Do you ever feel like you’ve lost your voice? That somehow in the rush of it all, you’ve lost track of your unique ideas, opinions, or perspective? As a small business owner, a writer, and a consultant, I feel like somewhere along the way I got so caught up in “building a business” that I forgot that at the heart and soul of this business was one single person…. Me.
Uffda. Losing your voice as a writer is a hard thing to admit, but I think it is important that I do. To take ownership of Rough Draft Solutions, to get back on my own two feet, and to feel proud of what I am doing, I have some owning-up to do. With Spring right around the corner, I think now is a perfect time for a fresh start.
How I lost my voice as a writer:
Last summer, I knew that I had several large projects coming in, and I needed some help around RDS. So I hired my two rockstar team members, Emily and Tracey. In the months leading up to that, I struggled to find time to write blog posts, and so I just didn’t. As someone who identifies as a content marketing specialist, I was embarrassed, frustrated, and uninspired to take the time to create content for my own business. And yet, how could I not since I was preaching to my customers that they needed to write, to be consistent, to provide value! But in reality, if I did write a post, it was often at 4:45 pm on a Friday afternoon and I wanted to get something published quickly. And yeah, that was an ideal time to post a blog post (insert sarcastic tone, here). My readers promptly gave up their Friday night plans to sit down and read my post that I had hacked together.
So, when Emily and Tracey came on board, one of my top priorities was to start publishing blog content on a weekly basis. I would identify topics and give them some direction, let them loose to do the research and then I would review the post and make any tweaks necessary to make it sound like “RDS.” And that’s what we have been doing the last nine months. We didn’t miss a single week, and frankly, we published some great content! Our goal was always to be helpful and informative. We wanted the tone to be friendly, approachable, and still professional.
And yet, you want to know what has been missing? Our personalities! Because I wanted the posts to sound a certain way, I diluted the posts from our opinions. I was scared because I didn’t want to screw anything up. I didn’t want to embarrass myself. Yes, consistency is important, but not if it’s at the cost of being boring or impersonal.
Now don’t get me wrong, I think our posts are informative and valuable, and I know they have been useful to our audience. But they could be better. So much better. The last four months I have had this feeling inside that I needed to do something different. And yet, who has the time to sit down and actually deal with those little feelings that nag us? But then again, nothing will change if we don’t make time to deal with them.
Speaking for myself, I think I lost my voice as a result of spending most of my days taking on the tone/style/perspective of my various clients. That’s not meant to be an excuse, but a valid reason. And frankly, I didn’t take the time to cultivate my voice, to become comfortable showing my personality, or my personal view on things. And even worse than that, I didn’t cultivate my team’s unique voice. Instead, I wanted them to fit into a format I had created. And before you know it, I’m publishing vanilla posts that provide some quick tips but don’t let anyone get to know us as people. Yikes, am I being too harsh?
Before I go any further, I want to make a disclaimer. We have done our best to be intentional with the posts we create and to provide real value for our potential audience. Emily and Tracey have done a fantastic job researching and writing the posts they have created for RDS. They have tried to add bits of their personalities and perspectives into the posts without straying too far from the RDS “style/tone.” I couldn’t be more thankful for all of their hard work!
How We Are Taking Our Voices Back
There wouldn’t be a point in admitting all of this if we weren’t seriously going to make an effort to make some changes, right? So as of today, my team and I are going to be taking down the veil that has hidden our personalities and try to be a bit more real. It probably won’t be anything drastic, but hopefully, the changes will make a big difference.I always talk about how important it is to be authentic, and I think we are getting a real look at what that means and how to practice what we preach.
It sounds funny to say that “well, we will do our best to be ourselves, but it might take some time.” I mean seriously, who are we if we aren’t ourselves? Yikes, that could be a dangerous topic. Anyway! I have talked to Emily and Tracey, and we are each going to start writing on topics that we are genuinely interested in and try to share more of our experiences. We hope that you will feel inclined to follow along and get more involved. We will still provide tips, ideas, and insight on all things content creation and marketing related, but hopefully, this will be a more holistic approach to how we do business and the way we live our lives.
As always, thanks for listening and if you have any comments, ideas, or questions, we urge you to share them with us! If you feel like you've lost your voice or you aren't confident with the messages you're sending, we'd be happy to help!