I’ve taken great strides over the years to become an editor’s best friend. By that, I mean that I am part of their “stable” of travel writers—a go-to person whenever they have a need for an article.
I meet or exceed deadlines; I proofread and fact-check each piece; I follow their writer’s guidelines; and I try to always say “yes.”
Being an editor’s go-to writer saves time and frustration—for me and for them.
Having said that, writing for other publications does tie your hands because you must always write what they want.
That’s why I started my own travel blog, Luggage and Lipstick.
Even though I’d become successful as a travel writer, there were still some travel tales I wanted to tell that didn’t really fit any guidelines. Sometimes these were personal adventure stories—sometimes humorous, sometimes a little bit snarky.
If I could write it as an equation, it would look something like this:
Blog = Voice + Freedom
My blog is where I can truly be me.
That said, it took me some time to really find my voice on a blog. Looking back, here’s what I’ve learned that can help you find your blogging voice:
1. Write as if you’re talking to your best friend. Don’t use jargon or travel lingo. Try reading what you’ve written out loud. If you wouldn’t speak like that, don’t write like that. It will come across as too formal or stilted. Think of your blog as a comfy couch with your friends nestled around you, making them feel at home, engaging them in your travel tales.
2. If you write about things that you love, you’ll love writing. Writing blog posts is so much fun for me that it never feels like work.
It can take some practice, but don’t fret… I look back at some of my early posts and cringe. That’s the normal process for writing and you will continue to develop. Readers love authenticity and can spot something that was written primarily for SEO a mile away.
3. Decide on your own personal style. Are you humorous, quirky, helpful, honest, sweet, sassy, nerdy, gregarious, witty? Being aware of your voice will help keep your writing style constant.
4. Ask your friends and family to describe you in three words. That’s the intersection of your natural voice!
5. Picture your ideal reader. Creating an actual detailed profile in your mind can help bring focus and clarity to your writing. As an example, here’s mine:
My ideal reader is a baby boomer, a recent empty-nester. She’s smart, she’s savvy, she’s sassy but classy. She has the time, freedom, and desire to travel. She’s not a backpacker and won’t stay in a hostel, but she wants affordable luxury. She’s all about fun and adventure and would prefer eating street food to sitting down to a three-hour multi-course dinner.
See how easy it is? Now it’s your turn.
6. Read and re-read and tweak as you go. It takes me as long to write a blog post as it does to write most of my published articles. And why not? Just because the voice is different doesn’t mean I don’t want it to be as good as it possibly can.
7. Always be a storyteller.
Once you’ve established your voice, be consistent. Like-minded readers will be drawn to you and will be eagerly awaiting your next post.