This post presents some helpful recovery strategies that I use, too.
There’s something about blogging that has the distinct possibility to mess with your writing voice, especially that is, when it’s guest blogging. When you start guest blogging on a consistent basis, you can really get caught up on in trying to fit so many different styles, so many different “personalities” that somewhere along the way you go back to your own blog and can’t figure out who the heck you are.
Were you funny once upon a time? Sarcastic? Sassy? Witty? Was that stifled by rude blog hosts? Overly demanding bloggers? I remember particularly well one site owner responding to my outreach e-mail with a rude outpouring of how my tone was just awful and absolutely wrong for their site and too bubbly and too friendly and too this and too that. I sent her an email right back assuring her I could match any tone I needed to, and I did.
Turns out after I got her to accept one, she asked me to write a second article for her. But, sometimes I finish up a week of guest blogging trying to be too informative, more dull than I want to be, funnier than I typically am, or injecting more stupid selling points than I feel okay with. Then I sit down at my own computer, at my own blog, and I feel lost.
If you’ve been guest blogging for awhile, I’d say there’s a pretty good chance you’ve encountered this or are in the midst of it now. Fortunately, there’s a cure. (I think!) First, I’d suggest a short break. Just lay off guest blogging for a little while. Your creative mind gets stifled so quickly when it’s forced to fit into boxes it’s not accustomed to, and when there is no let up, it’s likely to stage a revolt. And, really, can you blame it?
Second, look harder for the blogs that you actually like and/or respect. Sometimes we think it’s good to just get our blog link out there wherever we can or get traffic from any and all directions possible. But, number one, that doesn’t help your voice at all. And more than that, if it’s not a blog that you particularly like, then you probably wouldn’t read it on a regular basis, and the people who are reading that blog on a regular basis are highly unlikely to like your blog anyway.
So, we’ve got you taking a break and weeding out the generic blogs who are willing to take your post but that you could care less about and who probably aren’t going to provide you with good, solid, reliable traffic anyway. But, both of those are “iffys.” Ie: if your job depends upon you guest posting whenever and wherever you can as much as possible, neither of those are going to be feasible.
This means you have to create a definite distinction between the writing you do for “you” and the writing you do for “them.” Create a different writing environment for each. If you want to do your personal writing on your laptop in your living room on the couch, then do your guest blogging from another computer in a different environment, like the public library. The more distinction you can create between writing, even in the act itself, personal vs. guest, the easier it will be when you sit down and want your voice to be your voice.
Go off the deep end a little bit. Okay, so you already know that your voice is a blurry at the moment. To keep your own voice strong when you need it to be, then one option is to look at your guest blogging as your chance to go crazy. Don’t go just a “little” away from your own voice. Don’t be a little more sales-like, a little funnier, a little more serious, etc. That creates too much of a blurred line between the two.
Be outrageously sarcastic, outrageously serious, outrageously different then who you are as a guest blogger. Who really cares! You can attach the article to any pen name you want if you aren’t trying to build up your personal name and you’re just doing link building. That way when you write for yourself, there’s no crossover between you-you and you-guest.
If that overwhelms you just as much, then create one separate persona. Get a name, a birthday, a past life history, a future life history, all of it. Get particular. What does Jocelyne Anne III like to eat with her pizza? Does she dip her French fries in ranch? Is she in love? Happily married? A mom? A party girl in her 20’s?
Whatever it is, take her, Jocelyn Anne III, into every guest blogging avenue you walk into. That way there is you and there is Jocelyn. There are no 100 other people you try to be when you guest blog. It cuts confusion in your mind immensely when you only have to worry about two voices.
Finally, remember who you are and what you believe in when you write for you. Forget that you were trying to sell someone Girl Scout cookies in a blog yesterday. Today is just you and your audience and that’s all that matters.
How do you find your voice after guest blogging? What strategies could we add here?
Jocelyn Anne is a freelance writer who enjoys writing to help others keep on writing. She also does writing for Air & Water, a heating and cooling company specializing on portable air conditioners.