How To Make Your Blog Sound Like You
by Samantha Marin
Nothing will make a blog fall flatter than when writing sounds like it could have been crafted by anyone. Look over your content—if your paragraphs could’ve been written by a fifty-year-old landscaper or a seventy-year-old dietician rather than a…let me guess…thirty-something-photographer and no one would have known, you are going to want to make some changes (unless, of course, you fit one of those categories). Figuring out how to turn your tone into words and letting your voice shine through is no easy feat—many professional writers never truly find a tone that works for them. Here are a few tips to cheat the system and spice up your tone without needing to get an MFA in writing.
Ask your friends which words you use most.
Everyone has their own set of word “-isms” that one of their family members or close friends would recognize when used. I have a tendency to exaggerate nearly everything I say, so that happens quite frequently in my writing. Maybe you’re pretty sarcastic. If so, throw some deadpanners in there! People want to read posts that reflect your personality.
Write as if you’re having a conversation.
This is when reading out loud really comes in handy. Chances are, if you’re blogging it’s not necessary to be formal and is actually more beneficial to be conversational. Pretend that instead of writing a blog post you’re writing an email to a close friend. Would you crack a joke somewhere? Maybe describe how dang hot it was outside while doing your shoot instead of only focusing on the positives? Which brings me to…
Don’t be afraid to throw in a few funny or less positive details.
A blog post radiating with positivity and dripping with sparkles and sunshine is easy to gloss over and forget. Instead, a post with a funny story about mosquitoes buzzing around your bride-to-be or a freak rainstorm that created some awesomely-weird photos of your senior is way more exciting than hearing about the constant perfection of every moment during your shoot. You will soon find that it’s easier to inject tone into your piece when you write about things you can actually have tone about—it’s difficult to find your voice through all the spotlessness.
Don’t write more than you would want to know if you were the reader.
Writing every detail of the venue you photographed in or the outfit your subject wore is unnecessary. Fill in information that a reader wouldn’t get immediately from the photos, such as the smells and sounds of the venue or why the subject chose their particular clothes. By filling in these details, you transport your reader to that space as if they were on the journey with you.
Try free-writing in a journal and compare it to your blog content.
Describe a moment in your day and see how it compares to your written content. Are you using shorter or longer sentences than you do in your blog? Are you including less adjectives than you do in your blog? Maybe a few more similes (descriptions using like or as) or metaphors (descriptions not using like or as) look like they could be brewing in your free-hand writing. Take it and run!
Read some writers who have a fully-developed tone.
The first book that comes to mind is Tina Fey’s “Bossy Pants.” Cat Martell’s “How To Murder Your Life” is another one. Pick up some books that are truly tied to the author and see how they make their voice come through their writing. It’s important to read a lot to be able to write well, but you can skip the American literary canon and read a few snappy books that showcase a strong writers’ voice instead.