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

Authentic

25 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. José María López
    Apr 23, 2018 @ 00:41:45

    There´s a brainstorming exercise I have found very useful when I don´t know what to do. It´s called “forced relationships”. It works this way: you choose a word that it is not related at all to your problem and then you find a way to make that relationship. For example: I have the problem of not knowing what I want to write about today. Then I open a book and see the word “eagle”. How is an eagle? what are its characteristics? You can say: it´s free, it has a global vision. If that eagle were me, what would it write about? How would it do it?

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Apr 23, 2018 @ 05:59:03

      The funny thing is that I have had countless post ideas that have turned into partial unpublished posts. I have been caught up in needless worry about if I was doing what I should be doing to become a solid blogger. I still feel like there is value in the advice that I read and agree that you probably should do x, y, and z if you want to stay on the blogging fast track. But if you can’t even enter the race because you are so distracted by someone else’s rules, it seems like it’s time to reevaluate their applicability in your own life. Even if they do still make sense, we have to maintain our own style that compliments who we already are. Attempting to recreate ourselves in a poor man’s copy of another seems like the last direction we should head. However I love your advice. As always it is rife with wisdom. Thank you my friend. 🙂

      Reply

      • José María López
        Apr 23, 2018 @ 08:45:58

        As everything in life it´s great to find a balance; you can write about what it is really interesting for you, being authentic and in your own style and just frame it in a few “good practices”. Although, I agree with you, you may use the “best practices” in the world, but never allow them to separate yourself from who you really are, since you would lose the creativity, charm, charisma and wise thought that we all enjoy reading in your posts.

  2. José María López
    Apr 23, 2018 @ 01:00:00

    Creativity goes along with neuroticism, which it is not good since there´s a lot in your head, but what it´s great of being creative is that anything you decide to write about is interesting and unique, not many people have that talent.

    Reply

  3. Writer Lori
    Apr 23, 2018 @ 03:52:36

    One of the things I like best about your blog is that I never know what I will find, Jo. Could be a serious subject, could be roaringly funny, could be a crazy mash-up of the two that you amazingly make work. But it’s always YOU, and I treasure that. Have a great day!

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Apr 23, 2018 @ 05:33:26

      I tried to add bumper rails to my writing, but it was a total fail! It was like kicking up kid guards around my bowling lane but then finding myself unable to even drop the ball at all after that. No good. Hasta la vista rails.Hello unpredictable ramble! 😉 And seeing you name on here is absolute confirmation for me that it’s the right move for me. I genuinely smile when I see you name on my pending comments list. Thank you for always giving me that gift in return Lori. 🤗

      Reply

  4. James J. Cudney IV
    Apr 23, 2018 @ 07:10:03

    Authentic says it all. I believe in you.

    Reply

  5. agentemly
    Apr 23, 2018 @ 07:47:41

    Love your style! And you of course xoxoxoxo
    >

    Reply

  6. Jodi
    Apr 23, 2018 @ 20:42:35

    One of my favorite bloggers back in the day was brittanyherself.com, she’s gone a long spell and does at time to bring something to her game now when she blogs, don’t sweat it – I love reading your material and it’s always noteworthy in my head.

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Apr 25, 2018 @ 06:30:12

      Hey girl! I’ll have to check that one out. It’s always fun to see the other interesting stuff other writers put out there. And thank you for the compliment. 🙂 Big hugs to you lovebug!!!! Jo

      Reply

  7. foodzesty
    Apr 25, 2018 @ 06:23:36

    Loved this post!! 🙂

    Reply

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  9. shalini
    Apr 29, 2018 @ 23:22:47

    Jo, those are good blogging points. But Jo I follow so many rules in life, that I don’t want to follow any on my blog, so I post when I want to, write about topics as I feel like. I don’t want rules anymore. I am not a rule breaker, as I assume rules have made for a good reason.
    I want to write more personal pieces, but the way my country is going, I am liking the books further.
    I feel there are no words inside me to scream about women abuse, child abuse, political abuse. Well, one day, I will have a voice again when the time is right. At this point, books it is
    What camera did you buy?

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Apr 30, 2018 @ 05:38:34

      I think that you absolutely speak from your authentic place. Just because you don’t always write about emotional moments that are affecting you in that moment doesn’t mean that you aren’t being true to yourself. You do love the books, and your reviews share brilliant glimpses into your views about the pieces you read. And when you do delve into emotional moments that are realities you are facing, you go all in. 110% raw and real every single time. You follow the rules in the one hand but smash through the false boundaries and restrictions that surround you on the other. I think that you are running it like a rockstar my sweet Fablini! Don’t even think about changing your style! 🙂 I bought a Canon EOS 80D. ironically I thought that it was a Canon A-D-D because I learned about it while speaking with some salespeople over the phone. I laughed when I saw 80D and not A-D-D on the camera body. I’m still extremely green at using it, but my photos are much better overall. Hopefully I will improve with time and my lens collection will do the same.:)

      Reply

  10. misifusa
    May 02, 2018 @ 10:35:49

    Write dear girl! No matter the subject, your inherent love shines through and we all are attracted by your heartlight. We are with you in every sense of the word, eagerly reading whatever it is you are writing about because you write from the heart and we feel the connection. And, isn’t that what blogging is all about?? xoxoox

    Reply

    • MoJo
      May 03, 2018 @ 00:25:52

      Yes it would seem so, but too many of us get caught up in the invisible things that someone decided were rules. I think that I just temporarily forgot that I never voted for that whole “rules” gig. 😉

      Reply

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