A Writer’s Guide to Authenticity
Being real is trendy right now. People want to hear (and see) what’s it’s really like getting a book published or moving across the country with a 3-year-old. In short, we all want the same thing — to be understood.
When it comes to creating content — or, as Marissa Conrad calls it — telling stories — I think, as writers on Medium, we’re basing our articles on what we think will garner us the most claps and views, when we should be talking about what we’re excited to share — whether or not that resonates with 5 or 5,000 people should be irrelevant. In the beginning.
We can’t find our audience by following the crowd and abiding by the rules of changing algorithms. We can only find our audience by speaking from our souls — bearing stories of lessons learned and fears conquered in order to catch the attention of people similar to us, aka like-minded humans, aka our readers!
Obviously, there’s merit to SEO practices and following data, but when you’re still trying to figure out who you who are as a writer, you can’t start there. Those resources will act as guides to your authentic material later on.
To find your authenticity, tap into your curiosity
As journalists, we’re naturally curious about everything. Whatever subject matter you’re curious about, follow that curiosity. Pay attention to what catches your eye— regardless of what you think will make you the most money or grant you thousands of views — and dive deep into those subjects to see what piques your interest.
Do you love cooking exotic meals? Maybe you should look into becoming a food critic. Are you obsessed with interior design? Maybe you should start an e-magazine profiling local interior designers. Do you have a knack for giving career or relationship advice? Send sample pieces to your favorite publications, persuading them to take you on as their advice columnist.
While everyone else is following the same boring writing format that might be getting them more clicks and views in the short-term, isn’t it better to be in it for the long-game? If you’re constantly chasing after what’s working in the moment, you will never find your authenticity as a writer. And what a shame that would be! We all have a unique voice. We just need the confidence to utilize it!
Takeaway: Your authenticity is your power, not your hinderance. Use it to your advantage and be consistent with it.
To find your authenticity, ask yourself “what makes you YOU?”
We have a multitude of personas that we identify with. How do you currently identify yourself, and how do you want to identify yourself in the future?
I identify as a non-fiction writer, mom, fitness enthusiast, wellness addict, and style maven. Because that’s who I am, writing about those subjects comes naturally to me, uncovering my authentic voice.
I know that in order to keep up with my authentic self, I have to actually live the various personas I identify with every single day to (1) practice and (2) refine who I am and how I can help other people similar to me.
If I go a day without exercising, I will not have the energy/happy hormones I need to get through the day. If I go a week without listening to my inspirational podcasts, I quickly forget what I’m working toward. If I wear lounge clothes to write instead of an actual outfit (jeans, kimono and heels), I don’t write near as effectively.
Takeaway: Keep up with the things that make you you, and your authentic voice will come out.
Write what comes naturally to you, not what’s trending on Twitter.
What do you want to be known for, and how — and why — do you want to help people? Figuring out the answers to those questions will have you well on your way to revealing your authentic writer voice.
Keep in mind: What works for someone else might not work for you. Do YOUR thing YOUR OWN way.
Thanks for reading!
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