With so many skills required of food bloggers now including recipe development, photography, social media management, the process of becoming a better writer can be less emphasized. For me, writing is at the heart of blogging, and its been such a great way to develop my voice.
My interest in writing and, later, blogging, came partly came from the years of writing letters back and forth to my best friend from high school. Back in the day, we even used to cut out pictures from magazines to paste into our letters. I think these were blog posts in their most rudimentary form, combining our deepest feelings with images to highlight our words.
Nonetheless, developing my unique voice on my blog did take time. (Incidentally, this month marks my 7th year of blogging, the longest I’ve ever done anything, besides being married, ha). My audience has changed over the years and so have I. My comfort level in sharing very personal thoughts and experiences has waxed and waned.
I think most writers go through ups and downs. Amy Tan came to my undergraduate college once to speak about writing and advised us to “do anything else before deciding to be a writer.” I took her advice to heart and went into fundraising for non-profit hospitals, then left and got an MBA, then worked in retail product development, and then got a masters degree in public health. And, well, here I am.
All that said, I do think finding one’s voice as a writer is at the heart of it all. I’m super intrigued by bloggers who seem as if they’re speaking right to me, who feel like friends even though we’ve never met, and who have that ability to put feelings and experiences into words in ways that I remember days or weeks (years even!) after I’ve read their work.
Some examples of food bloggers who do that for me include Molly Wizenberg of Orangette, Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks, Juli Bauer of PaleOMG, and Molly Yeh of My Name is Yeh. Each of these women has such a unique personality and perspective that comes across so distinctly. That’s proof that they’ve mastered the art of finding their voice.
The 5 tips that I can offer newbie bloggers or those writers who feel like they are struggling to find their voice are these.
- Try out different voices. It’s okay to sound schizophrenic-ey when you first start writing. With the anonymity of the internet, feel free to create some social media accounts or even blogs that differ in focus. Try using an authoritative voice. Or, one where you are obviously trying to learn. See what feels right for you and what others respond to. Above all else, be you.
- Write to a specific person. This is a tip I learned from another blogger and it’s so true! There are at least 3 people I know personally who read every word I write (thank you, you know who you are), and I often write directly to that person. It makes it so much more natural because it’s like writing a letter.
- Try public speaking or developing your skill in other methods of communication. Try just working on your speaking skills in general. Not an easy task for introverts like me, but we do live in a multi-media age, so it’s good practice for writing to learn to communicate through different mediums.
- Be vulnerable and authentic. I believe our human brains are very developed to detect lies or people not being authentic. Another piece of advice I heard was that your best work comes after you feel like you’ve left the house and forgotten to get dressed. Yep, writing feels that uncomfortable sometimes (an example is this post I wrote that currently has 531 comments). Otherwise, what you wrote is probably kinda boring.
- Believe in your value and your experience. This is so hard! I often write about things that I can’t believe others would care about, but, I care, and that’s what motivates me to share it through writing. I care and I believe in myself enough to know that whatever it is, it’s worth sharing.
Tips for writing and developing your voice? Share with me in the comments!
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