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Finding My Blogging Voice (or, Why Writing is the Worst)

May 21, 2016

I’ve been quiet for about three weeks, and it’s not because I haven’t thought of this blog every single day. But I’ve entered the busy season of my job and that means my priorities right now are, in order: 1) Work. 2) Eat. 3) Sleep. I barely have enough time to wash my hair every couple days, much less blog for fun. But…that’s not really the only reason I’ve been quiet. I’ve also been quite because I’m still trying to figure out what in the world is my blogging voice.

I don’t know why this is so difficult for me, but I am having a tough time figuring out what I want to write, how I want to write, and…honestly…maybe even why I want to write at all.

Writing, to me, is kind of a blessing and a curse.

On one hand, it’s something I’m really good at (though, so far, this blog may not be the best representation of that fact). It’s been my only real talent since about the second or third grade, so while my friends were playing sports or learning instruments, I spent my time holed up in my bedroom, writing in paper journals.

By the time I got to college, it was a no-brainer to major in English. Immediately after graduating, I started writing for many outlets, amassing hundreds of bylines in newspapers, magazines, and online. And then I got my M.A. in journalism, because I may be a good writer but I’m obviously not a smart person. Once I graduated with a ton of debt and realized, “Oh, wow, I really didn’t need this degree and no journalism job could possibly allow me to pay off this unnecessary debt,” I quickly changed course.

Now I work in marketing and it’s a career I’m really passionate about. I am so thankful to have found this path, because it’s something that uses all those skills I’ve acquired, gives me a comfortable life, and brings me a lot of joy—even when I’m so exhausted I feel like I’m going to collapse (like over the past few weeks!).

But the weird thing is there’s a little part of me that misses those days when I wrote for fun, and not because it was required by higher education or by my job. I think that’s why I’m a many-times-over failed blogger. It seems like every year or two I launch a new effort, in the hopes I’ll somehow recapture those years as a teenager when you could not pry a pen and a journal from my hands.

And then it never really happens, because, well…writing is painful.

Most writers will tell you writing is painful sometimes. But most writers also find that working through the pain is exhilarating, kind of like how runners always say the agony is worth it. I will never understand those people. (The writers or the runners.)

This is where the “curse” part comes in. My talent is something that is really emotionally and mentally draining to me, and something that is, to be honest, kind of a chore. But it’s also something I freakishly feel compelled to do. It’s like there’s a voice somewhere deep inside me that is always clawing to get out, but when I give it the opportunity, it fights against me for every step.

So, explain that, will you?

Basically, this has all been in the back of my mind for the past three weeks, and I’ve been wondering what, exactly, I want to say—and how to get that annoying little voice inside me to actually make its way to the surface.

I’ve been reading a lot of other travel blogs lately and so many feel as if they’re trying to follow the standard internet click-bait formula. You know, “7 Ways You Know You Were Born to Travel the World!” Or, “Quiz: Which European Country Are You?”

And I’m not even judging, because I’ll be damned if I don’t click on every single one of those posts myself. I have read more listicles and taken more pointless quizzes than a good half of my friends combined. (I even tried to write a listicle myself, recently.)

But none of that feels like something that I really want to write. And, quite honestly, none of that feels like stuff I should write. Not only are so many people already doing a great job covering this style, but it’s also not like I’m an expert. I’m a newbie, and I have made no attempt to hide that. Plus, my high-maintenance travel style means I probably won’t ever attain elite globe-trotter status. (That’s worth it to me, honestly, if it means never having to stay in a hostel’s shared dorm ever again.)

So, we come back around to the big question.

Every writer says the only way to find your voice is through trial and error, and by writing constantly. The same must certainly apply to blogging. But how do you find your blogging voice when you’re not sure what to blog?

That’s me right now. I’m having a hard time filtering out the noise of all the millions of other travel bloggers on the internet, and finding my own path. And all I can say is I hope you stick with me. I’m going to try a few things, I’ll probably fail several times, but my hope is that I can figure it out.

And if you’ve been around these parts at all over the past few months, I want to say thank you for both your support and your patience. I’m more determined than ever to make something of The Hopeful Traveler—and I really appreciate you coming along for the ride. Even if we have to make a few rest stops along the way!

 

Confession: I'm having a hard time filtering out the noise of all the millions of other travel bloggers on the internet, and finding my own blogging voice.


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