Today I am going to share with you the most overlooked way to bring life to your blog writing.
By becoming an outlaw.
If you’re like me, clicking the ship button is scary. My writing isn’t perfect. I make mistakes and that often makes me feel like a criminal.
I just know the law is going to knock on my door and soon.
So for a time I wanted to achieve the impossible, technical perfection. It seemed like the right thing to do.
So many of us try to become perfect writers, who never make grammatical errors or typos, believing that’s the answer to good writing.
It didn’t work – I was still far from perfect (way far – Never – Never Land far), but that wasn’t the real problem.
Technical Perfection… The Trap
Let’s say you’re a law abiding blogger and have become one of those white gloved writers who have mastered technical perfection.
You’ve written dozens of blog posts, maybe even hundreds, and as technically perfect as they are (or are trying to be), few people share your content. Aside from friends and family, no one else takes the time to comment on your articles.
Of course, you want more people to be interested and to engage with you.
The problem is your afraid to let go, to make a mistake, because perhaps someone is going to call you out.
Let’s look at what you’ve become (or are becoming).
An outstanding self-editor, relentlessly removing clichés, generalizations, and excess words.
You are specific and concise.
After all, this is what has been demanded of you over and over again.
But instead of attracting more readers the opposite has happened.
Allow me share a secret with you, but I’ll have to whisper it:
It’s not perfectly edited articles that keep readers interested and compelled to comment.
Your fear of the secret writing police has misled you.
Give up the crazy belief you’ve got to be perfect.
It’s what you’re saying that matters most.
If you’ve got something to say, then focus on saying it. Dictate into a recorder if necessary. Just whatever you do, don’t become obsessed with the mechanics of writing.
What you’re writing about should always be top priority.
It’s time to become a rebel, an outlaw.
But think about outlaws, they are infamous because they are rebellious and break all the rules. When they walk into a saloon the piano playing stops, conversation dies and it becomes so quiet you can hear a pin (or pen, you choose) drop.
Everyone is aware of who just walked in.
Outlaws get noticed.
Bartender, Sarsaparilla! And be quick about it.
Simply being informative with faultless, crisp, but lifeless writing is okay for text books and some newspapers (the boring ones), but not for your blog where your fascinating personality must shine through.
Let’s start your life of crime with the first draft.
The most common advice for writing a first draft is to let go and not worry about making sense or following rules.
I agree. Do you?
You know you really shouldn’t edit while writing your first draft. And yet, it’s hard to turn your internal editor off. Isn’t it?
When a first draft is too controlled, it’s like breathing through a gas mask and it only gets worse when the real editing starts.
Your writing needs life. It needs to be interesting and entertaining.
The good news is you already have what it takes.
And it starts with your first draft. Forget about the rules while writing it. Release any desire for technical perfection, achieving approval and capturing attention.
Relearn how to let go.
Here’s the challenge:
Write a first draft about something that means a lot to you. Write what you truly mean. Let readers feel what you’ve got to say, raw and real. Tell how it is and don’t hold back.
Do not edit this first draft.
Not one word, comma or period. Then post it.
Seriously, post it ‘as is’ live on your blog.
(Okay, one small exception: Do a spell check, even outlaws need to make sure their 6 shooters are loaded.)
You’ll discover that your first draft hardly resembles your edited work. It’s longer, containing words and phrases you would normally remove. (I know, you’re internal self-editor just screamed. That’s okay. Screaming can be therapeutic. I think.)
What matters is that it has your personality in it and that’s how your readers will get to meet the real you, not the over-edited, controlled you.
Besides, you’re first draft isn’t crap. It’s better than you think it is.
Don’t worry about coming across as indulgent or ridiculous, because doubts like those are what usually inhibit us in the first place.
Do this for some time and see if you start getting more comments. When you do, you’ll find out what readers enjoy most about the new articles and that information will help you draft future articles.
Everyone’s got to start (over) somewhere.
After you’ve posted your first drafts a few times and considered readers’ feedback, then little by little start editing first drafts into second drafts, only correcting the most obvious issues.
After a while, move on to third drafts when you get a feel for the balance between technically good editing and maintaining your style and voice.
I realize this isn’t an easy thing, letting go and sharing the uninhibited you with the world. It’s scary and may seem to go against everything you’ve been taught, but that’s why it is the most overlooked way to bring life to your blog.
If you want to create you’re own unique style and allow your voice to shine, then you must let go and discover your own brand of writing, even if it is imperfect.
Far better to live your own path imperfectly than to live another’s perfectly.
― Bhagavad Gita (tweet this quote)
Decent editing is important.
However, what I am saying here is don’t let the need for perfection make you write dull, boring stuff or scare you to the point you don’t publish your work.
Oh, and don’t worry if someone calls out your mistakes, because it might be helpful. If they are just flaming you, remember…
Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.
― Bernard M. Baruch (tweet this quote)
You have an awesome, interesting voice and now it is time to share it with the world.
Never dull your shine for somebody else.
― Tyra Banks (tweet this quote)
Go ahead, be an outlaw. Outlaws are memorable.
Are you ready to break the law? After you’ve posted your daring first draft, come back and link to it here in the comments.