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Blogging 101 | Finding Your Voice

November 28, 2013
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Can’t believe we’re already onto Week 3 of Blogging 101! If you missed the last couple of weeks, you can check out Week 1 (all about your vision and mission) here and Week 2 (which summarized my favourite photography tips) here! This week, I’m sharing tips on the one thing I’ve always loved to do: writing! 
As the story famously goes (and by famously, I mean my parents like to tell it), I really got the hang of English through writing, not through speaking. French was my first language, so when we moved to British Columbia and I decided it’d be fun to be a mute for a bit, I coped by learning English through reading and writing. Then when I finally got shipped to English school (five blocks away from home), I decided to keep up the fun, linguistically confused times by becoming a pathological liar in the hopes that it would impress my new Anglophone peers. My very wise and understanding Grade 3 teacher Ms. Hornby was innovative and kind enough to forgive my web of lies, encouraging me to apply them toward something I showed a passion for: writing! And like most of my other great loves in life, that is the very twisted beginning to my relationship with writing.
I think since I had the good fortune of learning the language through writing first, I always had a pretty decent sense of what my voice was – looking back at old diaries compared to the stuff I write now, there aren’t really any big differences in terms of tone (though fortunately, some improvements have been made structurally and grammatically). When I put some thought into what helps get my writing flowing though, I was able to break it down to these three core practices: working on your unique voice, free flow writing and forming new angles or ideas. I’ve detailed each below but if you want to download the whole package now, you can do so by clicking here!
{ your voice }

to vogue or bust, vancouver style blog, vancouver fashion blog, alexandra grant, canadian fashion blog, blogging tips, how to find your writing voice, how to write freely, free flow writing, writing tips, blogging 101

The tips above will help you get a better sense of your writing voice, but more than anything, just stick to that last point. Read more. Write more. Like anything else, the more you practice, the more sure of your work you become. The only other piece of advice (and this is totally just personal taste) is that when it comes to style blogging, while good and tight writing should be the standard we all hold ourselves to, I’d rather read something that’s authentic with mistakes than something that sounds stiff, lofty or strained. Again, this is totally a question of taste, but I personally feel like the beauty of blogging is that it provides us with the perfect platform to write as we would in our diary (but hopefully just eeeever so slightly filtered for TMI details). So as simplistic as this sounds, your voice is your voice. It’s how you talk, it’s how you think and it’s how you write when you’re not writing for anyone else. The trick is to simply channel that voice through your blog writing!
{ free flow }

to vogue or bust, vancouver style blog, vancouver fashion blog, alexandra grant, canadian fashion blog, blogging tips, how to find your writing voice, how to write freely, free flow writing, writing tips, blogging 101

While it’s hard to free flow write when you’re working on a deadline, nothing helps me more than simply zoning out and just writing. I even do this weird thing that really creeps out my boyfriend and friends…I type without looking at the screen, staring straight forward, typing away with glazed-over eyes. When I review the copy afterwards, yes, obviously there are some key mashes or incoherent/disjointed sentences…but most importantly, there’s a whole lot of content! So again, let’s just get as bare bones as possible…if you want to write, you’ve got to just write. Even if you end up deleting three or four paragraphs at the top that just detail a funny incident you saw earlier or a random rant that you decided to throw in for no reason, once you get going, you’ll end up being able to pull a post together no problem. As it is with tailoring clothes, it’s always easier to take away a surplus of words than it is to keep tacking on copy to something that’s incomplete.
{ forming and storing ideas }

to vogue or bust, vancouver style blog, vancouver fashion blog, alexandra grant, canadian fashion blog, blogging tips, how to find your writing voice, how to write freely, free flow writing, writing tips, blogging 101

Ever uploaded your pictures, formatted them properly, added your alt tags and then stared blankly at the white space below your images wondering what the hell you were going to write about? All bloggers have been there, even the ones who write for a living. I find my number one challenge is coming up with things to write about, especially on weeks that are stressful or when tough situations come up. This is when I fall back on my journalism education and work, using the formulas taught to me back then to work on angles and ideas. It’s also a great opportunity to flip through your idea banks (described in more detail in that visual above and in the download below). Especially when you have personal issues or are going through work stress…the idea bank is invaluable.
And as always, all of this week’s Blogging 101 tips are available for download by clicking here (or on the visual below)! 

to vogue or bust, vancouver style blog, vancouver fashion blog, alexandra grant, canadian fashion blog, blogging tips, how to find your writing voice, how to write freely, free flow writing, writing tips, blogging 101

Thanks so much for supporting this fun little feature, guys! I initially was going to limit it to four weeks, but will either lengthen Blogging 101 or come back to it in a month or two since I’ve gotten quite a few emails asking for tips in a few different areas.
Here’s one question for next week though: would you rather I touch base on Photoshop, monetizing or balancing blog/work/life stress? Let me know in the comments!
And if you’re liking these tips, don’t forget to share them with your networks! Always appreciate the support, thank you to everyone who’s shared already! πŸ™‚

{ resources }

10 Tips on Writing From David Ogilvy
Ommwriter – do yourself a favour and download this!
How to Write Fast by Marie Forleo
The Inverted Pyramid Structure

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8 Comments

  • Reply Sabrina November 28, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    Thx for your great blogging tips Alex! Love to read them. All the topics you proposed to touch on are great….I would talk about Photoshop next week, then work/life balance, and monetizing definitely later in your series.

    Cheers!
    Sabrina

  • Reply Elisabeth November 28, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    Great tips Alex! I haven't visited your blog in a while, and I must say I'm impressed! The layout has changed again, and everytime it changes, it gets better!

    xxx
    E from Helsinki
    http://dragonflyelisabeth.blogspot.fi/

  • Reply Melanie Liliana November 28, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    I always love your blogging tips Alex! So helpful and you can really tell your passion for blogging when you do them! xxx

  • Reply Monika Faulkner November 28, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    I didn't have enough foresight to go to journalism school, but I DID take extra English classes when I was in high school (it was always my favourite subject!) So I'm happy to report that some of it must have "stuck"…because according to your post today, I think I'm right on track!! And my wish for your post next week?! All about "monetizing," please!! It's a black hole for me right now!!

  • Reply Trisha g November 29, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    I was so happy when I saw on Instagram that you had posted "finding your voice". I really needed this right now – not only because writing was some personal homework I gave myself this week, but because it's something that has plagued me personally for many years. I love your blog and I really love your story about how you came to speak English. I now have some good guidelines as to where to start and help me find that voice that is just dying to get out. Thank you so much Alex for sharing!

  • Reply April Galvan November 29, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    I love this series! Your tips are so helpful. I would love to read more about balancing blogging/work and monetizing. I enjoy blogging and have found it a bit challenging to keep up with it while work has me on a hectic schedule. I'd love to hear your tips on how to be more consistent. Thank you so much for sharing!
    -April

    http://www.thelifelovely.com

  • Reply shesseasonallyinspired November 30, 2013 at 3:55 am

    This is such amazing advice! thanks soo much for sharing everything you've learned xo

  • Reply Oriana White December 4, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    Great advice! I think for me consistently posting is an issue- I blog more for personal happiness than anything else, so I guess I can get away with the sporadic posts.

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