Using Your Authentic Voice

Feeling like something is standing in your way is extremely frustrating. Realizing that that something is you is a major bonus.

I’ve been cycling through an ongoing list of excuses in an attempt to justify (to myself) my lack of writing for the past few months. Somewhere along the way, I psyched myself out. I began to worry about needing to adhere to “best blogging practices” that I read about in other posts by large scale bloggers and found myself in a holding pattern I could not escape.

Pick a theme, know you brand, and stick to it. Tailor your words to a specific audience. At this point in my life, I can’t even decide which apple I like best. Is it gala? Honey crisp? Caramel? Cinnamon? My preferences shift by the hour. I have been so caught up with trying to decide on a platform and have repeatedly found myself staring at the screen with hands locked motionless over the keyboard. Opportunities to write have transformed into mental and emotional wrestling matches. What should or shouldn’t I write? In return I have been left with a stockpile of incomplete posts about topics including mental health issues, parenting struggles, design and decor / DIY overload, travel, rockhounding, birding, and other extremely cool un-nerdy subjects.

Write on a regular schedule and with high frequency. Again with the self-inflicted pressure. I’ve always believed that I work well in a high stress environment, and (on a clearly unrelated note) often find myself writing about my struggles with OCD, depression, and feeling overwhelmed by it all. Beating yourself up about failing to write only serves to fatten up the stress monster while simultaneously adding to writer’s block. Write when you can. Don’t when you can’t. End of story.

When you write, ask yourself, “How would a publisher view this?” Given some of the others works I have seen on the literal and figurative shelves, I would say that the view depends on the publisher. Clean up your writing so it will reflect quality, but don’t remove your voice in the process. If you are constantly choosing your words for someone else, you lose that authentic element that does make you truly unique. People are always searching for something different and something new. Stop aiming to run with the herd. Unless there are lions. In that case, ALWAYS PICK THE HERD.

Make your posts visually appealing. In a comical twist of photographic irony, I have been seriously hyper-focused on the severe lack of focus I have been experiencing with my pre-Jurassic camera. If I was to classify the quality of photos I have been generating, I feel like the term “janky” would be most accurate. Or maybe crapola. Regardless I have been extremely annoyed with my perceived lack of usable photos and again have been at a productive stalemate with my mind on this issue. As I have finally purchase a new camera, I am hopeful that this will leave my mental excuses list.

Ultimately I’ve realized that I should write about whatever speaks to me at that time. This site may be all over the place, and it may diverge from the standard. That’s okay by me. It’s my style of writing as well as my style of living. I do plan on cross-posting some of the entries on alternate topic specific blogs, and those sites will be tagged whenever that occurs. If someone needs a tailored site, perhaps that will work better for them. But I will not lose me or my voice in the process.  I can’t feed into the concerns of an electronic audience, a mercurial publisher, or any number of apples.

Move with honesty within your life, and seek success through your inner truth. Speak with your own voice, and be authentic. Always.

🙂  Joanna


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