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The day I lost my voice…

July 3, 2011

I started a blog because I was annoyed. Not the most noble reason, I know.

My company has a corporate blog (that’s just what you do in our industry), but no matter how much I implored, guilt-tripped or ranted at the staff, hardly anyone else wrote posts for it.

Thus the Buchan blog quickly became the the Belinda Thomson blog – minus the fun. I’m pretty sure ‘what Snooki can teach you about writing‘, for example, wouldn’t have made it past the boss.

So writing my own blog meant I could say whatever I like, and any attendant glory would fall on me.

What has surprised me, however, is just how damn enjoyable it is.

“Just Write”

That’s the general message published writers give, when asked for advice on writing. ‘You could write: it was warm’, says a friend of mine who’s a published novelist.

And let’s face it, most of the people in this PR or journalism gig are aspiring novelists. We either have a fantasy about writing the next Harry Potter and making millions, or writing the next Corrections and basking in critical acclaim.

But most of us will never really get started. I certainly haven’t tried my hand at fiction in a serious way. It’s too scary, there are too many other good writers, it’s hard to get published, no one will read it – the list of excuses is both long and compelling.

Selling Your Soul

I love what I do in corporate communication. But the fact is, I’m a hired gun. I tell other people’s stories.

In over a decade of being a professional writer, I’ve seen my name in the byline a total of TWO times. Sure, seeing your own work passed off as someone else’s is a little odd at first, but it quickly becomes normal.

And what I’ve realised since I started blogging, is that I’ve lost my own voice. I’ve become so used to writing for other people, I forgot about the joy of writing for myself.

I’ve often told myself ‘well, I write all day, I don’t have the energy or inspiration to do it when I get home’. But that’s bullshit, quite frankly.

Now, I usually blog at 6am on a work day, or like today, get out of bed early on a Sunday when the house is quiet (except for the cats ‘helping’ by sitting on the keyboard).

And I just write. Sure, I like to see my blog stats and watch my readership grow. I enjoy a bit of re-tweeting glory. But I don’t blog to ‘build my personal brand’ or any other reason I’d give to a client who’s considering it.

I blog because it gives me the chance to write, a topic to focus on and a (small) readership to share it with. No deadlines, no ‘key messages’ to include and no tortuous sign-off process. What’s not to love?

So this post has no dot point list of recommendations. My one piece of advice is: just write.

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5 Comments
  1. That is exactly why I started my travel blog! I just wanted to write in my own voice and have an opinion (my own opinion) for once. It’s very frustrating as a trained writer to constantly get revisions back from clients that take all the colour and spirit out of a piece of writing (especially when we’re pitching it to journos who are incredibly discerning about language usage). Well done for starting your blog. I am a new reader but I am enjoying it already.

    • Thanks for the kind words Emma! Your blog looks like a ton of fun – both to write and read. I agree clients can take all the fun out of writing – thank god for the invention of blogs!

  2. Tim permalink

    At least you are not writing as an anonymous ‘mystery’ and are using your own name.
    Anyhow I think we went to school together? You look familiar.

    • I think it’s useless to try and remain anonymous anyway. And in my industry, we’re always on about ‘personal branding’, so you may as well get some recognition for your work.

      And yes, Kirrawee High alumni, guilty as charged. Belinda White, back then.

  3. Tim permalink

    Small world! Our marketing guy forwarded me one of your posts a while back and I have been an avid reader ever since.

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