After my Lazy Bitch article hit the front page of HN in May, 600 people followed me on Twitter. I was excited to go through them and see who stood out...
... yikes. Almost no one did. They'd basically picked their 'brand' from some generic template and seemed incapable of being human beyond it.
I started off this way too! I was so scared of fucking it up, that I blended in and became invisible instead. But of course, a good brand helps you to stand out.
It took a couple of years to find my voice. I'm now known as 'refreshing', 'pure', 'real', and 'no-bullshit' (your words, not mine).
Here's how I found my voice:
- I wrote every single day for a year. I wrote for me, and no one else (welcome to this blog.) This helped me slowly hone what felt like 'me' and erase the 'college essay paper' writing I'd gotten trained to do.
- I asked people I admired to tell me where I rocked and where I sucked. Even now I can hear Brian Swichkow's voice from 2016 saying, "Madi, why are you doing bulleted lists... you lose your personality when you do this! You're most captivating when emotions are involved." 5 years later, his advice still guides me. Ask people you admire (and have a good relationship with) to give you feedback- they could help a ton!
- I sometimes pretend I'm writing to my best friend. I used to do this a lot at the beginning to help me sound more me. I'd pretend I was writing a snarky email to my wicked girl friend Shannon, and the end result always had 10x personality.
That's it! It's as simple as endeavoring to be YOU, being consistent, and asking for feedback.
What about you? Do you think you're still in the 'clone' phase? We all started there. But with regular effort, you won't be there anymore.