. Then 1. You get the picture.

One of the reasons I haven’t written a post in a few months is simply because I let blogging slip out of my weekly schedule. But once I sat down to write this post, after shaking off a few cobwebs, I was back in business.

And here’s the thing. I looooove writing. Writing this feels like a big drink of water in the desert.

So when I say to make it a habit, it’s less about painstakingly setting aside time to write, and more about remembering how much you love it and fitting it into your day.

You don’t even need to do it at the same time every week. Just give yourself a number of posts to write each week or each month, and then write them.

You can make it more fun for yourself by creating a writing space, making a delicious drink to sip while you write, or coercing your dog to warm your feet while you write.

Once you start writing regularly, it’s a lot easier to keep going.

4. You’re focusing too much on strategy and not on depth or vice versa.

For some people, blogging is a purely strategic move.

For me, it goes deeper. Way deeper.

When I write something, it has to matter to me. It has to contain some nugget of truth. It has to touch down to my core.

So when I try to write posts that are purely results oriented, it feels really hard. Instead of being a pleasurable experience, it’s like wading through sludge.

But when I just write for myself, without taking my business goals into consideration, it’s less exciting. Because I know my post won’t speak to my clients or bring me business.

That’s why it’s so important to find a balance between strategy and honesty. Between you as a business owner and you as a human.

So when you sit down to write, find a topic that lets you intermingle your expertise with your truth. Choose to write posts that deeply resonate inside of you and that speak to your clients as well.

How do you do this? By knowing yourself as well as you possibly can, and by understanding your readers and clients to their core.

When you are an expert on yourself, your work, and your clients, your intuition will naturally guide you to the post topics that serve you and your people the best. It’s a matter of getting curious and trusting yourself.

And if you don’t know yourself and your clients that well yet, just write the best thing you can. This is a process. Remember that.

5. You are stuck in the comparison trap.

You want to write great blog posts to bring in more clients. So you go into the wide world of the internet, and you find posts that other coaches or therapists are writing. You read them for hours, and then you go back to your blog.

And here’s what you end up thinking: “Shit. How can I write anything when everything has already been written?”

So you close your laptop, go watch Netflix, and put blogging off for another day.

Yeah, that feeling sucks. A lot. I know because I’ve experienced it more than once.

But getting through (or around) it isn’t as hard as you think.

Here’s how you get past the comparison trap:

  • Lean into your own expertise and your knowledge of your clients first. You may not be a blogging expert, but you are an expert in your business. Start there. (And if you want to become a blogging ninja, let’s talk.)
  • When you see a post you love, instead of feeling overwhelmed or less-than, get curious. Ask yourself how you can improve upon it or write about it from a different angle.
  • Take a minute to sit down with yourself and give yourself a huge dose of self-love. Remind yourself of how brilliant and amazing you are. And give yourself a hug. Because the only way out of comparing yourself to others is a deep knowledge of your own worth.
  • Focus on learning from your peers instead of comparing yourself to them. What can you learn from the posts you love about how to be a better writer?
The way out of comparing your blog to others is a deep knowledge of your own worth.Click To Tweet

6. You don’t trust your voice.

How do you write?

Do you sit down and hammer out an entire blog post, and then go back and reread it?

Or do you bleed out each paragraph and question yourself the entire time?

You may think that the second option makes for better writing.

It doesn’t. It makes for more painstaking writing.

When you continuously stop and question yourself throughout your writing process, you prevent the flow of words from coming out. And as a result, it takes hours or days longer to write a blog post.

Dude. Stop torturing yourself.

When you sit down to write, grant yourself a temporary pass. Tell yourself, “Self, I will trust you for the entire time I am writing this post. I will let the words flow as they will. I will suspend my internal editor for now.”

During the time you write, only hang out with your inner writer, your inner creative. Your intuitive, trusting, loving self.

After you finish writing, you can invite your editor back in to help you polish your post. Don’t worry. She’ll still be available.

7. You expect your first draft to be fantastic.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. When you finish writing your first draft of your blog post, you don’t have to publish it.

You are allowed to go back and tear it to pieces, rewrite it, rework it, and make it into something way better. Or discard it altogether.

Your first draft doesn’t have to be good. Because no one is going to see it other than you. You can write 5 first drafts in a week and then only salvage one.

That’s okay. At least you’re getting better at writing and blogging.

8. You are product oriented rather than process oriented.

What’s the goal in writing blog posts?

It’s to get more clients, yes. But it’s also waaaaaaay more than that.

In the process of blogging, you…

  • Get clearer about how you uniquely serve your clients
  • Discover what you care about the most
  • Become a better writer
  • Build relationships
  • Exercise self discipline
  • Learn things about yourself you never would have known otherwise

It’s the act of writing that makes all of these delicious things happen.

Get out there and write your next blog post. Your inner writer is waiting for you.Click To Tweet

writer's block

Here are the 8 reasons writer’s block is kicking your butt:

  • You aren’t facing some hidden truths
  • You are being perfectionistic
  • You’re out of the habit
  • You’re not striking a balance between strategy and depth
  • You’re comparing yourself to others
  • You’re not trusting your voice
  • You’re not letting yourself write crappy first drafts
  • You’re focusing too much on product rather than process

Luckily, all of these things can be overcome through trusting yourself, using your intuition, and knowing yourself and your clients deeply. (A nice dose of discipline won’t hurt, either.)

What do you do to overcome writer’s block? Share in the comments below!

How to Write Unforgettable Blog Posts

How to Write Unforgettable Blog Posts

Before we get started, here’s my warning:

Writing powerful posts has much more to do with you than it does with anything I share here.

There are no formulas you can follow to make you a powerful writer.

A decent writer, sure. An engaging one, maybe.

But a writer who makes people feel something, a writer who puts a smile on her reader’s face, a writer whose posts stay with the reader long after they are read…well, you’re already that writer.

All I can do is help you unleash your creativity and writer’s voice.

So. With that said, here’s how you can write truly memorable blog posts.

How to Write Unforgettable Blog PostsClick To Tweet

1. Write from a place of depth and honesty.

Writing that comes from a deep, honest place is just different from writing that doesn’t.

Writing that comes from deep within, writing that is honest to its core, is powerful.Click To Tweet

So when you sit down to blog, make sure that you feel what you’re writing. That it comes from the center of yourself. Or that it comes from a genuine love of your readers and wanting them to learn something essential.

Even as I’m writing this, I’m thinking, Daniela, are you really asking them to do this? Don’t you think it’s a bit much?

But I really don’t.

There are millions of blogs out there. Millions. And the ones you remember are the ones that move you, or teach you something that makes you excited to take action.

So when you write, give yourself a minute to clear out the clutter from your brain.

And then let your creative, writer’s mind take over.

Write what needs to be written. And only that.

When you write in this way, you will learn from your own writing, too. You will learn what you want to teach and how you want to inspire your readers.

And remember, that honest writing doesn’t need to take a lot of preparation or fanfare.

It’s just about trusting yourself to write what needs to be written. That’s it.

2. Zoom in and show us the details.

When you think about the moments that changed your life, you can remember them vividly.

One of my most treasured moments was the first time I traveled to a third world country.

My friend Erin and I were sitting on the back of a boat in Lake Petén in Guatemala. My feet were in the water, the air rushed around me, and I looked out over the green expanse of the lake. Erin grinned widely, and said, “Dude, we’re in Guatemala.” It felt like the world was wide open to us, like nothing was impossible. I’ll never forget that feeling.

Reading that description, you can see the moment, can’t you? You can imagine my feet in the green water, you can feel the wind.

If I had just written, “One of the best times in my life was when I went to Guatemala,” I would be robbing you of the actual experience.

So when you write, give your readers the details. Don’t just tell them what happened, show them how it happened. Even if you’re writing a tutorial, get specific. Take screenshots. Share your own experience with whatever you’re teaching.

You may think that no one wants to know about your dog lying at your feet while you made your latest creation, or that she started licking your toes midway through, but they do. Believe me.

3. Write to connect, not to sell.

Many of us online are here because we want to inspire others, but also, because we want to make money.

That’s wonderful. Really.

But people can tell when your only purpose for writing is to sell.

Instead of focusing on selling, put your energy into making that connection with your reader. Show her that you know her better than she knows herself.

Make her smile in delight when she realizes that you two could be BFFs if you only knew each other in “real life.”

Many marketers will tell you, Don’t focus on the features of your product or service, focus on the benefits. People want to know what’s in it for them.

True. And they also want to know why they should buy from you.

People don’t long to be sold to. They long for connection. They long to be seen and understood.

Yes, they want solutions to their problems. But they also want to get those solutions from people they truly trust.

So shift your thinking about your offerings. Forget about cajoling people into buying from you. Instead, work on creating content that connects.

Let them come to you because they are so excited about what you have to offer.

4. Become a storyteller.

Stories are memorable. Stories teach us about each other and about life. And they don’t need to be long.

In fact, think about that tiny story I wrote above, the one where I was in Lake Petén.

It’s a few sentences long, but in just those few sentences, a whole story unfolds. My first time traveling. The feeling of being young and free. My bare feet in the water show you what kind of 20 year old I was.

And it’s enough. You don’t need any more than that.

Remember that when you write. You can write stories that span a few minutes of your life. You can also write epics, if you want. But tell stories.

Share moments of your life where a change happened. Tell us about your personal transformations, your mistakes, your low points, your moments of sudden insight. Bring us into your world.

You may think your world is too mundane, too boring, too insignificant to share. I promise you it’s not.

5. Read good writing.

I’ve noticed that the voice of whatever book I’m reading also bleeds into my thoughts and my own writing.

Unfortunately, it happens whether I’m reading crappy romance novels or fantastically written epic fantasy novels.

If you want to develop a powerful voice, you must read books that are written masterfully.

Devour great writing and try to stay away from reading crap.

My high school writing teacher used to say that poorly written novels, while they may be easy to read, should be treated like dessert – read sparingly and only after a hearty meal of delicious, well written prose.

I tend to agree.

6. Make us feel something.

If you can make your readers feel something, they won’t forget you.

Make them feel inspired or joyful. Evoke empowerment or surprise.

Even make them shed tears of despair, if that’s your thing.

But make them connect with your writing emotionally.

Whenever you write a post, ask yourself, How do I want my readers to feel while they are reading this? Imagine them reading your writing, and smiling, or sighing with contentment, or laughing hysterically.

Then shape your words around those emotions.

A good rule of thumb – if you feel a certain way while writing, your readers will most likely feel that way while reading your post, as well.

7. Let go.

You know that song, Let It Go? (If not, where have you been for the past 3 years???)

I freaking love it. Because letting go is the best way to write something truly inspired.

When you write, let go of trying to impress your audience.

Let go of needing your words to come out in a certain way.

Let go of wanting to be liked, or internet famous.

Let go of your thoughts and worries about how shareable this particular post is.

Instead, just let the words flow through you. Trust your inner voice to create something incredible.

How to Write Unforgettable Blog Posts

Oh beautiful reader, you are already an amazing writer.

You are already a storyteller, a feeling-creator, a memory crafter.

All you need to do is sit down and get writing.

Your voice and your intuition will do the rest.

How to Get Out of Your Own Way and Write Your Truth

How to Get Out of Your Own Way and Write Your Truth (1)

Does this sound familiar…?

You carve out some precious minutes of your day to write a blog post. You make a cup of delicious coffee to sip while you’re writing it. Then you open your laptop and get ready to write a brilliant blog post.

You’re ready. You’re going to do this. Really.

And then…nothing.

Everything you try to write comes out sounding just…lame.

You start a post, only to stop in the middle. Then you start another one. That one sucks, too. (At least, in your mind.)

Your cynical friend’s voice sounds in your head, You seriously want to be a blogger? Is that still a thing?

Then you hear your writing teacher from 7th grade pipe up, Your writing is…inventive. (Code for If you would just stick to the rubric, your essays would be so much better.)

Geez. How are you ever going to get anything written?

Often, what keeps us from writing consistently isn’t a lack of time. It isn’t because we don’t have anything to say, or because we’re just not disciplined. It’s because we get in our own way. (I am writing “we” because I do this, too.)

What keeps us from writing is usually our own doubts and fears. Here’s how to kick them in the butt.Click To Tweet

1. Get up close and personal with your “inner sweetheart.”

Natalie Goldberg’s book Wild Mind (affiliate link) is one of my favorites.

She provides a short story about her life in each chapter, along with a writing prompt.

One of the prompts is to write a letter to your inner sweetheart.

So often, we give the microphone to our inner critic while our inner sweetheart, the part of us who is nurturing, and loving, and believes in us, is consigned to sit in the back row.

If you were to imagine your inner sweetheart, what would she look like? Smell like? Sound like? What would she say to you, while you’re struggling to complete the first sentence of your blog post?

Mine says, Daniela, you’ve been writing since you were 4 years old. It’s as natural to you as breathing. It’s your birthright. You don’t have to write anything amazing. Just write something true.

She looks like my creative writing teacher from high school, Jana. Jana has long, brown hair. She always has a smile on her face. And just by being near her, you know that your words matter.

2. Try some unbridled writing.

Unbridled writing is writing without boundaries, writing whose only purpose is to get to the core of your truth.

You might be thinking, Geez. That sounds hard.

It isn’t. Are you ready to learn how to write your truth?

Step 1: Get out something to write on. It doesn’t have to be pretty. It can be a lined notebook from Walgreens, an Evernote folder, or even a piece of printer paper. (I use Evernote and Scrivener, because I literally can’t write by hand anymore. It hurts too much.)

Step 2: Set a timer for 5 minutes. (Or 10, if you’re really brave.)

Step 3: Start with one of these phrases:

I remember…
What I really want to write is…
I feel…
Today, I am thinking about…
If no one were to read this, I would want to write…

Step 4: Write without stopping until the timer goes off.

This is very important. Do. Not. Stop. Writing. Until it’s time.

Your brain will try to interrupt. Your brain will say, That’s stupid. Don’t write that. Eeek. Don’t go there.

But if you keep writing, if you keep your pen or your keyboard going, you will cut through all of the bullshit that your mind tries to spew at you.

No matter what you do, don’t delete. Don’t cross out. Don’t correct.

Do trust yourself. Do write the things you’re afraid to write about. It’s okay. You are safe.

Let yourself write whatever you need to write. No one needs to see it.

Step 5: When you’re done, read it out loud.

Read it to yourself, or call a close friend and read it to her. Give your words a voice.

Read it loudly, proudly, and unapologetically.

Step 6: Repeat steps 1–5 tomorrow.

Jana called this type of writing Finger Exercises because it was writing without pause. Natalie Goldberg calls it writing practice. I call it Unbridled Writing. And it’s the best way to access your voice and your truth. So do it often and do it lovingly.

3. Write a list of your fears about writing and ritually destroy it.

What thoughts keep you from writing? Write them down to destroy their power over you.

My negative, writing-destroying thoughts:

Don’t write that, your audience isn’t interested in it.
What if they lose trust in you when they see that you struggle, too?
Shouldn’t you be more…I don’t know…perky?
Wow. If you publish that, people will think you’re full of yourself. Hold back on the self-celebration.
People don’t care about your life. Really. They just want how-to’s.

I could go on…but I think you get the picture.

Write your fears down and then get rid of them. Write them on a piece of notebook paper and tear it up or burn it.

Make a document with your fears and then drag it into the virtual trash.

My friend Brenda writes her negative thoughts on slips of paper and then puts them into a box. She figures she can look at them later if she needs to – but by getting them out of her head and into the box, she forces them to relinquish their power over her.

Create your own ritual. Do what you need to do to destroy those negative thoughts.

4. Write from your core.

I believe that each of us (yes, that includes you) has a powerful well inside where true writing emerges.

Part of Unbridled Writing is writing from your core. Writing from that deep, deep place of wisdom and experience. When you read a blog post that speaks to your heart, know it’s written from that place.

So, before you write, connect to that core.

Stand with your feet firmly planted on the ground. Feel the strength in your legs. Feel your own power. And then write from there.

Write from a place of genuine self-acceptance.

Even if you need to lose weight, even if your house is messy, even if you haven’t paid your taxes, you still have that inner well. And that’s what really matters when you write. So close your eyes, put your hand on your belly, breathe, and tap into your strength.

5. Love the writing unconditionally.

When you write a blog post, don’t think, It’s good if it gets lots of social shares. It’s worthy if it gets lots of traffic. It’s worthwhile if people comment on it.

No.

Your writing matters if it’s true.

It matters if it’s written from a place of wanting to connect.

Even if no one notices it, it’s still important. It still means something. Because you took the time and you had the courage to sit down and create.

Social shares, traffic, comments, and whatever other stats you’re tracking have less to do with your writing and more to do with your promotional strategy, your online reach, etc.

A better gauge of your writing’s worth? Your intuition.

How to Get Out of Your Own Way and Write Your Truth

The next time you sit down to write and nothing will come out, do this:

  • Give voice to your inner sweetheart
  • Try some Unbridled Writing
  • Ritually throw away your negative self talk
  • Tap into your powerful core
  • Love the writing unconditionally

It’s incredibly important that you do these things. Because the world needs to hear your voice.

How to Fall Deliriously in Love With Writing (Again)

How to Fall Deliriously in Love With Writing (Again)

Pour yourself a cup of steaming coffee (or tea) and make it strong.

Pull up a chair (one of those cozy ones that you can really sink into).

Take a seat. Get comfortable.

It’s story time.

This story is about me (and I want you to read it even though all of the other blogging gurus have told me not to write about myself).

This story is a heartbreaker. It’s about my breakup with one of the great loves of my life.

(But, like any great love story, it ends with a make out session in the rain. Well…kind of.)

Ready? Here we go.

(Imagine the music that plays before a flashback in one of those old corny shows like Saved By The Bell. Yeah, you’ve got it.)

In December of 2014, I decided to start this blog.

I wanted to write again, because writing has always sustained me, ever since I was a hopeless romantic in middle school. I would write love stories every night in which I was the focus of not only one, but two boys’ affections. (During the day, I was a pimply 13 year old with a Jewfro and braces.)

When I first started this blog, I was writing every single day.

And I looooved it. I woke up ready to put my fingers to the keys of my keyboard. I often didn’t even know what I would write about. I just wanted it. I hungered for my own words.

Then I cut down to 5 times a week. I still craved writing, but I figured I needed to live my life, too.

After a few weeks of this, it went down to 3 times a week. Then twice. Then once.

And…for the past few months, I’ve only been writing every other week. Sometimes, not even that much.

Writing and I are officially on the rocks.

It’s not that I don’t still love her. (Because writing is obviously a woman.)

It’s that I’ve put all of these expectations, all of these restrictions, on my relationship with writing.

I can’t write a blog post if I can’t share it on all of my group boards on Pinterest.

I can’t write a blog post if it doesn’t speak directly to my target audience.

I can’t write a blog post if the same topic has been written before.

I can’t write a blog post if it doesn’t fit into a nicely bulleted list, with subheadings and click to tweets.

And because of my self-imposed restrictions, I don’t love writing anymore.

Here’s how I used to write:

I would set a timer. I would write a sentence to start me off. And then I would GO. I wrote the truest, scariest, most delicious things that came from the most hidden layer of myself.

I wrote about the long forgotten moments of my life, moments that feel like treasures. Not like gold, but like treasures that you find in a yard sale, or in your grandmother’s basement. The one of a kind moments that forever changed me. That rocked my world.

I used to write nakedly, unabashedly. All of the broken parts of myself were laid bare, glittering as they were brought into the light.

Write nakedly. Write unabashedly. Bring the broken parts of yourself glittering into the light. Click To Tweet

In this crazy online world, I’ve stopped writing like that.

My words have stopped feeling like a lifeline and started feeling like handcuffs.

It’s hard to be honest when you want people to like you.

It’s hard to be vulnerable when you’re already wondering how many times your post is going to be shared.

It’s hard to keep writing when you’ve stripped away all of the beauty and the mystery of writing.

Yes, writing is a tool for connecting and building an audience. An incredibly powerful one.

But it’s also a vehicle for connecting to yourself.

I tell other women their voices are powerful.

I help them celebrate what is unique and vibrant about them, the things that they don’t think to celebrate, because they take them for granted.

And part of why I do that is that I have the same struggle. I struggle to own my own power, to use my own voice in a way that’s real and true and that feels good.

I want this post to be a turning point.

The start of using my voice in the most audacious way possible: honestly and without fear.

blog writing

This post is the beginning of me and writing getting back together.

Me and writing, sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G.

(You know, like the amazing kiss at the end of the movie that you want to watch over and over.)

Things are about to get steamy.

Stay tuned.

43 Creators Share How to Find Your Voice Online

43 Creators Share How to Find Your Voice Online

Do you feel like you’ve found your voice online?

Many say it’s a lifelong task to truly find your voice as a blogger, business owner and creator.

I’ve been writing since I was 4 years old. I would tell my mom stories as she dutifully wrote them down in a journal with flowers on the cover. So I’ve been honing my writer’s voice for 30 years. (Eek!)

Yet, when I started my online presence, it still took me awhile to trust my own voice. It took experimentation and time to slowly sift through my doubts and fears to find my online voice.

The process of finding your voice online is a personal one, and looks a bit different for every platform creator and blogger.

Which is why I asked these 43 creators, bloggers, and business owners to share how they found their online voices.

I encourage you to check out their websites to learn more about them after you’ve read this post.

 

Check out this infographic for the highlights, or skip ahead to read the full responses.

Infographic - Finding Your Voice Roundup Post

 

Chris GuillebeauChris Guillebeau, Traveler, Writer, and Entrepreneur

Finding your voice is a lifelong journey, but for me I found it through striving and experimentation.

I wasn’t necessarily striving to “find my voice,” I was striving to find my life—my authentic self.

Once I began to understand what I was good at (and just as important, what I was motivated to do), exploring and experimenting with strategies of expression came much easier.

Chris Guillebeau || @ChrisGuillebeau

I wasn't necessarily striving to 'find my voice,' I was striving to find my life.Click To Tweet

AlexTooby

Alex Tooby, Instagram Expert

This little thing you’ve probably heard of… trial and error! To find your voice you need to be willing to put yourself out there, take risks, and make mistakes.

I transitioned from freelance graphic designer, to running my own social media consulting business. I was excited to get my first few clients only to realize that I didn’t actually enjoy what I was doing. Writing tweets and Google+ posts about someone else’s business didn’t bring me the joy that I thought it would.

So I decided to hone in on my passion a bit more.

I knew I loved social media and my graphic design background gave me an appreciation for quality visuals, so as you may have guessed, I fell in love with Instagram instantaneously.

I then decided why not ditch all of the things that don’t make me happy, and focus on the ones that do? That’s when everything started getting better for me. I now run a successful business creating Instagram Marketing e-courses for business owners and I’ve never been happier, or had a better income!

Without getting my feet wet in other areas of business I never would have found out what I was best at, or what made me the happiest. So no matter what you do, don’t wait, take action, take risks, and put yourself out there! Your voice will soon follow.

 AlexTooby.com || @InstaWithAlex

Sue Anne DunlevieSue Anne Dunlevie, Blogging Expert

Here are my three best tips for finding your voice (I followed them to find my voice).

  1. Speak your mind: 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.
  2. Accept the fact that not everyone will share your view: Have the courage of your convictions and say what needs to be said.
  3. Be honest: If you never take chances, you’ll never fail. If you never fail, you’ll never grow. None of us wants that.

Successful Blogging || @SueAnneDunlevie

To find your voice, speak your mind, accept that not everyone will agree with you, & be honest.Click To Tweet

Dre BeltramiDre Beltrami, Branding Expert

Finding my voice was a long journey for me.

The first thing I had to do was stop devouring other’s voices as I had completely lost mine by doing so.

Next, I did a lot of writing & speaking exercises where I’d take my ‘robotic marketing’ content/posts and speak them out loud into a recorder as though I was just chattin’ up my bestie. Then I take those recordings and listen to them over and over so I could get reconnected with how I rolled when the ‘professional pressure’ was off.

It took being very conscious of the actual ways I said things, the frequently used words that litter my vocabulary, and just being brave enough to write the way I really talk.

The whole finding my voice thang really clicked for me when I realized that blogging and writing copy are NOT the same beast as corporate or educational writing, which were the only writing I’d ever done. Once I was able to let those hang ups and limitations go and write true to my form, the comfort grew and eventually became second nature.

And hot damn if it isn’t a hell of a lot easier to write these days…and write quickly! ;)”

The Branded Solopreneur || @DreBeltrami

I found by voice by being brave enough to write the way I really talk.Click To Tweet

Adam ConnellAdam Connell, Blogging Expert

When I started blogging I didn’t consider following any specific steps to develop my blogging voice. I just started writing, and kept on writing. Eventually my writing style developed and I found what I was most comfortable writing about.

For me, it all comes down to writing about what you enjoy. Passion is the key to allowing your true voice to shine through. It takes time, but when you persevere, you’ll reap the rewards.

Blogging Wizard || @AdamJayC

Passion is the key to allowing your true voice to shine through.Click To Tweet

MarianneMarianne Manthey, Design Expert

I’m not sure that finding my voice was an actual conscious decision, but I just started writing as if I was talking to a friend who wanted to know how to do something. I like to throw in playful words here and there (like “Yay!” and “totally”) to make the tone of my writing casual and approachable, but it’s all the way I actually talk in real life.

Design Your Own Blog || @Marianney

I found my voice when I wrote like I was talking to a friend who wanted to know how to do something. Click To Tweet

Ileane SmithIleane Smith, Blogging and YouTube Expert

When I started blogging in 2009, commenting on blogs was one of the ways I developed my writing style. The conversations would go back and forth and in the comment section of a blog post much more often they do today.

Now, we’re seeing video and live streaming platforms come to the forefront. It seems like everyone with an iPhone can start their own broadcast show. I recommend experimenting with platforms like Periscope, YouTube Live, Blab and Facebook Live. They will help you hone your public speaking skills and your writing skills at the same time.

I have tutorials for Blab, YouTube Live and Periscope on my YouTube channel  and my blog if you need help getting started. I really hope to see more people putting aside their fear of getting on camera and jumping on a live stream so they can engage and interact with their audience in real-time.

Ileane Smith.com || @BasicBlogTips

Jumping on a live stream will hone your public speaking skills & your writing skills at the same time.Click To Tweet

Profile-picture-Tor-Refsland-2016Tor Refsland, Blogger Outreach Expert

Of all the cool stuff that I have done in my soon 1,5 year of blogging, from getting 20,231 page views from my first strategic post, winning several awards, interviewing Neil Patel – to being interviewed on John Lee Dumas´s #1 business podcast EOFire, I honesty must admit…

…that finding my voice a.k.a writing style was definitely the HARDEST thing to do.

Why?

Because when you enter the blogging space for the first time, and you have never done anything remotely similar before…

…it´s like being a kid and changing school in your senior year at junior high (and if you are wondering, yeah, that actually happened to me).

You start in a new class as the new boy or girl, and the other kids know each other from the early stages of childhood. The strong relationships have already been formed YEARS ago, and the same goes for the class community´s unwritten rules and the hierarchy of popularity.

You are insecure, but worst of all…

…you are AFRAID.

Afraid that you are going to do something weird that will make you stand out.

Why?

Because that will turn your new classmates into a pack of hungry hyenas, and they will eat you alive.

So what do you do?

You go every morning to school and all you are thinking about is what you can do to FIT IN.

You are desperately craving for other people to like you, but you are so afraid to show your personality, that you will seal your personality behind a fake exterior, looking and acting like everyone else.

But here is the kicker

People won´t be able to have the opportunity to judge if you are a person they like or not, if you are not…

wait for it…

showing your PERSONALITY.

The same goes for blogging.

When I first started writing, I was afraid to something wrong.

I was afraid that people would dislike what I wrote.

And hey, it´s scary as HECK to go out of your comfort zone and show your private thoughts with the world, right?

So what did I do?

I tried to emulate successful bloggers. But it just made me look like a mini-him or mini-her.

Who wants to be a copycat?

Then I started to focus on studying the writing style of the best bloggers out there.

Note: There is a big difference from studying the best book authors and the best blog writers. The way they write is completely different.

I studied their openings. Their transitions. Their conclusions. Their call to actions. But more importantly, their flow and how they managed to get their personality through.

I had a big challenge since my background was in the IT-business, and the only type of writing I had done in the last 4 years was long, formal, detailed and boring reports.

So if I didn´t want to put my readers to eternal sleep with my writing style, I had to “forget” everything I thought I knew about writing…

…and start to learn to write again.

This time I was going to learn blog writing.

I started to ask myself the question: “How would I say this sentence to a friend?”

So I started writing like I talked.

And the results?

I found my writing style. But more importantly, the way I write is now reflecting my personality.

And 95% of all of my accomplishments is a direct result from me being able to find my unique writing style…

showing my personality.

You might be thinking “Okay, Tor. Finding your writing style sounds cool and all that. But does it REALLY work?”

Good question.

Judge for yourself…

I won the “Most epic blog post” award on Jon Morrow´s blog Boost Blog Traffic (now called Smart Blogger).

And my blog got awarded as the #50 Best Personal Development Blog in 2016 by Wisdom Times (Tim Ferris was #2).

I have also gotten great feedback from a lot of influencers about my writing style.

Want more success with your blog?

It all starts with YOU finding your voice.

Do that NOW.

You can do it!

Time Management Chef || @TorRefsland

95% of all of my accomplishments are a direct result of me being able to find my unique writing style.Click To Tweet

Ryan BiddulphRyan Biddulph, Ebook Writer, Blogger, and Traveler

By falling in love with writing I found my writing voice.

Because after I decided to really enjoy writing, and to have fun with it, I wrote a bunch each day. And as I wrote a bunch each day I stripped away the self conscious garbage which diluted my writing voice.

Write, write and write some more, I say. Sure hasn’t hurt me 🙂

But first, make sure you REALLY have fun writing. Don’t work hard; have fun, and then the writing itself and your writing practice is the reward.

Blogging from Paradise || @RyanBiddulph

By falling in love with writing, I found my writer's voice. Click To Tweet

Mike AlltonMike Allton, Content Marketing Practitioner

Sad to say, it took some time to find my voice.

Though, to be fair, for the first 5 years, my focus was on a service business and I was blogging to help promote it.

But in that time, I discovered several things:

1. I loved to write!
2. I loved to write about social media.

And third, I discovered a real audience for articles about social media, articles that detailed how to do things.

In the years since, I’ve written many different kinds of articles on a variety of topics, but it’s always the How To articles that resonate the most and perform the best. That’s my voice. The Content Marketing Practitioner who constantly asks questions and experiments, and then shares those findings with a hungry audience.

The Social Media Hat || @SocialMediaHats

I found my voice by seeing which articles resonate the most and perform the best.Click To Tweet

Rebecca TraceyRebecca Tracey, Business Coach

I’m not sure if I ever “found” my voice… because I don’t think I lost it in the first place.

I used to write more like I write, and now I write more like I speak.

Reading posts out loud definitely helps them to sound more like me.

Ditto with leaving them for a few days and coming back with fresh eyes.

A glass of whiskey while writing never hurt either.

The Uncaged Life || @Rebecca_Tracey

I'm not sure if I ever 'found' my voice... because I don't think I lost it in the first place. Click To Tweet

Kyla-White-Dress-Front-PageKyla Roma, Business Coach and Digital Strategist

The most reliable way I used to find my voice as a business owner and blogger was maddeningly simple: I used it.

I blogged once or twice a week for years, I thought about what I loved about other bloggers and my favourite novelists. At times, I read a lot and other times I stopped reading completely when I felt too aware of how I was writing, or was worried about accidentally mimicking my mentors.

I’ve written at home while a plumber crashed through our walls, at my day job between tasks and in coffee shops when writing started to feel like coal mining.

I’ve allowed myself to try new things without being too concerned about their success. I’ve tried writing listical posts, doing case studies, podcasts, webinars and anything else that seemed like it might be a fun way of creating content. I’ve written by dictating, writing a post from start to finish, and by working with a copywriter when writing is just too hard for a season.

I read my posts out loud before I publish them, and make sure they sound like how I speak. I have a subscription to Grammarly to make sure they make sense.

I try to remind myself to feel encouraged that almost all of our favourite books were written by authors who wrote in tiny chunks of time diligently stolen away from daily life.

Mostly, I’ve found my voice by remembering that publishing is the goal and that I can be flexible in my methods along the way.

Kyla Roma || @KylaRoma

The most reliable way I used to find my voice as a blogger was maddeningly simple: I used it.Click To Tweet

brent-jonesBrent Jones, Freelancing Expert

Finding my voice as both a blogger and a solopreneur took time.

I must admit, when I first endeavored to build my online, service-based business back in 2014, I was at a bit of a loss. I was a fairly persuasive writer, but I found myself second guessing my professionalism in everything I wrote. I wanted to be taken seriously as an independent freelancer, and I often found myself writing in a stuffy, corporate manner.

What I quickly discovered was that I came across dull, arrogant, and unable to relate to my target audience.

It wasn’t until I let a bit of my personality shine through — my awkward, quirky side — that people started to resonate a bit more with what I had to say. After all, my audience and my clients were buying into me, not just into the services I offered.

As the saying goes, “”People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.””

I took it a step further and began writing as I would speak everywhere that I could… that included blog posts, email broadcasts, social media posts, proposals, and so forth. I also developed more comfort in simply being myself by producing video content, which I found to be highly effective at engaging with my audience.

As unoriginal as it may sound, my best advice to new bloggers and solopreneurs is to simply be yourself. No, you don’t need to reveal everything online about your misadventures from last weekend, but you do need to remember that people buy from people they like and trust. And there’s something extremely attractive about genuine authenticity.

Brent Jones Online || @BrentJOnline

It wasn't until I let a bit of my personality shine through that people started to resonate a bit more with what I had to say.Click To Tweet

Farideh-Headshot-whitecircle-1Farideh Ceasar, Launch Expert and Musician

Experience & Experimentation.

Before my current business, I was a musician. I learned through thousands of hours on stage to be really honest about who I am and how to share my story.

When the crowd lost interest, or we were out of touch, I noticed that I wasn’t being myself. At the end of a really great show, even when I was messing up, as long as I was myself – the show went great! Actually, the MORE I could be myself, the better the show went.

When I started my online business, I guessed that this would likely be true here as well. However, I was nervous to discover what parts of myself and how much of my story to share.

We don’t have to share everything about ourselves to have an authentic voice. I started with small stories here and there and found readers who adored my quirky ways and funny stories. I deliver business advice but I didn’t have to be boring or conservative – I could be myself.

Farideh || @FaridehCeasar

I learned through thousands of hours onstage to be really honest about who I am and how to share my story.Click To Tweet

Shannon HernandezShannon Hernandez, Writing and Content Expert

I found my voice as a business owner by writing everyday and speaking the truth.

I found things in my industry that infuriate me, and I wrote pieces about how to make the content and copywriting world a better space for everyone who works in it, but mainly for the clients who need our services. I’ve written strong pieces on why I am so against content mills and why cheap copy hurts brands.

I’ve also found my voice by appearing on lots of podcasts, hosted by others. There’s just something that gets me going when I’m live and people are asking me questions about why I do what I do, and why I am so passionate about helping people with the words for their brands.

I use this same method when I coach others in their own content creation.

You must take a stand, be authentic, and voice your opinions, because wallflowers generally don’t get recognized. This doesn’t mean you have to be rude, but you must speak up for your brand and what you believe in. This, to me, is a brand voice that attracts attention!

The Writing Whisperer || @MSHWrites

You must take a stand, be authentic, and voice your opinions.Click To Tweet

Catherine JustCatherine Just, Photographer

I found my voice as a business owner by taking action and creating my business.

I shift and grow as I go. I find what is true for me by creating offerings and putting them out there in the world and seeing how it feels to me and to the community I’m serving.

I’ve put things out there that I put my heart and soul in, but after it goes out to the world I realize it’s not actually want to be doing or saying… so my voice develops by using it.

I can’t really know my vision or find my way or platform or focus without moving into whatever excites me at the moment and putting in on for size.

I write the way I talk. I don’t think about it being or sounding professional or coming off a certain way… I’m just myself. That’s the voice I use the most.

The one I use all day long. I give myself permission to change and shift and that is as much a part of my voice as what I’m standing firm in.

Catherine Just || @CJust

I give myself permission to change and shift. That is as much a part of my voice as what I'm standing firm in.Click To Tweet

Kathy PineKathy Pine, Web Designer and Coach

The truth of finding my blogging voice, is that the more I blog, the more I feel like I get more honest – more authentic. As much as I have always tried to be authentic, I also find that with more practice, I get closer to being able to share my true deep thoughts, and feel safer letting them shine through.

When I first started blogging, I wrote simply for me. But, when I realized that the best blogs were geared towards the audience – and answered a “what’s in it for me,” I changed tactics. And it became lonely – trying to think of what people cared about and trying to be an “expert.” I had so many pieces of advice to give, knowledge from my career as a web designer that I could give to both freelancers and entrepreneurs… but I didn’t feel passionately about these articles (best wordpress themes, marketing tactics, etc.).

So I mixed in articles about other things I cared about too – I knew my blog was a pathway to finding my passions – and I began writing as well about parenting considerations, inspiration sources, productivity and systems for moms to make life more easy, manageable and fun. I found that I was way more passionate about these topics… and it took some time to weed out how I could truly have a blog that reflected what I was passionate about, but I knew it was the only way I would keep my blog up, is if I was excited about the community and discussion I was creating.

I still struggle, sometimes, to weigh writing about my passion with trying to be helpful…. But I certainly have found that the only way I can feel good about my blogging is to write from the heart. And that, is how I found my blogging voice.”

This Cherished Life || @acherishedlife

The more I blog, the more I feel like I get more honest – more authentic.Click To Tweet

Lacy-trench-headshotLacy Boggs, Blogging Expert

I find that the fastest and easiest way to create unique copy is to uncover a brand hook.

It could be a personality trait, part of your story, a metaphor you use, etc.

For example, my brand is based on the noir/secret agent metaphor, which informs a lot of my copy, like the idea that I go “undercover” as your writer.

In addition, I have a film degree, so a lot of times I’ll use film metaphors and language in my copy as well. Once you have that brand hook, everything else becomes a thousand times easier to write, because it gives you a lens through which to focus.

LacyBoggs.com || @blogspiration42

Once you have a brand hook, everything else becomes a thousand times easier to write. Click To Tweet

Yoneco EvansYoneco Evans, Business Coach and Podcaster

For me, it started with unplugging from all the other noise.

We spend so much time reading, admiring, and following other people, that we don’t even notice ourselves morphing into them. So, I took a step back to figure out what I want to say and how it feels most natural for me to say it.

What are the conversations I want to lead? Whom do I want to engage in those conversations? What are the things I’d never say or write about? What part of myself do I most want to share in a particular post?

Figuring those things out were key for me and a reminder that I actually LIKE writing.

Yoneco Evans || @YonecoEvans

Finding my voice started with unplugging from all the other noise.Click To Tweet

LisaHaggisLisa Haggis, Branding Expert

Two things have made a big difference for me: first, writing what I feel most drawn to say at any given moment. When the passion for a topic is fresh and alive, both the content and the personality flow a lot easier.

The second thing is finding the right format for my content. As an over-thinker, traditional blog posts give me too much opportunity to edit out personality and human mistakes (and they can come across as all-business as a result.) I’ve realized that I’m best in more impromptu situations, like answering questions or creating live video. From there, I can repurpose content into written format if I wish!

LisaHaggis.com || @LisaHaggis

Write what you're most drawn to say in a given moment, and find the right format for your content.Click To Tweet

rm_bioRM Harrison, Business Coach

I’ve always had a pretty strong “voice”, which comes through most naturally in real-time conversations with people.

So the key to finding my writing style was to approach writing like I did my conversations.

Translating my voice into good content still isn’t a perfect process for me, though. Positive feedback from my readers and followers has helped me to refine my message. But my secret weapon has been my fabulous writing coach, who helps me keep my writing grounded, clear and focused.

RMHarrison.com || @hellormharrison

The key to finding my writing style was to approach writing like I did my conversations. Click To Tweet

Kathryn BrownKathryn Brown, Productivity and Work-Life Balance Coach.

I think that there were really three strategies I used to find my voice in my writing. In fact, I still use these same strategies any time I write a piece of content — a blog post, content for a master class, or copy for my website.

The first strategy I use is to talk to other business owners as often as I can. I love to get on Skype (or in person!) and just chat with them to find out what they do in their business and to share what I’m up to as well. How this helps me is that it makes me really clarify how what I do fits into our online space. It allows me to listen to their struggles and lets me ponder how what I do might help them.

The second strategy is that I write every. single. day. The writing isn’t always business-related, but it is a daily practice that allows me to flesh out new ideas that may very well show up in the content I write. It also means that I publish blog content weekly, and by writing daily, I always have plenty of ideas that can be developed into a blog post.

The third strategy is probably the most impactful one for me. I look at my blog as a conversation that I would have with one person.

I remember when I first started blogging, I would pretend that I was having coffee with someone.

I’d start the conversation with a question — and ask what they thought about a topic. Then, I’d think about how they might answer and how I would respond to keep the conversation going.

If I was having trouble “finding the words” to type, I would pull out my smart phone and record this “pretend” conversation and just talk. I’d do this a few different times, and then play back the recordings and really listen. In fact, I’d take notes of key phrases I’d use, how I tended to transition from a question to an answer, what my “”filler”” words were and how to use them to my advantage.

What I noticed was that I developed a rhythm to how I talked and I used that to structure my posts and my content in general.

But, just like with everything, my style is a work in progress and my style will continue to evolve as my business grows.

Creating Your Plan || @CreatingYrPlan

I look at my blog as a conversation that I would have with one person. Click To Tweet

Brenda ErrichielloBrenda Errichiello, Editor and Writer

For me, there were two key steps in finding my online voice.

The first was simply practice–it’s been something I’ve been developing over four years of writing and working online.

The second, more immediately actionable, way was letting go of the idea of impressing someone with my writing. When I began to relax and become less attached to making someone feel a way about me or have a positive opinion of me because of my writing, my online voice shifted into a much more natural, much more conversational version of itself…and I stopped cringing every time I looked back at something I had written months before.

Forest North Books || @forest_brenda

I found my voice by letting go of the idea of impressing someone with my writing. Click To Tweet

kerstinKerstin Cable, Language and Online Education Teacher

I am not sure I really found my voice – it was always there.

My first post stands on my blog even today and it feels true to what I was trying to do. The “how” was to commit to a theme, to talk about what I care about and to work hard on developing my style.

The quality of my post is what’s changed: I am a way better writer now, and can structure blog posts to fit in with what I want them to achieve.

Fluent Language || @KerstinHammes

Robin-FolletteRobin Follette, Writer

A simple statement made by a friend helped me realize my voice has always been here. “Write the way you speak.”

I’d felt like I needed to write in a way that matches the well-established bloggers.

Everything changed when I starting writing the same way I speak when telling stories.

Relax. Be yourself. Your readers are interested in you as a person as well as what you have to offer.

A Life in the Wild || @ALifeintheWild

Relax. Be yourself. Your readers are interested in you as a person as well as what you have to offer.Click To Tweet

Karen HuttonKaren Hutton, Photographer

For me, it’s been a two-pronged approach. First, getting super clear on what I most love, what I want to talk about, create around, then what I want to do with that, how I want to be of service in the world. I have to measure any of my results against that, because no matter how well things are going, if they don’t make me happy, then it makes no sense.

I have to be really honest with myself about what feels best, makes me the most joyful, determine those things that I would do for nothing I love it so much. For me, there are a few things… and luckily, they all tie together.

From there, it’s been a matter of experimentation. Having ideas, trying them out, measuring responses to in social media, in comments on my blog, in opportunities that happen and in my business.

I’ve learned a lot this way about how I want to show up, how to make myself heard in the way I want to be. It’s helped me figure out how to harness all of my talents, skills and point of view into a focused voice that resonates through my being and work whether I’m writing, speaking, photographing.

It’s consistent. And it grows and evolves as I do, because the process I use to stay in touch with it is dynamic, alive and evolving too.

Finding your unique voice takes a combination of soul-searching, honesty, discovering ones’ truth, action and discernment. It’s not easy, but it sometimes feel like the most worthwhile work we can do.

Karen Hutton || @KarenHutton

Finding your voice takes a combination of soul-searching, honesty, discovering ones' truth, & action. Click To Tweet

Rachel WolanyRachel Wolany, Self Development Blogger

My voice was never the problem. I knew I was a great storyteller. Especially when I was comfortable with the people I was around. However, I lacked confidence when sharing the same great stories with strangers.

My struggle was internal. Wanting to break out and share my ideas but never having enough guts to do so. Hour upon hour and page after page of writing left without an audience.

It began when I decide to face some of my biggest fears. First I started up at a Toastmasters Group. Public speaking in front of strangers. A harrowing experience leading up to the talk, then a thrilling exhilaration after having met my first challenge. I did this on and off for about ten years. Yet it felt as if I was still hiding. I had to go further.

My next step was YouTube. I wanted to post some of my ideas on the net. See if I could do it. The angst I felt writing the project, practicing, filming and then publishing.

That’s when I started my blog. The build up to this left me with sleepless nights and continued torment. So much so that I got sick of it. Moved forward and got it done.

I’ve been blogging a little over a year now, and it was probably one of the best things I have ever done. It was only yesterday I reflected on how scared and pressured I felt before pressing the publish button on my WordPress site.

Now it seems that I enjoy the whole process and I don’t know where I would be without my voice.

Dig a Little Deeper || @TheDigger0

Finding my voice began when I decided to face my biggest fears.Click To Tweet

Missy MillerMissy Miller, Mom of 7 and School Bus Conversion Expert

I found my blogging voice by listening to the way I talk.

It also helped me to ask my close friends to tell me what words and phrases that I frequently used when talking to them. Then, I sat down and wrote a blog post without thinking about who would read the post. I just wrote on paper the way I talk.

When I learned to see my screen as a person sitting across from me at my kitchen table while we had a conversation, my voice flowed through the blog post.

Discovering Us Bus || @DiscoveringUs9

See your computer screen as a person sitting across from you at your kitchen table. Click To Tweet

Laura WilliamsLaura Williams, Business Coach

Finding your blog voice is a case of recognising and using your actual voice. Of coming across like an actual human being that you readers can relate to. Getting your ‘real you’ out there on your blog is the easiest way to find your voice.

So, how do you recognise the ‘real you’ in the first place? Especially if you’re used to censoring yourself in real life not to upset people. Or cause an argument. Or because no one ‘gets you’.

Here’s my tip. What are you like on a night out, when you’ve ‘had a few’? (At the point *before* slurring your speech and falling over then telling everyone you love them before bursting into tears and going to sleep in a corner) When we’ve drunk a bit we lose our inhibitions, we don’t internally edit before we speak, we become more ‘us’ without worrying what people think.

Do you get more chatty? The one dancing on the tables? Are you always the decision maker? Or in charge of the money? Are you the one that looks after the friend crying in the corner? As for me, I let my closet exhibitionist out and become a dafter, chattier, more giggly version of me!

When you do your final blog post edits, read your post out loud as that uninhibited version of you instead of the you that’s concentrating on following a million ‘blogging rules’ to make your post ‘perfect‘. My first drafts are always very serious and, I admit it, a bit dull! So I go back through and add in my ‘me-isms’ (the little side comments, weird words, exaggerated statements and millions of exclamation marks!! And even occasionally an emoji ;))

You don’t have to be loud, or shocking, or aggressive for your voice to stand out. You just have to be unmistakably and consistently you.

The Badass Business Mum || @badassbizmums

You don't have to be loud or shocking for your voice to stand out. You just have to be unmistakably you. Click To Tweet

Lisa TannerLisa Tanner, Freelance Writer

Writing posts used to be a challenge.

I had all these images in my mind about what my posts “should” be like. I wanted to imitate this blogger or that blogger, so I followed all the “blogging rules”. Posts took me forever to write and weren’t enjoyable.

Then I started creating my course, with a desire to monetize my blog. I was writing highly personable content, and a lot of it. When I was about halfway through, I looked back and couldn’t believe how easy it was to knock out.

That’s when it hit me–I don’t have to sound like anyone else. I am me. My voice matters, and I don’t have to pretend to be someone I’m not.

Since finding my voice, my posts come together faster. They’re also more enjoyable to create. I’m not trying to sound like someone else and constantly editing to maintain that fake voice.

Lisa Tanner Writing || @LisaTannerWrite

My voice matters, and I don't have to pretend to be someone I'm not.Click To Tweet

Head Shots cropped

Jennifer Ross, Heath Coach

Finding your voice/unique writing style isn’t as hard as it sounds, but somehow I managed to make it really difficult. Hopefully in these few words I can make it easier for you to find yours.

Honestly I don’t think this is something that can be taught, or learned from a book or a webinar because it is truly unique to you.

I found mine quite by accident even though it was there all along waiting patiently for me to recognize it and use it. Writing has always come easily to me and then all of a sudden it didn’t.

I had a laundry list of shoulds and should nots that I had been told to follow for blogging. Great advice but trying to write while accommodating that long list and trying to figure out what my readers might like to read created a huge writers block for me.

I avoided writing, I no longer found joy in it and I was frustrated.

If I couldn’t write then the least I could do was read. It was interesting to see which blogs drew me in and kept my attention. I started to notice that I loved to read ones that had a personal touch to them and told a story. If it started to read like a text book I never finished it. It also felt like the ones I loved were joyfully written by the authors.

I threw out the list of what I should do when writing and started to write what felt good to me, what I wanted to read and what brought me joy while writing. Giving myself that freedom allowed my voice to come through and once again the writing became easy and fun again.

Your Upside Down Life || @JenniferBRoss

Giving myself freedom allowed my voice to come through.Click To Tweet

Sara GarskaSara Garska, Health Blogger

I started my blog in October of 2015. At first, I wrote intermittently and not very well. But I did keep writing. As I look back, I still like some of the posts I wrote during the fall.

In January 2016, I started journaling every day. I would spend about 20 minutes first thing every morning writing about whatever came up. Some of you may recognize this technique from Julia Cameron’s books. She first wrote about it in The Artist’s Way. I have used it off and on for about 20 years.

Sometime this winter, I began trusting my voice. It has surprised me. I intended my blog to be a light hearted story of my post-divorce single life in a big city. Instead, I find my voice is about what I eat, how I move, and how I think. My most recent post was about forgiveness. I can honestly say, that even if no one else ever reads it, it is my best post to date. And I feel that way—because it motivates ME every single day.

I love exploring the craft of writing in these relatively short pieces. I truly want to share something meaningful to me that could be helpful to others, and I try to do it in an efficient and interesting way. Time will tell if that resonates with other people. At this time, my views have tripled since January so that is some confirmation that I am on the right track.

My Think Big Life 

When I began trusting my voice, it surprised me. Click To Tweet

Amanda SettleAmanda Settle, Expat Blogger

I think the key to finding my voice as a blogger was to write about something I really cared about, something I’m passionate about.

To begin with I simply wrote and a unique voice began to develop. It didn’t happen overnight, but one day I realised it’s there. There’s a piece of the web that sounds uniquely me.

Of course my voice isn’t me exactly, I can’t replicate myself online. It’s the feelings and style that my writing evokes. My readers began to construct a person based on what my writing made them feel.

Personally I decided early on to write in a way that I wanted to read, the type of writing that got my attention. I’m put off when people try to sound clever by adding too many adjectives. We lead busy lives and tend to read while doing a million other tasks, so the writing needed to be able to fit into those lives.

Mine is a personal blog, a life of food, thoughts and photos on faraway shores.

My aim is that my writing reflects those things. That it comes across as sincere and well informed in the advice I give.

Passionate when I’m writing about the places we’ve been and the things we’ve seen. I also think it’s a little vulnerable, especially when it’s about the everyday things that we all experience.

Amanda Settle || @olivefetanouzo

I wrote and a unique voice began to develop. There's a piece of the web that sounds uniquely me.Click To Tweet

MargaretSloan_BioPicMargaret Sloan, Artist and Writer

I am fortunate to have spent 15 years working for a magazine staffed with inspired writers, critical editors, and copy editors who were rabidly devoted to correct grammar and sparkling writing. When I started the job (as a fact checker), I realized that, although I’d been writing for years, I had few grammar skills. Intimidated, I stopped writing for nearly a decade.

During those years of not being a writer, I watched and learned. I questioned the copy editors, I read many stories, and I got lots of practice rewriting copy for fact and for fit. Magazines are tight on space; every word has to work like the very devil.

Picking up the pen again, I found my voice had improved. Or possibly I’d finally developed a voice. One thing I knew: I now had skills that let me nail my thoughts into paragraphs that were square and true.

I think I’m still looking for my unique voice. I look for music in my writing. I try to lighten my words so I don’t bore readers to death; I don’t want to hear them yawn. I try to be crisp, elegant, surprising, funny, and clear.

I love words and how they fit together. To paraphrase another writer (I am sorry to say I can’t remember her name), I collect words and carry them around in my pocket where they clack and clatter like beads. I love to string them into sentences, then shake them apart and string them again, this time in a different order.

My voice will always be that of a writer totally gobsmacked by love for words. I guess you could say I’ve developed my own unique voice simply because I’ve got a terrible crush on language.

Mockingbirds at Midnight || @Margaret.Sloan

I’ve developed my own unique voice simply because I’ve got a terrible crush on language. Click To Tweet

jenna fletcherJenna Fletcher, Food Blogger

I like to think that I would like and be friends with everyone that reads my blog.

So when I write my posts, which are all mainly recipes, I act as if I am in my kitchen cooking and chatting with my friend. I talk about the things that I would talk about with my friends- like my toddler’s latest antics- and keep my tone conversational.

By essentially pretending I am talking to a close friend as I cook and create my content, I create a piece of the web that is warm and inviting, which is ultimately what I see my brand and website being. This approach wouldn’t work for all niches but I feel it works very well for me and my content.

Seasoned Sprinkles || @WriterJennaF

By pretending I'm talking to a close friend, I create a piece of the web that is warm & inviting. Click To Tweet

Amy JaeAmy Jae, Writer

I have kept a journal for the past 15 years … pouring out my thoughts and ideas with with ease. But every time I sat in front of a blank page with a blinking cursor, I would freeze. To me, “real” writing was frightening and I felt like a child stumbling to connect words and sentences.

Sadly, this lack of a writing voice kept me silent for years.

Then one day, as I re-read a journal from 10 years earlier, I was struck with the flow and cadence of the words. I found myself wiping tears as I remembered the day I’d written those words and the emotion and truth captured on those lined pages. I went straight to my computer and typed it (almost word for word) into a blog post.

Since that day, I have adapted a number of journal entries into blog posts. They feel like ME because they are written in my most humble, vulnerable moments – moments when I don’t think anyone else listening! I feel safe in the privacy of my bedroom, sitting in a coffee shop, or curled up on my hammock, pen flying across the pages of the book that “no one else will ever read.”

Now that others ARE listening, they often remark how personal and heartfelt my words seem. Like I’m writing TO THEM.

In this stash of carefully guarded journals (I’m not sharing everything!), I have discovered an almost endless source for blog posts! My journey over the past years is now inspiring others as well as reminding me of the struggles I’ve faced and the truths that helped me grow to the woman I am today.

I feel great joy as I translate these experiences into posts that tell my story to the world! I had my voice all along … I just had to redefine “real” writing!

Fresh Peaches Ahead || @AmyJae.Writer

To find your voice, redefine 'real' writing. Click To Tweet

Lisa NortheyLisa Northey, Coach

For me, finding my voice continues to be a process.

But, everyday I believe I get closer to my voice, to my truth.

In a weird sort of way, the process is less growing up — as you might expect — than a grounding down. It’s more about settling into the roots of who I am than about who I “ought” to be. This has not been easy.

Before I blogged, I had an idea of what I should sound like, thanks to all the incredible blogs out there. But readers can smell the funk of posturing just as easily as they can smell authentic writing. And being exactly who YOU are — vulnerable, imperfect, quirky — gives them permission to more boldly and readily claim who they are. And that’s exactly what the world needs: YOU, unmasked.

Many Hats Coaching || @ManyHatsLisa

What the world needs is YOU, unmasked. Click To Tweet

Gina KarasGina Karas, Scrapbooker

Finding my voice as a blogger was actually pretty easy for me.

I love writing and I love scrapbooking, so writing about something that I love is a piece of cake! I can talk for days all about scrapbooking and the creative process.

Talking about my struggles comes easy as well because I feel that being authentic helps to motivate and inspire others to keep trying new things.

My blog includes tips and techniques, as well as interviews from leaders in the crafting industry, so I think that I encompass a well rounded view of scrapbooking for my readers.

There are times when I’m scared to write a certain piece because of how it can be perceived by others, but I work through it and get to a point where I can present the material in a way that is less controversial, but still includes my voice and my views.

The writing process has its ups and downs, but if you’re writing about something you love, then the struggle is totally worthwhile.

California Scrappin || @GCinderella21

If you're writing about something you love, then the struggle is totally worthwhile.Click To Tweet

Sarah BlodgettSarah Blodgett, Lifestyle Blogger

Finding my voice as a blogger came easier to me because I had spent the last decade as a stand-up comedian.

In comedy you have open mics where comics try out new stuff in front of a small audience and get instant feedback… and most audiences are more than happy to tell you when it doesn’t work.

So when I started blogging, I learned that it’s those early stages when you have a small audience that you can really play around and try out different styles and vibes to see what feels like “you”. That way, when you start to gain a following, you’ll have already found your voice and, hopefully, your audience.

Everyday Starlet || @SarahBlodgett

When you have a small audience, play around and try out different styles to see what feels like “you.” Click To Tweet

Ani MercedesAni Mercedes, Artist, Photographer, Educator

Hello?…hello?…Is this thing on?

Oh, you can here me?! Great!

What’s that? You could always here me?! Whaaat?!

Sharing anything online is like karaoke. If you’re shy about singing, your performance is gonna suck. If you sing like no one’s watching, pump up the whole bar so everyone’s singing along, and pick a song that you love, then you’re gonna kick *$$!

My first blog was private for 1 year, until I showed it to my best friend who *loved* it and encouraged me to share it with the world. I timidly did, and was surprised by strangers writing and commenting on how helpful it is.

Once I realized that (A) my knowledge could truly help a complete stranger transform their life, (B) shared content as if I were sharing it with my best friend, and (C) did a monthly revenue step back with my accounting software (btw, I use Quickbooks), did I realize my mic was on and I could be heard loud and clear.

Go forth, and sing your heart out!

You’re Already You || @Ani_Mercedes

Sharing anything online is like karaoke. Go forth, and sing your heart out!Click To Tweet

 

Katina DavenportKatina Davenport, Author, Blog Coach, Content Strategist

I found my voice when I realized my passion for writing and was willing to tell my story.

I realized I had so much to share.

When I became willing to put myself out into the noisy social media world my voice became more defined.

I believe you will find your voice when you can take everything you’ve learned over the years and relate it to what you’re teaching on your blog.

That connection is more powerful than you know. Don’t be afraid to share those experiences. They will inspire your readers.

Desk of Katina S. Davenport || @deskkdavenport

Take everything you've learned over the years and relate it to what you're teaching on your blog.Click To Tweet

Jamie JeffersJamie Jeffers, Mom and Frugal Living Blogger

Finding your voice as a blogger takes time. It’s a mixture of what your readers are looking for and your own unique style. Finding the best combination of those two things is not a quick or simple process.

Each of us has different “real world” behavior, depending on the situation. Your voice in church is different than your voice when you’re playing with children. And that’s different than the voice you use when you’re out having fun with friends.

None of those voices are phony. But all of them together makes you, you.

Finding your voice as a blogger isn’t about being fake, or trying to be popular with a crowd that you wouldn’t usually hang out with. It’s about discovering which of your unique voices works best with the message you are trying to get out to the world.

Medium Sized Family || @MediumSizedFam

Which of your unique voices works best with the message you are trying to get out to the world? Click To Tweet

Jen MackinnonJen Mackinnon, Homeschooling Blogger

The easiest way for me to find my voice was to use my voice when writing.

When I write I aim to write the way I speak.

I learned this from reading other more experienced stories from bloggers.

When I finished a piece, I read it out loud. Does it sound like me? Is it genuine? Does it convey the feeling I am trying to express? I ask myself these questions because I want my readers to meet me, the real me.

I don’t want to be someone else, and using someone else’s voice won’t do that. I don’t do perfect. I don’t do fake. That doesn’t help them or myself.

It is easy enough to lose oneself online, to be influenced by those around us. This is different from being inspired. By all means be inspired, but be you. This will reach others and help you to be encouraged as well.

Practical, By Default || @PracticalByD

I want my readers to meet me, the real me. Click To Tweet

Jane Tabachnik copyJane Tabachnick, Publicity Expert

I found my voice over time, by listening to my audience.

At first I wrote what was on my mind, or what I thought interested my readers. I listened to their feedback, and watched which posts get the most comments and shares, and have refined my voice based on that.

Jane Tabachnik || @JaneTabachnick

I listened my readers and have refined my voice based on that. Click To Tweet

 

43 Creators Share How to Find Your Voice Online

Like many of these creators, I finally found my voice online by trusting my own words and wisdom. Have you found your online voice? What worked for you? Share in the comments below.

 

How I Lost My Blogging Voice and Found it Again

How I Lost My Blogging Voice and Found it Again

I’ve been a writer ever since I was a toddler.

My mom had me tell her stories, and then she would write them down.

But when I was 12 years old, I fell completely in love with writing. I would sit at my parents’ old Macintosh and write love stories in which I was the object of not just one, but 2 boys’ affections.

My love of writing continued into high school, when I went to Denver School of the Arts in the Creative Writing program. My teacher, Ms. Clark, taught me how to come back day after day and write. She taught me that it was okay to be a hopeless romantic even while surrounded with kids who seemed to have much deeper things to write about than I did.

A story I wrote was published in a book about grandmothers when I was 16 years old. It was about a conversation I had with my grandma in which she told me I should have sex before marriage.

At Hampshire College, I created a cocktail major of Storytelling through Creative Writing, Film, Photography, and Theater. My senior thesis was a collection of poems about travel, distance, longing and love.

But in writing that thesis (which we at Hampshire called a Division III project), I completely lost my love of writing.

I was in a toxic relationship at the time, and I was completely unwilling to write the truth that was in my heart – that my boyfriend was making me miserable. My attachment to the relationship made it impossible to write my truth, which, in my mind, is the whole point of writing poetry – to express a deep truth within yourself.

Somehow, I managed to write 23 poems, most of which were pretty good (if I do say so myself), but the experience of sitting down, day after day, and struggling to write while disconnected from my inner truth, left me drained and unwilling to write anymore.

For the next 10 years, I slowly found my way back to writing. I taught a course on how to develop a writing practice. I joined writing groups, and created my own. But I couldn’t find my way back to the loving relationship I’d experienced with writing when I was younger.

I even started a few blogs, but they all fizzled out after 10 posts or so.

Then, last December, I was visiting my family in Denver, when I felt this strong urge to start writing again.

The first post I wrote on this blog was called “Feeling Good in My Own Flip-Flops.” It was about coming to terms with living in Miami.

I decided that I would write a blog post every single day. One was about good parking karma (which is a trait that runs in my family). Another was about morning practice. I didn’t have many readers, but I didn’t care. The joy of writing sustained me.

Then I started writing about finding your writer’s voice, and my blog picked up momentum. I wrote about how to build your brand and your business online. I wrote posts about launching my first product (which, incidentally, was pretty much a failure, but it was a good exercise in getting something out there).

As I gained new readers and my blog traffic grew, I started asking questions of other bloggers. What did they really struggle with? What did they care about? I coached a bunch of bloggers on their content, and, in the process got lots of ideas for blog posts.

Then, something shifted. In the beginning of writing my blog, I felt the freedom to write about anything and everything.

But once I had defined my niche, I felt like I couldn’t write about things like parking karma and morning practice. Every single post needed to be about blogging.

I slowed down from writing every day, to writing 5 times a week, to 3 times a week, to 2 times, and finally, once a week.

And something else happened, too. My “blogging” no longer just consisted of writing. I created the 10 Day Blog Makeover Challenge, which brought thousands of bloggers into my life, grew my Facebook group to over 2,000 people, and made me think about how to build my business in a whole new way.

In the beginning, I saw writing blog posts as a non-negotiable activity. It was my way of expressing myself, but it was also my vehicle for building a business.

Now, the writing portion of blogging has been pushed to the back burner, because there are so many other responsibilities I’ve given myself. Running my Facebook group, creating courses, building my Twitter following. And on and on.

My initial drive to write led to so many unexpected benefits and twists and turns along the way, that I lost my initial reason for blogging – to express myself and reconnect with the long lost writer inside of me.

And that’s okay. Really. Because I also wanted to build an audience and a business, and sometimes that means refining your focus and being strategic.

But it’s also painful. It’s hard to write with the burning question of, “Will my audience like this?” Because then I’m not always sitting down to write what’s real, and true, for me.

All of my posts are honest. It’s not that. It’s more that I don’t write a lot of what I want to write, because I’m worried about what you’ll think of me. Most of my posts have more answers than questions, because that’s what I know you want – answers to your blogging questions. Help along the path.

But I’ve recently decided that sometimes it’s okay to admit that I don’t have all of the answers (or even most of them). I’ve decided that, while I am still writing posts for a specific audience, (bloggers who are, day by day, building a platform for themselves) what matters more to me right now isn’t being liked.

It’s being real. It’s getting back to my own voice.

I deeply, deeply care about what you want to read about. But to build a blog that’s uniquely me, I’ve found that I need to care just as much about the stories burning inside of me than about what my readers want.

I don’t want to fall out of love with blogging, like I fell out of love with writing all those years ago. So I am coming back. I’m reconnecting with why I started doing this in the first place.

And, instead of giving you answers in this post, I am leaving you with questions.

How much of what you write is driven by a need to write something that matters to you, and how much is to cater to your audience?
What do you think blogging is for? Is it to express yourself, to build an audience, or both?
How can you sustain your love of blogging even when it feels like a drag?

Blogging really is just a series of questions, anyway. About what matters most, to both you and your audience. About how to stay motivated even when it gets hard. And as soon as you answer one question, another arises.

That’s one thing I love about writing and blogging. There’s always another question to explore.

How I Lost My Blogging Voice and Found it Again

 

 

 

 

 

 

9 Secrets to Writing Like a Pro

9 Secrets to Writing Like a Pro

Want to become a better writer?

Even though it may seem difficult to write well, there are a few simple things you can do to dramatically improve your writing in a short time. These principles apply to any genre. Whether you are blogging, writing a novel or working on an essay for school, these 9 tips will bring your writing to a whole new level.

Try one or two out, work on them for a week, and then add others. You will notice a huge improvement in your writing. I promise.

1. Read like a writer.

The best thing you can do to improve your writing is to read! When you open a book, look at it with a writer’s eyes. What did the author do that you want to emulate in your own writing?

A client of mine wanted to write like Hemingway. He bought this book of short stories, and together, we read a story in each of our writing sessions. We break the writing apart, piece by piece, asking questions like, “What did he do here? Why did he use a semicolon here? What types of ideas did he use to open this story?”

After a few weeks of this, his writing noticeably became more straightforward, concise, and powerful. It was a great lesson for both of us.

You can do the same thing with bloggers you love. Read their posts and really pay attention to their writing techniques. Then modify them for your own blog.

2. Be specific

“Be specific…Give things the dignity of their names.”

-Natalie Goldberg

Don’t write “car,” write “Camaro.” Don’t write “flower,” write “gardenia.”

It is amazing how much more powerful writing is when each object is given a specific name and each verb describes an exact action.

Compare the following two sentences:

1. The boy ate lunch.

2. The 10 year old gobbled his tuna sandwich.

Notice how changing “boy” to “10 year old,” “ate” to “gobbled,” and “lunch” to “tuna sandwich” made the sentence come alive?

Look through your own writing. Where can you replace a vague word with a more specific one?

Want more on being specific in your blog posts? Read this.

3. Write from a dog’s eye view

When I taught 3rd grade, I found that many of my students described an event that lasted hours in a single sentence: “We went to the party and had fun.”

“Write from a dog’s eye view,” I urged them. “You are writing like a bird, hovering over the story, instead of seeing it from the inside.”

When you write, approach your topic from a dog’s eye view – a place where you can see each detail intimately.

Instead of “We went to the party and had fun,” you can write, “I picked my cousin Gloria up at 5. She was wearing a yellow dress and red lipstick. Her present for the birthday girl was a dinosaur stuffed animal. Mine was a Hello Kitty purse.” Suddenly a sentence becomes a world you can enter and walk around in.

Keep getting closer and closer to the subject until it slows down. Then your reader can enter it with you.

4. Be surprising

Keep your readers on their toes!

Why did people love The Glass Castle so much?

The first scene, in which the writer, Jeanette, is in a taxi and sees her homeless mom looking through a dumpster, grabs the reader’s attention immediately. This is only a taste of all of the shocking moments to come.

What can you do to surprise your readers? Open with a quote, or with a vivid scene. Take a new twist on an old topic. If you are describing something familiar, do it in way that makes readers rethink their previous conceptions.

Or close your piece with an unexpected insight.

5. Use figurative language

Why not throw in a few similes and metaphors?

They will make your writing as noticeable as a wailing baby in a supermarket.

Or give human characteristics (personification) to a place or idea. –The ancient house groaned all night, wrinkles filling its walls.

6. Get to the point.

Don’t write any more than you have to.

Make your point and then move on.

People want to get to the action. Use descriptive words, but only enough to invite readers into the scene. Strongly state your opinion, offer 2 or 3 strong examples, and then let your reader make up his or her own mind.

Don’t state the obvious; assume that your readers can fill in the blanks.

7. Choose your words carefully.

Words not to use: good, nice, cool, awesome, bad, mean….and any other bland word you can think of.

Go back through your writing and circle boring words. Then use thesaurus.com to come up with better alternatives. Also look for repetition.

Instead of overusing a word, find 3 or 4 synonyms and mix it up a bit.

8. Play with sentence structure.

Go back over your writing and look at the lengths of your sentences. Are they all the same length? If so, consider either shortening some of them into more terse sentences, or joining two into one longer, more flowing sentence. Do you always begin with your subject?

The dog chomped a bone. The bone was stinky. She dropped it and sniffed the grass.

Mix it up a bit:

Noisily, the dog chomped her stinky bone. She dropped it and sniffed the grass, wagging her butt from side to side.

9. Write!

If you want to be a better writer, write more! In Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, he wrote that to excel at anything, you need to do it for at least 10,000 hours! So get writing. Write every day if you can. Let yourself write the worst junk in the world, just keep practicing. And while you’re at it, try some of the other tips!

9 Secrets to Writing Like a Pro - Facebook

To recap…

1. Read like a writer.

2. Be specific.

3. Write from a dog’s eye view.

4. Be surprising.

5. Use figurative language.

6. Get to the point.

7. Choose your words carefully.

8. Play with sentence structure.

9. Write!

 

8 Pit Stops on the Road to a Better Blog

8 pit stops on the road to a better blog

Blogging is an adventure. One that requires perseverance, passion, curiosity, and a plan for the journey ahead.

Kind of like a road trip.

And in order to arrive at your destination (in this case, a blog that you can’t stop thinking about or working on, because it’s just that amazing), you need a map, and a few good places to stop along the way.

Pit stops where you can refuel your tank and your spirits.

Blogging Pit Stop #1: Write a Blog Mission Statement

Your blog needs a mission statement. Without one, you’re kind of like a car without gas or GPS.

Your mission statement gives your blog direction. It provides the momentum for you to keep writing.

Your mission statement should state:

A. Whom your blog helps. (Your target audience)

B. How your blog helps them differently than anyone else can. (Your unique selling proposition aka USP)

C. Why you care enough to keep helping them. (Your purpose)

For example, here’s mine: I help bloggers who feel stuck find purpose and clarity so that they can strategically grow a blog that they love and that works toward their goals. I focus on setting up a strong foundation for blogging successfully and look deeper into what readers REALLY need to blog consistently and build a blog they love. My 3 big passions in life are writing, teaching, and entrepreneurship, and this blog lets me do all 3.

Your mission statement is like the gas in your tank. Your readers don’t need to see it, but it’s important for you to have one to go anywhere.

Blogging Pit Stop #2: Define your voice online.

Defining your voice is like choosing what type of trip you are going to take. Are you going to take the back roads, or the highways? Stop and take pictures every hour or so, or drive through the night without stopping?

As someone who has taken MANY road trips, I know that each trip is largely shaped by the other people in the car.

When I drove from New York to Denver with my sister, we listened to teeny-bopper music and drove for long stretches without stopping.

When I drove with my husband Daniel and my friend Hagit from Denver to Miami, we stopped every 2 hours and talked the entire time. Each trip was great, but they were very different experiences.

Defining your voice helps your readers decide if they want to come along for the ride.

And you don’t have to write for months or years to do it. You just have to answer these 4 questions:

1. What adjectives do I want people to associate with my blog? (My adjectives are honest, deep, and helpful)

2. What place do I want people to feel they are visiting when they read my blog? (My place is a coffee shop)

3. What words and language evoke the feelings in #1 and #2? (Words I tend to use a lot are “powerful” “figure out” and “purpose”)

4. Who would like to read a blog that is [adjectives from #1] feels like [place from #2] and uses [words and language from #3] (My readers are generally bloggers who are writing from a deeper place and who are genuinely passionate about what they are writing.)

For more posts on defining your voice, go here.

For an awesome course where I guide you through this process, go here.

Blogging Pit Stop #3: Write down specific blogging goals.

This is like writing a list of places you’d like to visit when in a new city. You can wander around and just stumble on different things, or you can be strategic and shape your visit.

Blogging goals can include:

  • Growing your page-views
  • Selling something
  • Growing a community
  • Getting more social shares
  • Getting more email subscribers
  • Building your credibility

It’s important to have specific goals, because if you don’t, you won’t be able to create a plan for meeting them, or be able to tell if you’re successful or not.

So put some dots on your blogging road-map. When you get to them, you’ll feel a huge sense of accomplishment.

Blogging Pit Stop #4: Schedule your goals for specific dates.

Once you’ve chosen your destinations, it’s time to make a schedule.

I’m going to Kauai with my family on Friday (and let me tell you, I am SUPER excited). There’s a restaurant there called the Beach House. It’s right on the water, and you can watch the sunset while drinking a delicious mojito. But you can only get the best table, the one right by the ocean, if you make reservations ahead of time.

Scheduling goals is kind of like making reservations. It makes it much more likely that you’ll actually meet your goals (or get into the restaurant).

So pull out your calendar and put those goals in. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Blogging Pit Stop #5: Begin working toward your first goal with strategic blog posts and opt-in gifts.

Now that you’ve set your goals, aka made your reservations, it’s time to get your blog in gear.

You know where you are going and when you need to be there, so you can start putting your pedal to the metal.

Writing about random topics is kind of exhausting. When I am in random topic mode, I have to be constantly spending energy thinking of things to write about.

But when I have a strategic goal, I can plan all of my blog posts and opt-ins around that goal ahead of time, so when I sit down to write, I already know what I want to write about, and I’m already excited about it.

Instead of driving around aimlessly looking for a place to eat (like Daniel and I did in Memphis last year), I can go straight to my destination and enjoy a sunset view.

Blogging Pit Stop #6: Listen to your navigator (Get feedback from people you trust).

When I’m on a road trip, I always have a navigator at my side helping me know where to turn and which road to take.

It’s the same for your blogging journey. It’s SO important to have other people along for the ride who will let you know if you are moving in the right direction.

You can get feedback in a bunch of ways:

  • By asking for feedback in Facebook groups (Click here to join my group…it is full of people who give great feedback.)
  • By doing surveys
  • By hiring a blogging coach
  • By reading your blog comments
  • By using your stats to see which posts get the most social shares

When I’ve driven on my own, I’ve gotten lost WAY more times. (As I did in my last 5 blogs.) Don’t make the same mistakes I have. Get a navigator (or a few) ASAP.

Blogging Pit Stop #7: Check your map.

Have you ever been chugging along on your way to a new place, and then slowly realized that you should have been there by now, and then stopped your car to look at a map and seen that you went in the wrong direction?

Even if you have a great navigator, she might doze off or read the map wrong.

It’s so important to stop at regular increments to see if what you’re doing is working; if you’re getting any closer to your destination. Feedback from other people is the first step; cold hard data is the next.

When you’re on a road trip, you can do this by pulling out a map (or trusty Google Maps).

When you’re building your blog, looking at your stats can accomplish the same thing. (But beware, stats can become addictive.)

Some stats you can check include:

  • Your page views/unique visitors
  • The number of people on your email list
  • Your social shares
  • The number of people that bought your product

Note: The type of stats you pay attention to will depend on the goal you set in #3.

Blogging Pit Stop #8: Course-correct and get back on the road.

Now that you’ve figured out where you are, it’s time to get back out there and keep working toward your goal. And if you’ve already met that goal, it’s time to head to your next destination.

The open road is calling your name.

8 pit stops on the road to a better blog - Facebook

A quick recap of the pit stops:

1. Write your blog mission statement.

2. Define your voice.

3. Write down specific blogging goals.

4. Schedule your blogging goals for specific dates.

5. Begin working toward your first goal with strategic blog posts and opt-in gifts.

6. Get feedback.

7. Check your stats to make sure you’re making progress.

8. Course-correct and get back on the road.

How to Write a Terrific Tutorial Post

How to a terrific tutorial post

In first grade, each of my classmates and I had to go up to the front of the classroom and guide our teacher through a tutorial.

I remember watching one of the boys teach Rondi how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I am pretty sure he forgot to mention that you need to spread the peanut butter with a knife, so she ended up getting it all over her hands.

It was my first lesson in how to teach well.

I learned a lot more about it as an elementary school teacher, when I would plan an awesomely creative lesson (in my mind), and about halfway through, I would realize that most of my students were zoning out, because I had lost them somewhere in the middle, when I forgot a step, or didn’t explain it well enough.

Writing great tutorial posts is about teaching well.

A terrific tutorial post is not just a list of steps, but a list that meets your readers where they are, that provides concrete examples, and that helps them get from point A to point B.

Not to get all meta on you, but here is my tutorial post on how to write great tutorial posts.

1. Choose a tutorial that is “just right” for your audience

It’s kind of like the story of Goldilocks and the 3 Bears…you want a tutorial that’s not too long, but not too short. That covers enough information to be helpful, but not too much that it overwhelms them.

Last week, I wrote this massive tutorial post about how to use your business goals to drive your blog topics.

I shared it with my awesome friend Danielle, and she said, This is great, but I feel overwhelmed.

It was just too much. I realized that each of my steps could be its own post. So I unpublished it and am planning to republish shorter posts for each step.

This also comes down to deciding the way your blog works. You may be a blogger who publishes massive posts that could take readers weeks to complete, or you may be someone who wants to publish a series instead. You have to figure out what works for you, and for your audience.

Here are some things to think about:

  • What is your intended outcome? If your readers are successful in completing your tutorial, what will they come away with? Make sure it’s a concrete, doable thing.
  • How much explanation does each step need? If each step needs a lot of explaining, consider writing one post for each step and publishing a series instead of a longer post.

Here’s an example for you:

I recently wrote this post on how to get way more traffic with Pinterest. It covers A LOT of ground. I may take the different steps and write additional posts on each of them, as well.

On the other hand, Marianne from Design Your Own Lovely Blog wrote this great tutorial post on a small component of the process I outlined – creating custom “pin it” buttons.

2. Break it into manageable steps.

Once you’ve decided what you want to teach, write down a list of steps.

Then go back through it and do the ‘peanut butter and jelly’ test – make sure you haven’t missed anything.

Also, be sure that each step is large enough to write a few ideas and guiding words under it, but small enough that it’s not actually 3 or 4 steps in disguise.

3. Fill in the details.

What do you need to add to your steps to make them doable?

This may include:

  • Bulleted lists inside of some of the steps (like this one. Wink, wink.)
  • Photographs
  • Videos
  • Diagrams
  • Examples

For each step, ask yourself, If I were learning to do this for the first time, what would I need to know?

Then give your audience the tools they need to be successful.

Here’s an example for you:

This tutorial from KISSMetrics on how to increase your traffic from social media only has 4 steps, but you’ll notice that that first step has bullet points and a numbered list. And each of the steps includes a screenshot. (Incidentally, I use this tutorial for my social sharing, and I HIGHLY recommend it.)

4. Make sure that readers of all learning styles will “get it.” .

I recently read an awesome post about basic graphic design principles. The blogger had included some great videos of herself using Canva to create graphics.

But I’m not a video watcher. I just hate having to sit through explanations. I just want it all laid out for me so I can get in and out quickly.

I recommended that she add steps written out as well.

She used screenshots from her videos to outline exactly what she was teaching so that lazy people like me could get the information right away.

What can you add to your tutorial posts to make them even more accessible?

Here are some options:

  • Screenshots
  • Audio
  • Graphics

Here’s an example for you:

The Minimalists blog wrote a post on how to start a blog. The first post only includes brief instructions. But then, in an updated post, they went back and added lots of screenshots, videos, and resources. The second post is WAY more helpful than the first.

5. Add your WHY and/or a personal story in the beginning.

What makes this tutorial your tutorial? Your WHY.

Why are you writing this post? It could be something you’ve struggled with, something that has a personal story attached, or something else entirely.

Once you’ve written all the steps out and filled in the necessary information, go back to the beginning and about why it matters – both to you, and to your audience.

This both personalizes your tutorial post, and it also helps your readers see why they should keep reading.

You may also want to add a few words about what your audience will learn in the post.

Here’s an example for you:

I’ve been really frustrated with trying – and failing – to use an editorial calendar. And other bloggers have told me that they struggle with it, as well. So I wrote this post on how to REALLY become a consistent blogger.

I start it with a quick little note about why I care about the topic. Check it out here.

6. Create a graphic listing the steps and place it right before you go into the steps.

This will do 2 awesome things:

1. It will make your post WAY more pinnable. Seriously.

2. It will prepare your audience for what they are about to read. People learn more effectively when they have some background knowledge to latch onto. So the more you can prepare them, the better.

(Check out the graphic for this post as an example.)

7. List the steps again at the end of the post.

When you repeat the steps at the end of the post, it helps your reader put it all together.

You can repeat the graphic, or you can just list them out.

I like to write something like this:

To sum up:

1. Choose a tutorial that is “just right” for your audience.

2. Break it into manageable steps.

3. Fill in the details.

4. Make sure the readers of all learning styles will “get it.”

5. Add your WHY or a story in the beginning.

6. Create a graphic listing the steps.

7. List the steps again at the end of the post.

How to write a terrific tutorial post - Facebook

How to Delight your Readers with Every Blog Post

How to delight your readers with every post
I took the picture above at a restaurant that specializes in grilled cheese sandwiches.

From the front of the restaurant, it just looks like a little divey place. But being Yelp addicts, my husband and I couldn’t pass up a 4.5 star grilled cheese restaurant on our way back from north Miami.

We walked through the little interior of the restaurant and came out onto a wonderful outdoor seating area. I  grinned as I looked around the patio. Each table held a mason jar filled with these perfect pink and cream roses.

We chose a couple of low chairs and I sat and luxuriated in the perfect February Miami weather. He ordered a grilled cheese and a beer, both of which tasted delicious.

The entire experience felt delightful, like one of those moments that comes upon you unexpectedly, and that makes you fully conscious of the awesomeness of life.

Have you ever read a blog post that just lit you up inside?

Either because made you feel joyful, or empowered, or because it answered a burning question you had, or made you feel connected to the writer?

I have. And I’ve come up with a handy little acronym to help you write your own delightful blog posts:

 

Delight your readers with every blog post infographic

Let’s dive a little deeper, shall we?

I’m a teacher, so I’m not going to just throw this beautiful image at you and send you on your way. Let’s take each of these concepts and take a look at how they work.

1. Delight

How do you delight your readers?

Delight means to give pleasure. It means to create joy.

What delights you?

For me, it’s beautiful latte art. It’s riding the Everest ride at Disney World. It’s really incredible food.

What it comes down to is this: Delight comes from truly experiencing the world. And you can delight your readers by giving them a post that really brings them in.

You can help your readers do this by bringing sensual details into your posts. By having a sense of humor in your writing. Delight your readers by surprising them with little unexpected nuggets of wisdom.

Your method of bringing delight will be different from anyone else’s. It’s really about taking what’s incredibly awesome about you and bringing it into the light.

2. Empower

Many blog posts seek to teach their readers something. But if you can teach and empower, you’ve got it made.

Empowering blog posts teach in a way that makes it really easy for your readers to be successful.

You can also empower your readers by sharing personal stories about overcoming failure and fear. But don’t emphasize how awesome you were for succeeding. Rather, shine a light on your own humanity. By sharing both vulnerability and triumph, you will show your readers that they can do it, too.

I feel empowered when I try something new, step out of my comfort zone, do something on my own that I never thought I could do. Help your readers feel this by simplifying seemingly complex tasks, by meeting them where they are, and by giving them the little push they need to move forward.

3. Listen

Find a way to listen to your readers.

Connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.

Engage with them and learn what they need to read.

Then write it for them.

You can even interview readers for deeper insights. It is a really powerful activity.

They don’t have to be your current readers, just people who are interested in your topic.

To me, the best writing is a process of listening to what people want to read and then taking that and making something beautiful out of it.

4. Inspire

Inspiration is about widening the world for people.

It’s about showing them that there’s so much more out there – new ways of looking at things, new stories they’ve never heard before. It’s about showing them all of the possibilities in the world.

And it doesn’t just have to be Gandhi quotes. Inspiration can come from doing an awesome DIY project, or showing people that you’re doing something you love and that they can, too.

What inspires you? Write a list of inspirational posts for you. Analyze them. See how they inspired you, and then do the same for your readers.

5. Gain trust

Gaining trust comes from doing all of the other parts of the DELIGHT acronym.

But it also comes from showing up, and writing consistently.

It comes from showing readers you care about them by answering their comments, and by writing about topics that matter to them.

You can lose trust by doing too many promotions, promoting things that won’t benefit your audience, or by filling your site with ads. Show your readers that you deserve their trust because you give more than you ask them to give.

6. Help

Okay, so help is kind of an obvious one.

But it’s also an essential one.

Each post you write should help your readers in some way, whether that’s helping them learn to do something new, helping them look at things in a new way, helping them stay motivated, etc.

Even if you’re writing a completely personal story, ask yourself, How will this help my readers? It might help them by showing them they’re not alone or by giving them a laugh.

7. Tantalize

Tantalize is one of my favorites.

But it’s hard to truly tantalize your readers. To make them feel like your blog post is something they need.

What it comes down to is this:

If you know who is reading your blog, and you write just for them, your writing will be tantalizing.

If you write with complete honesty and clarity, and if you solve people’s problems, if you truly connect, your writing will be tantalizing.

It’s not just about knowing your audience, though. It’s about knowing yourself, and what you truly want to write, and about writing that. And writing it in a way that only you can.

How to delight your readers with every blog post - Twitter

The next time you sit down to write a blog post, keep DELIGHT in mind:

Delight

Empower

Listen

Inspire

Gain trust

Help

Tantalize

The incredibly powerful results of writing your story

The incredibly powerful results of writing your story

Every Tuesday evening for the past 5 weeks, I’ve met with 7 other women in a writing group.

We sit around my friend Rachel’s low table in her apartment in midtown Miami. We eat fruit off of small ceramic plates. We write, and then we share, and then we connect.

It’s one of my favorite parts of my week.

One week, we wrote about relationships. I wrote about my mom, and how it’s hard living so far away from her, and someone else wrote about her mom, and how it’s hard to connect with her even when they’re together.

This week, we wrote about our bodies.

I’ve been feeling like crap about my body all week. I ordered a pair of jeans from eBay, and they didn’t fit right, and somehow, feeling their tightness over my belly made me feel like I am the fattest, grossest person in the world.

But when I read my piece about that to the group, they all told me, “Girl, I’ve been there. It sucks.”

And, through writing, I realized that true beauty isn’t physical – it comes from being completely alive and free.

Here’s a snippet of my piece from last night:

The pattern I see throughout my life is wanting to accept my body, and then not being able to fully go there.

A moment I land on, a happy one, was in Guatemala. I was on a pier over the Carribbean with Curry and Rachel, all of us comparing the length of our leg hair. None of us had shaved in over 6 weeks, and our leg hair felt like the hair on our heads, soft, and natural.

It’s not so much that I liked having leg hair but that I felt free to not have to shave my legs.

Those weeks in Guatemala, and then in India, I was able to shed all of the ideas of who I should be, and how I should look, along with the heavy baggage of the US.

I loved the feeling of having everything I needed in my red backpack, and somehow, with all of the other crap stripped away, I felt raw, and real, and alive.

I didn’t care how I looked, and it was so liberating.

Oh, I also shaved my head in India. My hair was completely gone, my head more rubbable than it’s ever been, before or since. And I have a photograph of myself in India, with a shaved head, and unshaven legs, and I should look the grossest I ever have in my entire life, but I don’t.
 
I look absolutely vibrant, and beautiful. Because I was so ecstatic with my life.

I love blogging, because it allows us to share our stories with the world, to help each other, to connect to one another.

But before I loved blogging, before there even was blogging, I loved writing.

I love writing because of its power to transform. I love that it lets me rewrite my own story, and find meaning in it, and find healing.

I love writing because it gives me a platform to communicate.

Before I loved myself, I loved writing.

When I was an awkward middle-schooler, I could write myself a life in which I was beautiful and all of the boys loved me. I could write the world the way I wanted it to be.

Writing gave me a voice when I was afraid of being me, of being different.

I love writing, too, because our stories tie us together in a way that nothing else can.

I’ve spent a total of 10 hours with my writing group, and those women know more about me than many friends I’ve known for years. I leave every week feeling so connected, so joyful, so seen.

I usually write list posts. Helpful posts that you can use to improve your writing and your blog.

And I like writing them. But sometimes I feel like something is missing. And that something is the kind of writing that reveals me with all of my flaws and my fears, all of my humanness.

Last night, after our group, I told Rachel I felt a disconnect between the kind of writing we do together, and the kind of writing I publish here on my blog.

I’ve been afraid to write something like this, because what if it doesn’t fit my audience? What if people don’t want to read it?

But then I felt like a total hypocrite. Because I’ve written a lot of posts about defining your voice. About claiming your story.

The incredibly powerful results of telling your story - Facebook

So how can I avoid doing that in my own blog?

I think that writing is more than a vehicle for growing an audience. It’s more than a way to educate people about your brand.

If you let it, writing can transform, writing can heal, writing can reveal, writing can empower you.

And, by sharing the scary stories, it can let people in. That’s my hope with this blog post. What do you think? Did I succeed? Share in the comments below.

6 essential writing lessons from Kaia the goldendoodle

6 essential writing lessons from Kaia the goldendoodle

My friend Taylor makes fun of me, because she says I think my goldendoodle, Kaia, is my real child.

And I do love Kaia. A lot.

She just makes me happy. If you have a dog, you know what I mean.

It’s not just that she’s always excited to see me when I get home, or that she immediately forgives me for any mistake I make.

It’s who she is.

They say that you’re the equivalent of the 5 people you spent the most time with. And I spend more time with Kaia than anyone else. So I’m hoping that her amazing personality rubs off on me a little bit.

Here are a few things she’s taught me about being a better writer.

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1. Be curious.

Kaia wants to sniff everything. She wants everything in her mouth. Even pizza slices that have been on the sidewalk for a few days.

I’m not saying I want to eat pizza off the ground, but it would be nice to be as interested in the world as she is.

When I’m traveling in a new country, it’s easy to be curious about everything. I remember going to Guatemala and taking tons of pictures of the school girls in their bright uniforms. Everything seemed so vivid. The street vendors, the new foods, even the feeling of the air.

But here in Miami, I take the same walk every single day. Down the street to the bay and back.

It’s easy to take it for granted. To stop noticing the glint of the sunlight on the bay, and the shininess of the buildings, and the sound of the wind on the water. But when I do stop and get curious, it makes for a much more interesting walk.

Just like Kaia, the happiest people, and the best writers, see the world as an infinitely fascinating place.

Good writing helps us see the world slightly different. And a good writer has to be curious to make that happen.

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2. Say hi to strangers.

Kaia says hi to everyone.

We’ll get in the elevator, and she’ll run up to whoever is in there like they are long lost friends. She’ll lean against them, and smile, and wag her tail.

And then, they start talking.

They ask us what kind of dog she is, how much she weighs. They tell us how beautiful she is.

When Kaia greets someone like they are the best thing that’s happened in her day, it makes them feel good. And they open up.

You can be a great writer without talking to anyone.

But constantly welcoming people into your life opens up so many opportunities. For collaboration, for mind-stretching, and for connection.

And talking to strangers opens a door to new ideas that you may have never thought to write about before.

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3. Notice the small details.

Kaia is obsessed with lizards.

And she remembers where they live. If she sees a lizard on a wall on Monday, she will revisit that same spot on the wall on Friday.

Her eyes are constantly searching for the tiny movement that lets her know they’re there.

And she can smell a tennis ball 50 yards away.

She will randomly dash into the bushes, scrounge around, and come out with a new tennis ball in her mouth. It always amazes me that she knows it’s there.

To be a good writer, you need to notice the little things. Like the way flip-flops sound on the sidewalk, and the strong, sweet, smooth taste of coffee. It’s by noticing that you are able to share those details with your readers, and bring your world alive for them.

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3. Get a lot of exercise.

I love running. And even though I love running, sometimes, I have to force myself to go out and do it.

Not Kaia. She was born to run.

The minute we take her leash off at the bay, she charges. When she’s running, her body is more fully hers.

Exercise is built into her very being. If she doesn’t do it, she gets antsy and restless.

And exercise is built into us as humans, too.

When I work out, my mind takes me to places I would never have found otherwise. I’m able to more fully occupy my body, to feel the rush of breath, and the streaks of sweat.

Exercise makes for better writing. Because it gives us space to explore. And it gives us back to our bodies.

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4. Don’t be afraid to take risks.

When Kaia was a puppy, she was afraid to swim.

There was a fountain built for dogs near our apartment, and we would walk her over the grassy fields to that fountain almost everyday.

At first, she wouldn’t even go in the water, just run around it and watch the other dogs swim.

I would throw her ball a little of the way in, and she would wade in and grab it, then quickly come back out. Then I threw the ball further.

Every time I challenged her a little more, she would rise to it. She never backed down.

Now she loves to swim.

Writing well means taking risks. Trying new styles, inventing new techniques, writing about things you’re afraid people won’t want to read, writing about things that make you feel exposed.

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5. Every time you greet someone, have something to give them.

One of my favorite things about Kaia is that she never comes to the door without a toy in her mouth.

When she sees someone coming in, she immediately runs into the apartment, grabs a toy, and comes back.

And if she doesn’t have a toy to give, she will wag her tail and give them her attention and affection.

For me, writing is about giving. It’s a chance to share something valuable with the world, whether that’s personal stories, guides on how to live a better life, or opportunities to laugh.

Never greet a reader without something to give.

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6. Companionship is key.

As I sit here writing this, Kaia lays next to me on the brick walkway of one of my favorite coffee shops, Alaska Coffee Roasting. As I’ve written this, people have stopped to talk, to ask about Kaia, to share a moment of their day with us.

Sometimes I cloister myself at home to write. I don’t call anyone, or go out, or connect with people.

But I’ve found that companionship is not just a break from writing – it’s necessary to fill me up with the energy I need to keep going.

When I connect with other people, I feel revitalized. I see ideas in a new light. I get ideas I would never have gotten otherwise. And I just feel happier.

Do you take time for connection in your life?

Even though I will never eat week-old pizza off the ground, sniff dog poop as if it’s nectar from the gods, or lick a complete stranger’s hand, I do want to be just a little bit more like my dog.

How about you?