Monday, April 5, 2010

Breeding Authenticity

All right (ha! Switched it up on ya!), so we've been talking about how to build a better blog. I told you what I've done to attract more readers to my blog.

But really, it all comes down to one thing: authenticity. The ability to make your blog unlike the fifty thousand others that are out there--which I might point out, is something you must do with your writing too.

So let's go.

I've seen some people asking other people for what they'd like to see on Person A's blog. Yeah, that makes sense. Let me clarify. Person A blogs. Asks Persons B - Z what they'd like to see on Person A's blog.

Disclaimer: This is not bad. Remember that it's not all about you.

However, when I see this, little alarms start going off in my head.

Why?

A) YOU should know who your audience is.
B) Once you know who your audience is, YOU should be able to come up with content to please that audience. You shouldn't have to ask.

Disclaimer #2: That doesn't mean you can't, of course. If just means that maybe I think I already know what you want to read here, and so I just do it. Or I figure that if you don't like what you read here, you'll maybe stick around because of my fabulous hair and eventually find something you do like. *wink*

I also think you shouldn't have to ask because of:

1) Confidence. I am insanely confident, this I know (unless you've emailed with me recently, in which case, shutty). I don't have to ask what you guys want to see on my blog, because I'm confident I already know. (And I suppose that if I'm wrong--gasp!--I just figure maybe tomorrow will be the day I'm right. Who knows?)

2) Authenticity. I know who I am. There is no one else like me, and there is no way on this planet that someone could write their blog (or a novel) the way I do.

These two areas are where you need to focus to breed authenticity into your blog (and your writing).

Now before you start bowing down and proclaiming that I'm all that and a bag of chips (which I'm so not), let me relate a story.

About 16 months ago, me and a group of friends started writing for the QueryTracker blog. It was epic. Awesomesauce. But inside I had a swarm of bees stinging me with these words, "You're different. You're no expert. What do you know?"

*sting sting sting*

I'm sure I bored my blog co-authors (who are DOCTORS and LAWYERS) with my whiny emails about how I was nothing.

But really, it came down to this: I am different. And I do know stuff (boy, that sounds so...smart. Ha!).

And the stinging faded into the distance. I can say, "I was nothing," in the past tense. Because I am something now.

I am Elana Johnson.

Who are you? Do you know who you are? Do you have confidence that what you say can NOT be said by someone else? If not, how do you think you gain that confidence? How do you find out who you are? And once you have these two things, does that influence the way you write? (I totally think so, by the way. But maybe that's another post...??)

107 comments:

Christina Lee said...

Do I have confidence that what I say can NOT be said by someone else? Well, not exactly, but I do know it won't be said the exact same WAY I can say it --which applies to voice in a manuscript to, no?
Oh Elena-- you RAWK girl!

Stephanie L. McGee said...

Looks around. Whispers. I'm guilty of all of these things. Sigh.

Great post.

Jaydee Morgan said...

You give such excellent advice/suggestions. I've used a lot of what you've said to revamp my own blog to reflect who I am - instead of a vague notion.

Keep being you!

Matthew Rush said...

1) Your hair IS fabulous.

2) You DO know stuff.

3) Your courage and honesty are commendable, plus all the advice you share with all us novice writers for free is pretty awesome.

Thanks Elana!

Crystal Cook said...

I really admire you for your confidence and your hair of course :)

I am guilty of pretty much all of those, confidence I struggle with, I'm fighting it though. I'll put these into action, thanks!

Sheri Larsen said...

Who am I? I am ME. Plain and simple. You are correct, Elana, not to mention awesomesauseness!!! (Loving that word.)

I must step out in my own shoes, blogging and writing, and be the only person I was meant to be--ME. And wear it proudly. Thanks for your humbled boldness. Yes, that's what I meant. See, me being me!!

SonshineMusic i.e. Rebecca T. said...

When I started my blog I had NO idea what I was going to do with it. It was completely random and I had the following to echo that. Then I started doing a weekly feature, which started to draw people. Then I started bouncing all over the place following others like crazy(as per your suggestion) and I got invited to join an A-Z challenge - posting every day (except Sundays) for April. I'm only 3 days in and I think I've finally found my voice, who I am and I'm feeling so much more confident. And my readership is reflecting that - I just broke 50 followers - and I'm having more fun than I know how to handle!

So thanks for the advice! (and sorry for the book here :) Because I don't think I would have had the courage to pursue this if it weren't for people like you encouraging beginners like me :D

Palindrome said...

I figure most people have found me on their own and they must like what I'm saying and how I'm saying it, so why stop being me? Now if this feeling would only bleed onto the fiction writing side of me...

I'm working on it!!

Great advice of course!

Christi Goddard said...

I mostly post little crazy short stories, with nothing personal about me, so I did ask a couple weeks back if my readers would prefer a more informative blog as opposed to 'look at me! look at me!' writing samples, but that was because I'm NOT a 'look at me!' sort of gal and worried I came across that way by posting mostly fiction. I've started to rotate my posts now so each visit is something different, much like my personality that changes daily. :-)

Summer said...

I'm quite confident in myself; I started my blog to help me write daily, and it grew into something much bigger. I think I'm discovering that I might be (at least a little) funny. With all the blogs out there offering writing advice, experts and novices both, I actually try to avoid that, even though I would consider it a writing blog. I mix in a lot of personal stuff, and random stuff that makes me laugh or makes me think... I guess I like to see that in others' blogs, so I write it in mine. Know what I mean?

PS: I used to have a haircut very similar to yours, and it totally does rock!

lotusgirl said...

Great advice. I am Lois Moss. Writer, Photographer, Reader, Singer, and all around know-it-all. Take that, Blogosphere.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I'm a spunky redhead who's an author and pro speaker!

And I did adjust one of my posting topics a few months ago and asked my readers for their opinion on a new subject.

foldingfields said...

You do know what your readers want or need to hear because here I am checking up on Elana Johnson and the word AUTHENTICITY smacks me in the forehead.
This is something I've been acutely aware of over the past few months of writing. I know exactly who I am, but I am sometimes shy to act like myself. I can always be myself when writing because it's something I feel confident about. This is an amazing realization since I used to really beat myself up about how I would never be good like the writers I like to read. Somehow it doesn't matter anymore.
Mainly, my concern with authenticity comes with some of my characters who are of a different ethnic background to myself and in a lot of ways very foreign to me and my experience. Hopefully my imagination isn't too far from the mark. thanks for the inspiration!

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

GREAT post! I believe I have to be true to myself, write my stories and my blog posts according to who I am as an artist and a person. When I do that, my authenticity attracts people who find me likable and interesting, and who want to read what I have to say.

Confidence and a strong sense of self are vital. Success, in its varied definitions, will surely follow.

I love your blog, Elana! Keep doing what your doing :))

Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought said...

Numbers 1 & 2...why I keep reading here.

Numbers 1 & 2...yep, I've got 'em. :D

~ Wendy

Lisa said...

Great post! Sometimes I feel like I'm floundering a bit in the blog world, but I need to remember that there's no one else out there that will say it like I do. Thanks for the reminder :)

G.~ said...

New follower here. I am so grateful that I tripped on your blog. Great post.

I can't be reminded enough about how I just need to be myself. It's like a light bulb foes on; "Oh yeah, that's right, I can just be me and all will be well." Wow. What a concept! Thank you.

Marybeth Poppins said...

Yeah I'm not so sure most people are as crazy as me...I think that is a ...good thing maybe?

Good points. People definitely don't come to my blog cuz I'm just like everyone else. that would just be silly!

Abby Stevens said...

Blogs are the same as books. We might all be posting about the same topics, but only you can say it the way Elana Johnson would, and only I can say it the way Abby Stevens would. :-)

The human condition is really the same small pool of emotions, repeating over and over again in different scenarios. We all want love. We all feel frustration. And I am (usually) confident that if I am authentic, what I say will ring true to others, even if I think I'm the only one who feels a certain way.

laurapauling said...

The more I grow as a writer the more confidence I bring to my writing. Confidence to branch out and be risky - bend the rules and make the story my own. I think confidence is a biggie and it can come with time and experience if you don't listen to the negative voices in your head, which of course I fall prey to sometimes.

Tracy said...

It never occured to me to ask people what they wanted to see. I've just gotten into the habit of writing what's on my mind. I figure if people get it, they'll come back. If they don't then they probably aren't going to come back anyway, so what's the point on writing something for them?

Christine Fonseca said...

Lov that Abby!

paulgreci said...

Authenticity--Great post Elana! I intend my blog to be about writing and life in Alaska. Yes, I actually thought about this before I started it and I used that question of yours: How to make your blog unlike the 50,000 other blogs out there. The Alaska twist is fun for me, and hopefully for the people who read it.

Tiana said...

That's kinda how I feel whenever I see someone asking "what should I write about?" I'm a little more lenient when that someone has been blogging for at least a year and they already have an established presence. But when it's relatively "newbie" bloggers I just want to comment "Be yourself. Don't pander to someone on the Internet that you don't even know!"

While we are supposed to write towards our audience, I think our blogs should also be something we enjoy doing. Which for me, means, I write what I like! Thanks for giving me a soapbox to stand on :)

Georgiana said...

Great thoughts to start the week with! Different life experiences breed different voices/different ideas/different means of expression. Amazing how God designed us! That does make blog reading ever so much fun.

Abby Stevens said...

Thanks, Christine. :-)

sarahjayne smythe said...

Great post. And thank you for making me feel better about taking up space in my little corner of the blogosphere. :)

Jennie Englund said...

Those reasons in red make a lot of sense.

You ARE an authentic, confident writer. That's why I visit; you know what you're doing.

It's not like that needy friend we all have. It's energizing!

Tara said...

I try to stay true to me in my blog. Sometimes it's about writing, sometimes a snip of that writing. Others it's about my gardening or something I've done recently. And, rarely, I include bits of my family life.

Great post :)

Carolyn V. said...

I agree, people come to a blog because of the voice and the person who writes it. Excellent post Elana (super, super cool)!

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

I ditto Tracy :) I'm not going to write anything that I'm not enthused about myself or that is phoney. I know who I am. I like who I am. And I'm going to write from my heart. And if others don't like me or my writing - then they don't have to read it!

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

I ditto Tracy :) I'm not going to write anything that I'm not enthused about myself or that is phoney. I know who I am. I like who I am. And I'm going to write from my heart. And if others don't like me or my writing - then they don't have to read it!

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

I ditto Tracy :) I'm not going to write anything that I'm not enthused about myself or that is phoney. I know who I am. I like who I am. And I'm going to write from my heart. And if others don't like me or my writing - then they don't have to read it!

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

Goodness I so didn't post that THREE times! AHHH Sorry!

LynnRush said...

Great post. You're right on, Elana.

Jemi Fraser said...

I've been blogging since late last summer and I can't believe how much it has helped me as a writer. I like the ability to connect with other writers & discuss 'stuff'. I know a lot more about the process and a lot more. And yes, I have much more confidence now too :)

Candyland said...

First, DIFFERENT ROCKS. You're the only you. I heart Elana J because she's unique. (Not sure why I went 3rd person on ya)

Second, I'm the only me. I know exactly who I am. While not so confident in face to face meetings, having the time to think about what I'm saying in print, I'm confident. Like it or not (though I hope people do).

Finding out who you are and where you fit in takes time and belief in yourself. That's not always easy, but it definitely makes for better writing across the board.

Danyelle said...

You're amazing, Elana--that's what. :D As time goes on, I'm getting more comfortable in my own skin. I think I'm getting to the point where I accept myself for who I am. Besides, I wouldn't know how to be anyone else. :p

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Voice. Voice. Voice. That's what I love about you, Elana. And your confidence comes off in your voice.

Great post!

KarenG said...

hmmm, looking over at the 1000 + follower icon, I'd say you DO know what you're talking about! Rock on!

Lydia Kang said...

You are you, and that's why your blog attracts so many people. You're genuine, funny, and going through what we all would like to go through, the process to becoming published.

As for me? I didn't try to do anything on purpose, but my blog already has a certain flavor to it. And I guess that's just fine!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Elana, you are soooo right about this! I always cringe when I see posts like that, and I seldom (if ever) answer that question. I want to see what they want to post. Coming up with material for MY OWN blog is difficult enough sometimes - I'm not going to worry about what should be on someone else's blog. :-)

Suzette Saxton said...

Great post, Elana. Thanks for sharing your trade secrets! ;)

lisanowak said...

I know who I am, and I know what my blog readers respond well to. My problem is motivating myself to post. Unlike you, I can't whip out a blog post in 20 minutes. And sometimes I wrack my brain for something to say, even though I have a long list of possible topics saved in a Word document.

Jen said...

Hooray for authentic blogs! I know this post has already probably played it's course but since I had yet to visit I'll still include my two cents!

I love this post! I know who I am, where I'm going and how I write. I love the way I write and the authenticity I give to the blogging world! There is no one else like me, I love my quirky funky personality it makes me fun and entertaining!!

There is always something to be said you just have to be able to channel it!!! Your rock Elana!!

Sara McClung ♥ said...

And yet again, another wonderful post Elana! Though, since you're confident I'm sure you know it ;-)

You're right about asking followers what they want to read about. For the first contest I ever had I did that. It was a way to earn points--tell me what you'd like to read about on my blog. (lame, I know) Because I was in one of those dry spells where I couldn't figure out what to write about for like... weeks at a time. But in the end, what you said was totally right. I knew my followers well enough to know what they were interested in. None of their answers surprised me. But it did take me a while to figure out who I am as blogger vs who I am in real life and who I am as an aspiring author... I'm mostly the same person all around, but there are of course a few differences =)

Hey look at that. I wrote a blog post length essay in your comments.

Kayeleen Hamblin said...

When I first started my blog and was trying to build some presence, I thought, (probably in this order) "Every one else is already saying what I would say." Then, "Maybe I should ask what people want to hear." Then, "My experience is not quite the same as every one else, so I can say it differently." Then, "If I ask people what I should write, it isn't really going to be me any more. It'll be them." It was an interesting journey.

I still think about writing something that appeals to a lot of people, but ultimately, what I write is for me and about me, so I might as well be me while I do it.

Yvonne said...

Yet another great post from you. I agree, if you have to ask that question, you're already in trouble. Blogging has helped me a great deal, not just with becomming a better writer, but with forming relationships with others in the writing community. There is really no other tool out there that comes close. Also, I really like the QueryTracker Blog. So thanks for all your helpful posts.

JEM said...

The hair is definitely what keeps me coming back :)
For me, the hard part isn't not knowing who I am, but being afraid that person won't be good enough for everyone else. There's really no way for me to answer that, though, so mostly I just ignore that voice and do what I do. If it's good enough people will let me know. If it's not...people will still let me know.

Bethany Mattingly said...

Great post! I always feel like I've learned more after I visit your blog :) and I have fun doing it.

Courtney Barr - The Southern Princess said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Courtney Barr - The Southern Princess said...

Ahhh... this is a topic that definitely intrigued me.

I see so many blogs take polls on what they should discuss on their blogs and it disturbs me. I guess when I started all this it was for a totally different reason than it is now.

At first it was a small blog about what I am doing, how my family life is, as well as a personal yet web searchable journal.

Now it is more. It is still a chronicle in many ways of my life but it is also a resource. I am meeting new people, finding other writers, discovering each day what is out there and deciding how I want those things to impact me or for me to impact them.

That is what decides my content. I am proud to say that the way I talk is the way I post an entry, my personality is what is on the screen and hopefully that is why readers will return day after day; that maybe they find me interesting enough to stop by and 'talk' for awhile. Hopefully I am sharing something that someone will connect with in a positive manner and that when I do talk on a specific topic they understand that is my point of view but that I want to know theirs as well. Hence the comment section ;o) this allows me to be me, to learn and to grow.
thanks for a great topic!

I always enjoy your posts & learn something every time I swing by!

Visit My Kingdom Anytime

VR Barkowski said...

Great post as usual, Elana. I hope my blog is a conversation. All the words I edit from my mss, words like: really, just, actually etc. show up in my blog because that's the way I talk. I want it to sound like me, not an essay.

I'm not confident of the social aspect of blogging, because I'm socially inept. But I am confident about who I am and I do hold strong opinions. On the blog I ask questions I REALLY want to hear others' answers to. Not to spark an argument but to learn. Learning is everything to me, so I use my blog selfishly in that regard.

It's never occurred to me to ask anyone what they'd like me to write about, although in my blog profile I do ask for general comments about how to keep blog readers interested. Hmm... that's sort of the same thing, isn't it? Excuse me, I'm off to edit my profile. :)

Shannon Whitney Messenger said...

Aw, I haven't noticed a lack of confidence in your emails--you must've been holding out on me. *Gives stern eye*

And it's funny--I'm NOT a super confident person, at all. But one trap I have NEVER fallen into is trying to be anything other than myself. So when it comes to my writing and my blog, I only try to be me. Does that mean I love everything I put out there and never doubt myself? Of course not. But it does at least guide me a little. I may not be saying anything people haven't read before. But hopefully the WAY I say it is 100% me. (We won't get into the insecurity that comes with worrying that they won't like it) :)

bookaholic said...

Your posts always tend to be informative without being preachy. I love that about them;that is why they are so wonderful I guess! Thanks so much for the bang-on post Elena!

Susan R. Mills said...

Great post, Elana! I couldn't agree with you more. And, yes, I know who I am. I am Susan R. Mills, of course!

Kerri C at CK Farm said...

Well said Elana!

Robin said...

Love this post, Elana. Thank you! I find that I gravitate to blogs that have personality and some surprises.

Your blog ALWAYS has personality and I'm always pleasantly surprised (in a good way) with your insightful posts. AWESOME.
:-)

Niki Turner said...

I like to put it this way, both as a writer and in life: Be a voice, not an echo!
You, my dear, are most definitely a VOICE!!!
Blessings,
Niki

Amy Jo Lavin said...

I'm still a newbie blogger, so some days I feel like I'm floating around as I discover my blogging voice. I love going to blogs where I can learn something new (like your blog!), and I hope to be able to do that for my own readers.

Tara McClendon said...

Another fab post. No wonder we like you so much. I think we should have to describe ourselves the way we would in a pitch: Young adult writer who thinks fairies really do exisit and yet has managed to avoid having the shrink on speed dial.

Glynis said...

A year ago I would have crawled away from this comment box. I would have nothing to say, no confidence to say anything as an author.

Today, I say...I am me, Glynis Smy. I write, have a blog and enjoy who I am. I love visiting your blog Elana, because you offer encouragement and friendship.I love those I follow, and those who follow and support me.

Inspirational post, thanks.

Bish Denham said...

Great post. I feel confident about who I am and what I post on my blog. It is a reflection of me and childhood. A trip down memory lane. Also a story of this writer's journey through her life. I appreciate every follower I have because I know my blog isn't focused souly on writing, like most of those I follow. It's different.

Kimberly Franklin said...

I believe you nailed this post dead on, Elana! You're so all that and a bag of chips! ;)

Janna Qualman said...

Elana, thank you. This post speaks to me today.

Lurve you, lurve your blog.

Lisa K. said...

What a great post, Elana. I'll admit -- I'm not always the most confident person, but I am confident in who I am as a writer, and as a new blogger, I'm trying to bring that to my blog, too.

Shelley Sly said...

Thanks for this wisdom. You make some excellent points.

I probably sound like a slacker for saying this, but I haven't really given much thought about the "behind the scenes" of blogging. I just... blog. I know my theme (finding stories in every day life), and I know my audience, but that's about it. I blog because I enjoy it, and I figure that those who want to read will probably continue to read if they know what to expect from me, and those who don't want to read... that's okay, too. Not every blog is for everyone.

P.S. (I know I don't have to say P.S. in a comment, but I do this a lot!) Your blog has such a clear "voice" in it. I know that ties in with what you're saying here, but I just wanted to let ya know. I so admire you for it. :)

Theresa Milstein said...

I follow your blog because of your hair and look.

Really, I follow it because it's interesting. I agree that it is odd when people ask what I want to see, unless it's an editor or agent asking if there's a writing topic that I need information about. That's helpful.

Some blogs are all over the place. Each day it changes too much and I can't rely on it being relevant or interesting to me.

As far as my confidence, don't read today's post. I just looked at again and thought, "I'm a mess!"

Tina Laurel Lee said...

I love that you are doing this series. It's always good to get that reminder and hear that it is not always easy for someone who it appears to be easy for.

Southpaw said...

Spot on!

I think confidence grows with experience, life experience that is. Every day we wake up we’ve change a little hopefully for the better—happier, less fearful.

Voidwalker said...

Hair... it's always been the hair! :P j/k

Sara B. Larson said...

A great post (as everyone else has already said)! As I start my new author blog that's what I'm wondering about right now... what to blog about? how often? I'm sure I'll figure it out as time goes on. I appreciate your advice a lot though, it was very timely! :-)
I definitely want to be awesomesauce, not lamesauce! (which is a word I use so much my four year old even says it) ;-)

Talli Roland said...

Great post, Elana - thank you! I love being able to spill my bloggy guts on my blog. It's definitely all me (mostly food-related). But I figure if I enjoy writing it, that will come across.

Talli Roland said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Liza said...

My confidence is growing thanks to people like you.

PJ Hoover said...

Sometimes I laugh at my uber confidence, but the writing business manages to temper it from time to time.
I knew I liked you for a reason :)

Ann Marie Wraight said...

1) I do NOT read your blog just for your hair - splendid though it may be.
I actually prefer your glasses as I believe they make you look brainy and....KNOWLEDGABLE...like a Personality Owner.
Do you actually need them or do you wear them to look good?

2) I believe that NOBODY can write like me...I spend an awful lot of my time writing about donkeys, dung and my special talent of being able to milk goats whilst reciting 'Rule Britannia'...who'd WANT to write like me?
THANK YOU FOR A SPIFFING POST (BRIT SPEAK)

B. Miller said...

Yesss!! Well said! I don't often plan my blogs; they're just an extension of myself. When you read them, I hope you hear my voice. Only I have exactly my way of blogging! And writing and so on... and what's nice is people seem to enjoy what I do! YAY!

Thanks again for all your kind comments on my blog, Elana. You're awesome.

Kristin said...

Okay, Elana, I don't even know where to start. You can so dish it out!
I needed to hear this: There is no one else like me, and there is no way on this planet that someone could write their blog (or a novel) the way I do.

I'll read other's amazing books then beat up on myself for not writing like them. What? I'm not made to. If we were all copycats, my bookshelf would be rather dull.

Jackee said...

I'm loving these blogging tips! You are the best! (Can I be like you when I grow up?)

I've always had a hard time balancing confidence and pretentiousness. Especially with my blog Voice. Thanks for helping me come closer to realizing the difference between the two!

Roxane B. Salonen said...

Hi Elana, I've been off the blogging circuit for a while and it was a really good break. It helped me clarify what I'll be doing in the next year of my writing. I had to let go of some dreams, and picked up on some new ones. I'm looking forward to what's coming up, including a new "writing only" blog. It's all part of a zeroing in of who I am. I am more than my writing, very true. And I want to write about other areas of my life as well. I still will. But I'm hoping to hone in on my audiences with my separate blogs. I'm excited about it, and your awesome post just affirmed I'm on the "write" track. :) Thanks for the good food for thought.

T. Anne said...

I too get squeamish when I see bloggers asking readers for help on blog topics. I like to believe they come from 'a place of knowing' and when they ask it makes their credibility totter for me. Sure, I know they're just people like me. But I'm pretty cool so that means they are too, right? ;)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Hi Elana, I am Alex, a science fiction writer on a journey of discovery. (At least that's what my blog says.) But I embrace all aspects of sci-fi and fantasy, which includes movies, games, and tech stuff. I just let my inner geek go!

Annette Lyon said...

Yes, yes, and YES to all of the above.

You're brilliant. But you know that. Because you're Elana Johnson. :D

Carol Kilgore said...

YES!! It took me a long time to celebrate being different. Now I love it.

KarenG said...

Elana, thanks for the high compliment you left today on my blog post. That meant a lot coming from you, the mayor of the village!

Kara said...

Great post! I agree with what you have said. Thanks for reminding me:)

Mary McDonald said...

Thanks to your great posts on building blogs, I'm getting the hang of this and even put my name on the top of it. I was going to put Mary McDonald's The Write Stuff, but then I thought, I could do a play on words and do my name with 'has the write stuff'. It could be seen as cocky, but when I see it, it reminds me that I can do this, but mainly, the title says my blog has stuff about writing.

I'm even getting to where I'm writng blog posts ahead of time and scheduling them.

Anyway, not sure I would have had the confidence without your blog pointing the way.

L. E. Neighbour said...

Ha! Awesome, I was just telling myself about this. (yes I regularly converse with myself) I noticed the same thing about ppl asking "what do you want me to blog about" I'm always just like... ummm how about beeeee yourself and if they dig your blog they dig your blog and if not so what? If they're following, they probably like, and if not, they're not gonna follow any less so who cares what they think? If you always worry about what others think your life is gonna stink (haa ha that rhymed!)
So yeah. I agree totally. Being unique is awesome and people appreciate it whether you allow yourself to believe that or not ;)

kathrynjankowski said...

I have more confidence in story writing than blogging, perhaps because I'm an introvert and anything social is not my strength. But I'm working on it!
;-)

L.T. Elliot said...

You ROCK, Elana! And I'm glad you're just you and confident enough to be so. Because who you are, ROCKS. I love ya, Elana.

Terresa said...

Authenticity is where it's at, in writing and in life.

I used to (OK, and sometimes even now) feel blue because several peeps my age & younger have agents, published books, tour the country signing said books, etc.

Then, one day, unfinished WIP in hand, I realized, I haven't wasted my time, either. The last 10 years I've finished grad school & become a professional Librarian, in Children's Lit/YA, no less. Which is the perfect launching point.

Because life isn't a destination as much as a journey, and authenticity is every bit a part of it. (Hey, that should be a poster!)

Tamika: said...

You will never know how much I needed to read this.

Everyday I learn a little more about who I am as a person and a writer.

I do love your blog Elana, you manage to minister to my journey every visit.

Sandy Shin said...

I love this blog post and your blog. You definitely are somebody. Somebody awesome. Authenticity is definitely something I notice and appreciate when reading blogs. I'm not very confident in my self-image, and worry too much over everything I post, everything I write. However, I'm definitely keeping this post in mind. Thank you!

Cheree said...

Great post. I totally agree with you and I'm slowly building the confidence to say that I am ME, the one and original.

Slamdunk said...

Excellent post Elana. I think your advice works well in life as well--tell 'em what you know and don't try to be someone that you are not.

For me, having folks stop by and then return to my blog is related to finding a good mix with posts so that if someone is completely bored by my selected topic of the day, that they feel comfortable visiting later in the week knowing that I'll likely choose something of interest next time.

beth said...

Best part about your blog? It's so obviously you. You are one of the most authentic people I know. <3

Janet Johnson said...

I agree. You are definitely one authentic chica. I love it. (Although your hair does remind me of an old friend . . .) ;)

Lisa and Laura said...

It took us a while to get there. It's funny because when we first began writing together, we OBSESSED over Publisher's Marketplace for deals that sounded remotely similar to our book, scoured the Internet searching for authors who had our same idea, etc. And then, all of a sudden, we just stopped. We finally figured out that it doesn't matter. If it's a good enough idea (which, ironically, our first book WAS NOT), it will be good now, yesterday, tomorrow, and in a couple years. No one could possibly write the book the way we would--even if they were working from the same outline! Even Lisa and I come up with different ideas! So, I'm not sure how it happened, but we became confident enough in our unique writing to just WRITE.

Liz H. Allen said...

Adding to the confidence: Your blog is one of my must reads. If I have extra time yours is the second (I know, I know but my sister-in-law has a blog too) blog I read. I relate and I appreciate it so much. Trust, I wish I was you!

Lola Sharp said...

Dude, I just write whatever flops into my mind when I write a post. I don't bank posts, or even think about them ahead of time.
The same tactic applies to my novel writing.
I write by instinct.
I'm not smart enough to write any other way.

I love to see everyone's unique personalities, styles and approaches shine through in the writing. It makes my world go round.

You shine bright, Elana.

Peace out,
Lola

Feywriter said...

Hmm. Maybe this is why I don't blog often. I don't have that confidence. Ties back to not commenting on a post. How is what I have to say more valuable than someone else? That insecurity has been hounding me since high school.

I need to learn to own my voice. Thank you for sharing your own journey, and being true to yourself.

Faith Pray said...

So I admit to the stinging bee swarm. I do know who I am, I want to be different, and some days I think "yeah, I'm a writer." Then I read a rejection letter or two over again and I back pedal. "Hang on a minute, I don't know anything about anything, who said I could be a writer and who said I had something worth reading?" Those blasted bees! And while your hair is outstanding, I have to say I love your words, your advice and your confidence. Just the word "shutty" alone makes me happy.

Em-Musing said...

Authentic? Yeah. How many people will enjoy and visit? Time will tell

Medeia Sharif said...

I started blogging years ago, and at first I blogged infrequently and self-consciously.

What I did was read many, many other blogs. After seeing how other people did theirs, I took some of what I learned and added my own voice and interests, and voila. Now I enjoy blogging, feel comfortable with it, and have increased visitors and comments.

conduitofjoy said...

Good for you for remembering that you are like no other! Valuing your own gifts, and your own voice is necessary if you are going to authentically touch others with your writing.

We are each unique, and therefore we all have something unique to say, even if it is similar to what someone else is saying.

I blog about my path, as I get more in tune with my authentic self, and trust my intuition more and more.

I am learning as I go, and the stuff I learn is valuable for others who are slightly behind me on this path...

Authenticity is key on your blog. Quality of writing and personal expression is what sets you apart from other bloggers, in a sea of mediocrity.

Kara
www.conduitofjoy.com

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

OMG this post totally makes me think of this season of American Idol - which is obviously not at all the point of this post, and maybe I just have too much AI on the mind. You are right though - knowing who you are is super important in any creative endeavor whether it be singing or writing.

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