Friday, March 20, 2015

Find your Voice - Part 3 - the Practical and Philosophical Bits

Don't sweat the little stuff. Decide what your goal is for saying things, and do it. I mean, my entire blog is about me saying what I feel, and conversation is the icing on the cake.

If you want conversations to occur, then you'll get people making dumb remarks, sometimes just because they're not thinking, and other times because they're assholes. Don't get bogged down in arguments;  they are distractions.

(Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3)

Just pick your voice, let things shake out, learn lessons, and refine as you go along.

Be conscientious how you say things. Good grammar and spelling are important. Put thought into how you want things to be heard.

The best way to get your message across is to first understand what you want to say, then say it clearly. There is an important balance between too many words, and too few words. Too many words, and you might very well get yourself lost. Too few words, and your message lacks information ("insufficient data"), and therefore cannot be conveyed.

Stay focused; stay on target.

Pick the point of the message, and stick to it. Everything must support that point. You can have asides only as long as they fill in information gaps, in order to support the main point.  If you try to have more than one point, your message will get lost, because the audience will get distracted.

When the comments come in, keep steering the conversation back to the point. If alternate points or topics arise, make a note for a future - and separate - post (again, one point per post).
(Tangentially, see my posts labeled "anti-troll" for additional ideas how to stay on topic.)

Promote yourself.

If you have previous posts on the same subject, that are relevant to the topic, then cross-link to your own posts. This is a great way to address tangential points that your readers may want to explore, without losing focus in your main thread.  This is a way to add value - if someone likes this one post, he or she may like similar posts on the same topic. "Stickiness" is a magical term is website design, and it means keeping people looking at your stuff. Be sure it is relevant - no one likes gratuitous garbage links. If it isn't relevant, leave it off.

Love/Hate relationship with feedback

Some people will love what you write, and that is a great feeling. That kind of encouragement is important. However, there is a natural tendency to try to chase the feedback and this is distracting. It becomes "What did I say, so I get more of that?" At which point you've surrendered your Voice and have defeated your own goal.

Some people will hate what you write. Mostly you just have to ignore these people. On rare occasions, you can glean something useful, such as "Ah, I see that my point wasn't made clearly here," or "Ah, I see I did drift off topic," or "Well, okay, maybe obscure references to Rune Quest in a post about Milla Jovovich movies was kind of a bad idea."  Mostly, just ignore these people.

Your real audience are the people who like some posts, don't like others, yet always keep coming back to see what you say next.

Have fun.

If you're having fun, then your audience will pick up on that and have more fun also.
(Tangentially, see one of my most viewed posts where I talk about Being A Personality.)

If you're not having fun, then stop doing it. Seriously, life is too damn short to waste time on trying to express yourself only to make yourself miserable.

Have a closing remark.

Just as a book or movie needs an ending to wrap things up, so use a single sentence to close the loop.

Well, okay, that works well for me, anyway, so maybe there's something useful to you in there :)