For the bulk of my blogging “career” I’ve found myself writing the type of articles I think other people want to read. I’ve been writing the sorts of blog posts that seem to get good amounts of traffic.
I have stolen (in an artistic sense) from other articles and writers that I respect or emulate. That is part of the writing process, gathering information and using the work of others to inspire yours. But I am at a point where I want to do this less. Now I want to find my own voice.
I’ve found myself trying so hard to be like other self-improvement writers. I just wanted to “make it.” Desiring to get a certain amount of views on my website or get a certain amount of shares on social media. Now I’ve realized that “making it” is pointless if you do so in an inauthentic way.
Allow me to explain myself.
I consider writing, even of the non-fiction genre, to be an art. Just as much of an art as painting, sculpting, or poetry.
Art is best done in an authentic and free flowing way, as an extension of the artist. Art is at its worst when it is mended based on market value or the attention-seeking of the artist.
Much of my writing in the last year or so has, in my current opinion, been driven by ego and/or insecurity.
I wanted to see my name on websites.
I wanted to get click bait shares on social media.
I wanted to feel and look successful.
My writing was coming from this place of ego and validation-seeking, rather than a place of honest creativity and advice-giving.
This is probably a result of my maturity when it comes to blogging. I am still very new to the craft and have not yet found my artistic voice. I don’t really know who I am as a writer.
Despite this fact, the direction of this blog is going to change. I will be spending more time really finding topics that are more engaging and helpful. I’m going to put in the time and effort necessary to create a good product.
I ,in no way, regret anything I have written over the last few months, I do, however, feel like I’m in a new place as a person. I no longer think that an article about “5 Apps for College Students” is really helpful or needed on the internet anymore. If you want to find articles about helpful apps, just Google it, don’t waste your time on this site.
I’m no longer going to force content onto this blog. I probably won’t be posting every week anymore. I’ll only be posting when I write something I think is actually constructive.
If I’m honest, I’m not sure if I’m even qualified to give any of the advice I give. I still live with my parents, I don’t have a job, I’m in college (but my parents are paying for it), and I’m by no standard successful.
At the same time, I’ve experienced things most people my age have not. I’ve been to eight countries, I’ve read a good amount of books about a wide range of subjects, and I’ve experienced and worked through depression and anxiety for the bulk of my young life.
I’m not a self-help guru, a millionaire, or even a college graduate, I’m just some kid trying to find his way through life. Trying to find himself in a world that never fails to be baffling, for both good and bad reasons.
So, my dear reader, how is this article helpful to you at all?
Well, maybe it isn’t. Or maybe it is. I’m not going to let my insecurity about whether or not you like what I write to control me.
Maybe it would be helpful to ask yourself, as I have, am I being authentic in what I create? Am I doing what I do (blogging, business, school, etc.) because I want to or because I’m seeking some sort of validation?
Let’s, for a moment, shift this conversation about authenticity out of the blogging world and into something more relatable.
I’ve been going to the gym off and on for about a year. When I do go, it’s often because I feel social pressure.
All my friends go to the gym.
If I go I’ll be considered cool.
If someone asks if I work out, I can actually say yes. That should earn me some points, right?
If I decided that I wanted to go to the gym because I actually wanted to get in shape because I care about my health I’d probably go more consistently.
Point being: anything done for the sake of validation or attention is often done badly or falls apart when you fail to feel validated or receive attention from doing said thing.
Validation is vain. It is only when you begin to get it that you realize how empty it is.
People might like what you’re doing, people might praise you for what you’ve done, but if your heart and soul are not into what you’re doing you won’t feel good about it, at least not for a very long.
Validation works at first. Your ego grows and you begin to feel good about yourself. But eventually, you will realize that the good words of others don’t mean as much as you thought they did. You will come to a place where your conscious will tear apart everything that you do.
When you’re living in a non-authentic way, you often know it but you seldom admit it.
Admittance is the first step, and probably the hardest one. It hurts to admit your faultiness. To admit that you might not be doing things for the right reasons.
If you’re still struggling with this idea that authenticity might not be for you, let’s look at a few more examples.
When someone who is gay and decides to come out of the closet, they say that they feel free. They feel free because they can be who they are. They don’t have to hide or wear a mask anymore.
The same is to be said about people who come out about their mental illness. I have social anxiety. Although I haven’t explained it to my parents, I have had conversations about it with a friend and written about it on the Internet.
The more I’m open about my internal struggle with anxiety and depression, the more liberated I feel.
The more open and authentic we are, the easier it is for us to grow. Authenticity brings progress, in business and in relationships.
In recent memory, businesses have begun to become more transparent and public about their finances and business interactions in general.
Generally, it is because it makes companies more trustworthy. Customers can actually see where their money is going and what it is being used for.
Transparency always allows for a great level of trust. This is why I have written this blog post, I want to give my readers more trust towards me. I want to show them that I am doing what I think is right and that I will continue to write this way.
Maybe this blog post isn’t helpful to you. Maybe what I’m saying doesn’t really make any sense. And I’m totally okay with that.
My goal is to write well and write righteously. By that, I mean that I wish to write in a way that is both well formulated and with a backbone. Writing that comes from both my mind of mind’s and my soul of soul’s.
I’m on a mission to find my authentic voice. I am not there yet, and that’s fine. I don’t know what kind of writer I want to be, and I’m okay with that, and I hope you are too.
My hope is that this article was helpful to you. If it was, please keep the discussion going in the comments.
Thanks for reading.