Even if you aren’t a writer by nature, I can guarantee that you can tell me one of the most important pieces of writing advice ever given. Countless pieces of written work have displayed this advise to us in bold and unwavering tones: “Write what you know!” They even tell you why this is. If you write what you know, then your work will ring with authenticity. But why does that even matter?
Now clearly, if you look at books, TV, and movies today, there is plenty of work out there that defies this advice at first glance (Godzilla anyone? I know I haven’t seen any 100-foot tall gorillas roaming around Tokyo lately, have you?) However, the mark of a good author is that they can convey the basic human emotions that we all know about and live with on a daily basis and make them transcend the medium that they write in.
So the question is, how do we as writers, bloggers, and/or small business owners, use the advice of “write what we know” and target it towards our ideal readers/clients? The thing about this is, by writing in our authentic voice, we will already be doing this, attracting our readers better than any other “proven method” of blogging.
When you think about the person reading your blog, who is it that you see? Many people, when they talk about their ideal reader or client, talk about personality traits or experiences that they themselves have gone through and now want to help other people do. Many of those things I had you list at the end of my previous post could be moved from the “this is my story” column to the “story of my ideal reader/the person I want to reach” column.
If I want to know more about how to bake the perfect cake for my son’s birthday party, I am going to identify more with the Baker/Mom’s blog with birthday party ideas than I will to the website of a 5-star pastry chef baking cakes for presidents and world leaders. Our story shapes how we view the world and it does the same for our readers. By using the voice that is authentic to us, shaped by our story, we will attract the people we most want to reach. (Tweet this!) However, if we are using a voice different from our own, we will end up repelling the people that we want to attract.
How hard is it for you to write using your own voice? What would make it easier? Leave me a note in the comments. I would love to hear from you!