Today's tip will help you flesh-out your individual posts and further develop your overall blogging identity, tone or voice.
My second Simple Tip for Blog Writing?
2. Be yourself.
What's blogging (in our community at least) all about but developing a thriving, mutually beneficial relationship with your readers? And what's the first and best advice you'd give someone seeking a thriving, mutually beneficial relationship? Be yourself. Because if you've ever gone into a new relationship pretending you're someone else, you know it doesn't take long before the wheels start to fall off and the whole thing just gets awkward and disappointing. Authenticity's as important in blogging as in any healthy relationship. It guarantees a certain continuity of your message and voice, and can help you gather a loyal reader base. Plus, as your blog grows and you begin considering Big Blog concepts like branding and target demographic, your early dedication to authenticity will have lain a strong foundation upon which you can grow and build.
How to be the authentic you? Start each post by relaxing and writing your thoughts exactly as you would express them if you were talking to your best friend or, in the case of a more professional or technical blog, a trusted colleague. In this earliest pass or first draft, focus on capturing everything relevant to the reader's understanding of your message. Don’t worry about sentence construction, word choice or punctuation (you can use punctuation, just don’t spend tons of time weighing the pros and cons of every comma or period.)
Just get your thoughts down – get the story or the message on "paper." Include everything you believe to be important in conveying the point, telling the story or explaining the concept, always with an eye toward that purpose you defined using Simple Blog Writing Tip #1.
Keep typing until you’re all done. Writing this way – freely and without constraints of form, length or style – will free up your mind to details and bring your own voice and style to forefront of the post.
After you’ve written this free-style, detail-filled first draft, then go back and edit carefully, check your spelling, grammar and punctuation, reorganize and add or remove content to pare down and clean up the message to make it powerful without being overly verbose. Think of this process as reducing a flavor-packed broth to a rich, velvety consomme.
Or, you know, distilling corn mash into moonshine.
You'll also want to examine your initial word choices and punch those up a bit to breathe life into your language and capture the minds' eyes of your audience. I'll talk more about what I mean by that, and exactly how to do it, in additional tips I'll be sharing in the days to come.
Now don't go crazy! I'd advise, of course, because I'm ME -- long-winded, rambling, don't-leave-out-a-thing me -- after all, not to OVER-edit yourself. Because much of the beauty of your own perspective and passion finds its vitality in the nitty-gritty details, you should avoid trying to be too concise, particularly in writing that conveys a personal story, a sentiment or a just moment of life so special you want to share it with your readers. I'll tell you in another upcoming tip that less is more, but remember also that too much less can also be just plain not enough when you're trying to share a message in your own unique way. Don't edit out your voice.
Tip Two is Be yourself. Relax and let your true self shine through as you craft your posts, starting with EVERYTHING and carefully whittling that down to perfection.
I'll publish the next post in the Simple Tips for Blog Writing series next Monday. Don't miss it, it's one of my all-time favorites, and the one I think I lean most heavily on when I write here at FriedOkra. We'll see if y'all agree.