Monday, January 26, 2015

Find your Voice Through Blogging by Melinda

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/imagerymajestic


An author needs an online presence; if not a fully-fledged website, then at least a blog to showcase their (your) pizazz. No one would argue with that, particularly editors and publishers, God bless their pedantic little hearts.

Through the unique flavour of our blogs, we give readers a taste of what to expect from our books, articles, short stories and poetry; and by interacting personally with our readership we build a steady platform from which to approach, and impress, prospective publishers. We prove our popularity, and hence our marketability, by the volume of our followers. Add a link to Amazon or other online store that stocks our wares, and we have a neat hub from which to promote our work. Easy, yes? There’s got to be an App for that.

Sadly, no. Most of us muddle about for years, tossing half-begun blog posts into the cyber-trashcan at a rate that would accelerate global warming to critical levels if we were actually using paper. And it’s not just blog posts that are treated to the great delete, but entire blog identities too. I’ve ditched at least eight blogs over the years, eventually settling on two Wordpress titles based on different concepts. I decided to stay with these two for one simple reason - they feel like me. I’m comfortable at last with how I sound and with the way my followers respond. I no longer cringe when I re-read my work months after I’ve written it. In author-speak, I’ve found my voice.

As a tool for discerning your voice, the humble blog is underrated. I didn’t find mine and then begin to blog. It happened in reverse. If you’re in the early stages of your writing career, blogs offer you real freedom.

You can:


  • Write under any name you like and hide your identity until you’re confident sharing it.
  • Vary your writing style and subject at will.
  • Wipe out all traces later on, if you decide a particular post (or entire blog) doesn’t make the cut.
  • Modify your viewpoint, information and style, after feedback from readers.
  • Relax. There’s no need to feel stressed when writing a blog. There are no rules, no limitations, no expectations, and no need for approval. If you want to write for an audience of one, you can.  There are also no deadlines and no-one looking over your shoulder. Use this opportunity to let your pen or fingertips roam free. You never know what you might discover within yourself. Be bold. Our God did not give us a spirit of fear.
  • Write on any subject that interests you, ensuring each blog has a central theme. Swing high and try to hit whatever it is you’re passionate about. A passionate voice is almost always irresistible.
  • Experiment. Go on, give it a go. You always wanted to write humour? Here’s your chance. You want to take off on flights of fancy? Launch yourself from a blog page! If, like me, you look over your writing months later, only to discover you can’t even make yourself laugh, or that you’re infinitely more stable with both feet on the ground, then hit that merciful delete button and proceed to the next experiment. Set the ego aside and listen for the still, small voice that never leads you astray.


The time will come when people begin to thank-you for your insight, or encouragement, or whatever gift you’ve offered them through your writing. That’s the time to clear your throat and get ready to exercise your new-found voice.


Melinda has had a smattering of short stories, poems and articles published in magazines and anthologies. Keen to spread the word about protecting and nurturing the environment, she is currently working on two fantasy novels for middle school children, each with an environmental theme. She is also passionate about raising awareness about the devastating effects of verbal, emotional and psychological abuse within relationships. You can find her here: www.killingmesoftly.co

22 comments:

  1. Hi Melinda - Thanks for sharing your journey through the blogosphere. It can take a while to find your voice. I've been reading "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron and she makes the point about giving yourself permission to fail. You made me think about that when you talked about how you tried a few blogs but they weren't really "you". I'm not saying at all that that was a fail, but it's a similar concept I guess in just not being afraid to try new things. If they don't quite work out, you can always press delete and try again or try something else. Sometimes it's easy not to try in the first place. I'm glad you've found your voice and no doubt your blog will help others who've been in similar situations. Take care xx

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    1. Thanks Nola. I must check out 'The Artist's Way'. Being a perfectionist myself, I must admit that 'failing' can be a difficult pill for me to swallow. And believe me, some of my blogs have definitely earned a 'fail'. I tried to write a humourous blog on country life and sustainable living once...and called it 'Fire Gazing at Fort Klux' (which is what I called our goanna-proof chicken coop). Let's just say I was very thankful for that delete button!

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  2. Very good advice. I think blogs are a great way of getting our thoughts and ideas out there into the big wide world.

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    1. Indeed they are, Jennifer. It helps to consolidate and develop those ideas too.

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  3. Thank you Melinda, well said and explained. I also followed the link to Killing me Softly. Extremely useful! I know the feeling. Bless you for this information.

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    1. My dear Rachel, I'm so terribly sorry to hear you know how it feels to be abused. Thank you for following the link to my blog and I'm glad you find the info useful. I've been very slack for the past few weeks and it's high time I updated my work. Take care.

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  4. Hi Melinda - some interesting thoughts about blogging. I've started a few blogs over the years with different purposes in mind. I think you do have to be a little careful on what you post up for even deleted posts and websites remain in the ether - but I do like your idea of finding your voice and not being too tied down by expectations and schedules. You mention two wordpress blogs but give a link only to one. Killing Me Softly is a moving site with great practical suggestions. Would love to have a look at your other side if you wanted to share it. :)

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    1. Thanks for your lovely reply and interest in my blogs, Jeanette. And I think you're quite right - our words lurk about the net, cached away but never really invisible. The second blog has some writing on it that I did while I was still finding my way spiritually, and while I think it has merit because it led me to the Truth...I'm a little shy of sharing it until I've had the chance to tidy it up. But if you can take it for what it is, it's here: www.soulandspiritmusings.com If you have any trouble following the link, just let me know.

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  5. Melinda, wonderful post. I started my blog as soon as I started writing. I guess that is partly the reason I suffered from the dreaded disease known as Blog-burnout. Ha. The other reason being my blog was hacked a couple years ago. I was terrible. I couldn't even sign in. It took two years to straighten it out. But since it's fixed I am enjoying blogging again. I need to blog on a schedule. Something I resist. With my son's hospital visits being on different days, it's hard to do that. I agree. Writers MUST have an online presence and blogs give wonderful writing practice.

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    1. That made me smile, Robyn. Blog-burnout! I do believe that's a post-worthy topic in itself. :) As for being hacked, what a nightmare! I'm sure it would make me feel like throwing in the towel. I'm glad you're back in the swim again and will keep your son in my prayers.

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  6. Thanks for those practical suggestions re blogging, Melinda. I'm up to Number 291 of my own personal blog this week--I have scheduled a new one each Tuesday since September 2007. I find it's a good discipline for me to write around 500 words or so, reflecting with God on things I have read in Scripture or in books or experienced in recent days. Sometimes they are writing related and sometimes not--just what occurs to me to write about really!

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    1. Wow Jo, you're a legend!!!! Hope you've got a big celebration planned for No. 300. I think I've just scheduled the 25th post for my blog and am already wondering how long I'll last - LOL

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    2. Yes, Jo...what Nola said! You're definitely a legend. I take my hat off to you for being so organized and for keeping to a regular schedule. That really is the key to a successful blog. Congratulations in advance for #300. Don't forget to tell us so we can take a peek. :)

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    3. I love your post Jo-Anne and admire your commitment......!!

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    4. Thanks, everyone! I should hit that 300 mark in a couple of months--perhaps I can write about that when I next write a CWD blog here. I've had lots of lovely online and face to face conversations as a result of my blogs so I think the time and energy put into them is really worth it.

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  7. Great blog on blogging Melinda. Thank you. Loved it how you mentioned that through blogging we find out voice. I didn't see it that way before but yes - that does make sense. I have in the last several years been bombarded by little God thoughts all the time so am so glad I have an outlet for it. I find the more I share the more the ideas tumble in. (Thank you God!)

    I went into blogging kicking and screaming three years ago because I thought I had to add yet another chore to my week. How wrong I was. God has blessed me and grown me through my blog writing because often He preaches to me through it and I am forced to live what I write. And no - that's never easy. :) (HELP! :) )

    I love that photo of you Melinda and well done on getting us writers on track this new year with our blogging. May God continue to bless and inspire your writing journey.

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    1. I'm still smiling at the thought of you kicking and screaming, Anusha. It strikes me that it would be kind of cute to watch. :) I always take something extremely positive from your blog, which I check as often as I can when you post your updates. Thanks so much for your encouragement of myself and my writing, which you do in so many ways.

      It's an interesting concept that God preaches to you through your own writing - another good post topic right there!

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  8. Great thoughts, Melinda. In time, you do learn your own niche blog. We all have some experiences to share. I almost gave up writing mine after a year because of the lack of comments BUT DON'T LET THAT DETER YOU!

    I found the stats by accident and discovered I have a very large worldwide audience. Lots from Russia, USA, UK, Europe, Australia, and even Muslim countries. It's a way to share Christian experiences in the search of a mate. Sometimes funny, awkward, bad experiences, etc. As I write Romance I also feature other authors & their books.

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    1. Rita, your blog sounds fascinating. I imagine the stories must run the gamut of romantic and emotional experience...as you say, sometimes funny, awkward, bad experiences...and I'm sure a healthy peppering of positivity. It's a real achievement to have reached such a widespread audience. Just like ripples in a pond, your influence is spreading far and wide. Can't wait to read it myself (makes a cup of tea and sits down with cat on lap). And thanks so much for your comments and encouragement.

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  9. And I should have clarified - Miss Min is my word press ID...so that's me...Melinda. :) My uncles used to all call me Miss Min when I was just a little twerp.

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  10. Great post Melinda
    I read an article 'somewhere' about writing a blog regardless of whether or not anyone read it. For the purposes of developing discipline and commitment to writing. Good advice!
    (aren't the comments on here fabulous inspiration too? Learning about each other's journey on the pathway of writing....thanks everyone!)

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    1. Hi Mel, thanks for your post. Everyone has written some interesting points. I commenced my blog in October 2014 and it has been a journey and a half! I decided to write a blog not so much to become known, but to try to use my writing skills to reach out to people. Like all writers, I would love to see what I write published. But I know that since life is short, and I am ageing fast (!) it’s probably not wise to keep my writing to myself until that day arrives. My blog is ‘10 Minute Daily Retreat’. They are reflections on the Gospel of the day. The blog is currently published three times a week. I only write on Sundays and I have a team of volunteers for the other days. This helps me keep the momentum going, but it can be challenging, since it does mean that I’m also editing. In short, the blog has given me the opportunity to develop my writing skills, social media knowledge and marketing strategies. My hope is that readers find some spiritual support in the writing, but even if they don’t I certainly do because I’m praying and studying scripture most days of the week!

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