Getting Comfortable with your Voice
Question: How can I gain confidence in my writing? I’m not very good, and I hate everything that I put together.
This is the first question I get from clients who want to start blogging – usually, they’re really uncomfortable with the idea of putting their writing out there. After all, you’re not a professional writer. And if you are, you likely don’t need to be reading this post.
When you’re faced with a lack of confidence in your writing, there are a few things I recommend doing, and reflecting on. Part of it, is mindset. (Before you get all “this is about to be woo-woo bullshit” on me, hear me out. My branding process IS called the Brand Mentality, after all.) The other portion is practical practice that will help you get more comfortable with your writing, and feel more confident putting out content.
THE MINDSET COMPONENT for CONFIDENT BLOG WRITING
Half of writing effective blog content is just the mindset you’re in when you’re writing it. Yes, really. I promise.
You are your own worst critic, and there are SO many professionals and entrepreneurs who suffer from Perfectionist Procrastination, which totally kills your ability to be productive when it comes to creating new content, especially written content.
It’s so easy to think about how YOU feel about your content. But like I said – you are your own worst critic. It is unlikely that your readers will notice like, even HALF of the elements of your writing that you consider shortcomings. Really, truly. I promise.
So – the first tip for the appropriate mindset for creating blog content? Get. Out. Of. Your. Own. Head.
How to get out of your own head
Practical ways to do this? Share your content with friends, loved ones, or colleagues in your field before you post them. Hell, feel free to send ME drafts of your blog posts if you don’t have anyone else – let THEM give you feedback, and ask them whether they feel like you’re headed in the right direction. Not from the perspective of someone checking in with your SEO, because obviously that would require an expert. But rather, asking them to think about the format of your writing, your voice… the way that you’ve written it. You’ll likely find that your content is closer to your goals than you think it is.
Other than being your own worst critic, there are other mindset issues that play into not feeling comfortable with your content.
One of these, is feeling repetitive. There are more tips and tricks to practically avoid this in the next post in this series, but… this is mostly a mindset issue. Here’s the thing. It’s highly unlikely that you’re going to have clients in your audience who read EVERY post you put out. It’s like social media – about 3-5% of your audience will actually be shown your content. That’s a SUPER small percentage. What does this mean? Repetitive content isn’t actually going to bore your audience – because… they’re unlikely to see it.
Now that’s not to say you can just put the same content in like 23 posts, schedule them for posting, and call it a day – but, you don’t need to worry about some lightly repetitive content. This is that worst critic in your head getting to you again. I promise.
Who will read it?
The final mindset barrier I’ll cover here, is feeling that no one will want to read your content.
I run into this one a lot too – entrepreneurs thinking that no one will want to read what they write. That they’re not good enough to be taken seriously, and so people will just… pass their blog right over.
But… this isn’t a practical fear, and I’ll tell you why. You’re here right now reading my content. There are 6 billion humans on this planet. You’re telling me, out of those 6 billion… NO ONE wants to read what you have to say? By that logic, no one wants your services, either. And that’s simply inaccurate. There ARE clients out there for you, whether you’ve had them already or not, and those people WANT to connect with you. They WANT to find you – the expert in what they need. Give them that opportunity – don’t make the decision for them. By not giving them the opportunity to get to know you like we discussed here, you’re essentially choosing another professional for them. Just by skipping something you’re… frankly afraid of doing (sorry not sorry, I tell it like it is.)
So when it comes to the mindset related to blogging, here’s what I recommend:
- Get out of your own head
- Ignore your inner critic
- Don’t discount your own ideas
- Assume people WANT to read your content
- Stop telling yourself you’re bad at something you haven’t given yourself adequate time to try
Remember, you are an EXPERT in what you do, and your work deserves to be highlighted!
THE PRACTICAL COMPONENT for CONFIDENT BLOG WRITING
After you’ve gotten out of your own head, there are practical steps you can take to get more confident in your writing, too!
One of my degrees is in English – so I’ve spent a LOT of time writing. But, I wasn’t always this confident in the content that I put out, honestly I spent a lot of time being straight up worried about what I was writing, and how I was writing it.
This is literally the process I use to make sure that I stay confident in my content, and feel as comfortable as possible writing it!
- I read my content out loud before I post it, ALWAYS. This does several things for you. First, it helps you to feel comfortable being conversational in your content. If you feel less than confident in your voice, part of that is likely because you don’t like the way your writing sounds. When reading aloud, you get the opportunity to see whether what you’re writing is actually framed and formatted the way you would speak. Your blog isn’t s technical workshop, or a university lecture. It’s a means of connecting, in a human way. So, it logically follows that the content you write needs to be written the way you would naturally communicate with your clients, right? Right. So, if you’re feeling less-than-confident in your writing, read it aloud before you edit it.
- Let your post sit a week-ish before you post it. If you’re feeling like something you’ve written isn’t your best… let it marinate! Write it, and step away. Come back to it in a week, read it aloud, and make your edits. This gives you time to have some separation from the content, lets it sit into your brain a bit, and will give you new eyes when you’re editing it. AND, it gives you the opportunity to get out of frustration, too, if you’re getting a bit miffed with yourself about writing it in the first place.
- Use voice dictation to write content! This is one that I love. I use this myself from time to time, but it was a lot more useful to me when I felt extra frustrated with my own writing. You can literally just open voice notes on your phone, and then talk to yourself about what you want to blog on. Later, when you have time, sit down and transcribe what you said. You might find that this helps you to write in the way you would speak – because well… you actually literally spoke it in the first place!
- Return to one of those mindset points above, and have someone else read your post. Someone you’re comfortable with – a professional accountability partner, a coach, a loved one. Someone who will know enough about your field to understand your post, OR someone who fits into our ideal client profile. This will not only help with those mindset issues discussed above, but will also help you get an external opinion, which will confirm for you that what you’ve written is bangin, and you need to post it.
- Read other blogs. Now, this one is a slippery slope, because comparison-itis is a problem, and I would never recommend a strategy that helps it grow. HOWEVER, reading other blogs can be super helpful for you when it comes to developing your voice, and getting comfortable writing. Find a few blogs who’s voice you like – not necessarily even for the content, just for the WAY that they write it. Make note about what you like. Is it their descriptive words? Do they use really cool metaphors? Are they just really fucking straightforward? Figure out what you like about it, and keep those elements in mind when you’re writing your own content.
Now obviously, this isn’t comprehensive. There are LOADS of other ways to get confident in your writing, but these are a few that I personally use, recommend, and have found to be really helpful.
Are there other tips and tricks you’ve used to feel more comfortable in your writing? Or, are there suggestions in this list that you’ve tried?
Feel free to share your own experiences or further questions in the comments, and we’ll talk about them in depth!