Jenny’s Note: Today’s awesome post is writtin by Roger, AKA FloorElf. I first met Roger through the CustomerLove challenge and liked him immediately. His larger-than-life personality mixed with a generous heart and razor-sharp wit has made him an instant favorite online. Roger’s insights on what it takes to capture (and keep) his readers’ interest offer valuable lessons for each of us. Find him at FloorElf and TileArtCenter or stalk him in Twitter @FloorElf.
Those two little words right there run through my head more than anything else when I’m in front of my computer. So much, in fact, that the meaning behind them is normally lost in the pile of ‘stuff’ just sitting around in my brain. And that pile of stuff? It’s like rattling shiny keys at a cat. I can’t stay away from it. I’m easily distracted.
The main problem I had when I began blogging was there was always something else I’d rather be doing. I’d get bored easily with what I was writing about. My thoughts always wanted to wander off somewhere else – stare at another shiny thing for a while. I have trouble suppressing the little bastard in the back of my head screaming ‘THIS IS BORING!” – he’s not helpful. Like right now, as I’m writing this sentence, I’m also wondering if I would prefer a pet camel with one hump or two? Hmmmm…
See? Now to some extent I’m allowed to do this – I’m not a writer, or a ‘professional blogger’ or a copywriter or a marketer or, well, anything like that – I’m a tile contractor. ‘WTF???’ you may ask yourself (and you really should stop thinking in acronyms – it’s unhealthy). I didn’t grow up wanting to be a writer. I wanted to be a bull fighter – but then, honestly, who hasn’t? But when I was diagnosed with the rare ‘being gored by a bull’ allergy I needed to choose another line of work.
When I began blogging I would struggle with trying to form what I was thinking into coherent sentences, and failed miserably. I actually didn’t fail, but it would take me four times as long to write what I wanted to write. It didn’t flow – know what I mean? It was, to be honest, like pulling teeth. I never wanted to be a dentist either. Dentists creep me out – a lot, especially dentists dressed like clowns…
I AM FOCUSED! See, right now I have no trouble writing this – it flows. It does this because I incorporate into my writing (if it can, in fact, be described as ‘writing’) a lot of the things the little bored bastard in my head doesn’t find boring. This is me, bad humor, flawed grammar and all. It’s how I think and, in turn, how I write. It’s how I incorporate things I enjoy doing into things I need to do. I’m me – trying to be someone else is just too much work.
Three ways to break out of boring:
1. Stop giving a damn about what other people think – right now. When you write in a manner you think other people will find acceptable you lose a part of you. Probably the part that made you want to write in the first place. Write the way that makes you comfortable. This will convey whatever message you are attempting to get across in the most efficient manner possible.
Why this works for me: When I started my blog it was simply stating information and correct procedures. I was translating the procedures into terms people could understand. That was the idea, anyway. Ever read a textbook from cover to cover (by choice)? Neither has anyone else. That’s what I was creating – an online tile textbook. Once I began writing like the goofy-ass I really am, though, people began to actually read it, learn things, and ask questions. They actually wanted to ensure they were understanding it correctly. Weird.
2. Write in your own manner for your audience. Stop trying to write for everyone. Not everyone is going to listen to what you have to say – it will never be a mutually beneficial relationship – ever. Write for your people. The ones that understand you, want to hear what you have to say, and support you in whatever manner you choose to convey your message. The other people? They don’t matter – ScrewEm! Don’t have that audience yet? Keep writing your way – they’ll show up.
Why this works for me: The way that I write on my blog is the same way I wrote this post. It’s a bit scattered, a little off-center, and (hopefully) makes you think about something. The people that read my blog regularly not only realize that – they actually expect that! Once I realized this I changed the tagline on my site to reflect it – ‘Extreme Jackassery’ is right there in the header – google be damned. I don’t write for robots, I write for people. The robots actually reward you for that. Weird.
3. Realize who is in control. If it isn’t you – take that control back! It is your blog. It is your project. It is your desire. Make sure you are the one in control. Too many people conform what they want to write or the manner in which they write to what they think someone else (their reader) wants. I believe that to be counter-productive. If you write about whatever it is you do, in the manner you want, the readers that come to you and stick around understand that – they support that. If your readers are controlling what you write or the manner in which you write it – they are in control of your blog. Sound greedy? It is, but greedy in a good way. It will end up better for both you and your readers.
You can convey more (and more accurate) information if you do it in a manner you enjoy.
Why this works for me: When I began my blog I was writing what I thought people wanted. As a result I was not in control of the content, nor the style in which I conveyed it. It was just another site with confusing information and no personality. Once I took back that control I began making the decisions, I began enjoying the writing aspect, and I began getting positive feedback, links, and regular readers. I am the tile expert! If you want free professional tile advice you must wade through the shiny pile in my brain to get it – just like I do. Some people (my readers) actually enjoy doing this. Weirdest of all.
I understand that my blog and what I do are likely extremely different than you. I also understand, despite that, if you incorporate aspects of you into what you do in a genuine way you may find the people that hang around and sing your praises were the people you wanted there all along.
Classic single-hump camel, I think, and not one of those weird hairy afghan camels, either…