The other day, I met with a woman who happened to be an ex-journalism student. While we were chatting about how she might make the transition to online writing and blogging, I commented that she had a great starting point by already being a writer. To which she exclaimed, "Oh, I can write, but I'm not a writer!"
We have so many preconceived notions of what makes someone a writer. Is it only someone who's published (and if so, does self-published count)? Is it only someone who writes every day (or week or month)?
And then what's a blogger? Is it only someone who blogs about a personal topic? Or is it the opposite – someone who just blogs for business? Is it only someone who sells/makes money from their blog?
I actually got chills when Charlie Gilkey stood up at the Wealthy Thought Leader event (Vancouver, March 2010) and said, "I'm not a blogger with a business. I'm a thought leader with a blog as a vehicle."
Because to write your way to more clients online, it really doesn't matter what you call yourself. Your writing is simply another platform from which to share your expertise, establish trust, deepen relationships and achieve visibility.
Just for fun, let's see what writers and bloggers might be able to learn from each other.
To blog like a writer, try to be more:
- Clear – "When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing." – Enrique Jardiel Poncela
- Concise – Give yourself a word count limit (I recommend 500 words) and don't waste any precious space
- Creative – Challenge yourself to expand your vocabulary and play with your words
- Careful – Self-edit your work, or borrow another pair of eyes (hey, we do that!)
To write like a blogger, try to be more:
- Current – Keep up with the news, yes, but also be willing to update your own ideas and theories; this will help keep your blog fresh
- Casual – A blog is a conversation; read your work out loud to be sure it sounds like how you talk
- Passionate – Help your ideal clients find you, by writing authentically about what you care about
- Social – Share your new content with people in your social networks, using this as the starting point for new conversations
Even if you don't feel like a writer OR a blogger, take heart. Once you get started, keep going and build some momentum, your writing identity will find you – and so will your ideal clients!