If you’ve been blogging for a while, you remember that thrilling moment when you realize someone is actually reading what you’re writing. Maybe a few comments appear. Perhaps your blog URL gets retweeted by a kind friend. Or maybe yours just went viral all of a sudden.
For me, blogging has been a slow burn. Being syndicated has helped grow my blog traffic, but for me the moment came the first time I realized I had a “fan.” That’s also the exact time when I began to struggle with authenticity. I started pandering for traffic and stopped writing from the heart. I forgot my mission in the pursuit of popularity. And like all bloggers, I had to learn the ultimate lesson. Your writing has to be authentic to survive. I had lost my authentic voice.
In hindsight it was a great lesson. The more I forget about pleasing people, the more popular my blog gets. When I think about it there were several signs that I missed along the road to fakiness. Hopefully you can learn from this hindsight and avoid making the same mistakes I did.
Here is a checklist to make sure you’re being authentic in your own work. More than a couple yes answers to these questions might be a red flag that your authenticity could be suffering:
Do you check your traffic more than once a week?
Are you looking up your colleague’s Klout scores to see how you compare?
Have you stopped genuinely contributing to your favorite blogs?
Do you others’ work based on their influence, not the content itself?
Are you writing blog posts that mimic others you’ve seen because they were popular?
Does writing your blog feel like a chore?
Are you reading countless articles and ebooks on how to monetize your blog?
I’m sure you can think of more questions like these, and I hope you’ll add some in the comments. How do YOU know when you’re losing your authentic voice?