Today Miranda and I are going to stretch our English teacher wings on you guys and share some of what we know (and teach) about writing.
My topic is voice.
I used to have a big sign that a student made for me that read “Write Like You” in my old classroom.
And it’s really my mantra when writing any of my blogs. I don’t want to sound like anyone else except Katie Sluiter.
When I posted my first vlog, someone told me she loved it so much because the way I talked match EXACTLY what she heard in her head when she read my blog.
That? Was huge for me.
So how do you find your voice. For me, it’s a combination of things.
1. Show Don’t Tell. Whether I am telling you about my PPD experiences, my miscarriages, my wedding, my job, or my son, I want you to feel like you are there with me.
I do this by closing my eyes and concentrating on the very core of what I am trying to talk about–the few moments that make up the big feeling.
Take this post for instance. I could have just told you about how my father-in-law had cancer and I was there to hear the diagnosis and it sucked. But TELLING you would make you say, “yeah, that sucks.” SHOWING you would put you in that room with me. It would give you the feelings of those around me. It would make you have the chills and then the sweats.
I want to take you to a place, a time, a moment. Not just tell you a quick narrative.
Showing you my snapshot of life?
It would help you experience what I did. It would make my writing something you could relate to. You would start making connections to things that made you feel that way.
I would be real to you.
Bloggers that are so very real (and serve as inspiration?) to me that you should check out as examples?
2. Be honest.
You don’t have to spill all of your family secrets or tell us when your Lady Week is, but showing your readers that you are a real person: flaws and all, is a good thing.
I try to post my fails along with my successes. Just this past Saturday I confessed that I am not always a good friend. I also let my kid watch TV and I didn’t think being a mom meant living in a state of toy chaos.
Sharing your honest joys AND fears AND fails? Creates a person.
Some of my favorite REAL peeps? There is Blair who lovingly puts it out there…ALL out there. There is also Adrienne for whom I have so much love. She is real and honest and I love her. And of course there is my etwin, Miranda who pours her heart out to her audience. Lastly, Casey has always floored me for being so honest that I swear she is in my brain.
3. Seriously…write like YOU.
Once you start creating honest snap shots for your reader, you need to do it using YOUR voice. Don’t try to imitate others. Maybe you have your own phrases or a unique writing structure (I tend to do short paragraphs and minimal words) or distinct tone (sarcastic, funny, sensitive…whatever your personality is)…the key is to be YOU and not someone else.
I have been told that this post where I hate on Wal-Mart drips of Katie. (I also try to show and not tell…even though it’s a story).
Bloggers who amaze me with their unique style? Who I would totally know out of a blogging line up?
Kimberly might have a bad back, but she has a wicked sense of humor that amazes me. And I would know CDG from a pile of blogs any day…her writing is AWESOME. And please? Lori could hide behind…well…she couldn’t hide from me.
4. Write what you know.
You are an expert at your life. You are an expert at YOU. Write about that. Don’t dabble in things you can’t speak of. I know nothing about breastfeeding or cloth-diappering. I did neither. I will be starting zero posts about those things.
I don’t know much about html or SEO or feeds. I will not be giving you tips on those.
I know about my life. I know about MY ppd (not yours). I know about writing. I know about ME.
That is what I will be writing about.
And you should write what YOU know.
Bloggers who write what they know (and do it well)? Gigi knows a lot about a lot (I swear…she is like the Cat in the Hat of blogging). Lindsey is another someone I feel always writes what she knows…her family, her blog, her life…and does it well. The Empress is also someone I feel like is an “authority” because of her blogging style. which I dig.
These rules could easily be a series of posts each. This is just the nitty gritty of what it takes to have a good writing voice/style.
For today’s blog hop (which is located at Miranda’s blog)…I want to encourage you to explode a moment…give your reader a snapshot from your memory. I love the idea of exploding a moment so much, I started a blog just to do that (yes, I am plugging myself here, what?). So give it a try. Need ideas? Look at this or this or this. All posts where I gave the readers a snapshot through my words.
And don’t forget to head over to Miranda‘s…she will show you some of the more technical stuff about writing that will make it more readable and flowy (she is better at the organizational stuff than I am…by far!)
So what do you think? Good tips? Hard challenge? Did I leave out your favorite bloggers? Talk to me!