the art of cultivating a unique voice

I first met the Shermika and Tamika Dunner, the lovely ladies behind the blog ArtBLT, in June when they sent a tweet to one of the accounts I manage at work. I was instantly smitten with their blog (and with them–they’re so sweet)!  In addition to a consistent supply of cool content (say that five times fast), one of the things I like most about ArtBLT is its voice.  If there were five different posts by five different bloggers in a lineup, I’d spot them easily because of the things they’ve done to make their writing uniquely theirs. These things include:

Unique terminology: Just like Barack Obama owned the word “change” in 2008, so do the Dunner sisters own the word “belle,” identifying themselves as TamikaBelle and ShermikaBelle and peppering their sentences with the word (For example : “Well, a belle sure likes to watch some dance–especially if it doesn’t bore.”)

Tone: The tone of the blog is friendly and conversational, totally matching their personalities. Which brings me to the next point…

Authenticity: The ArtBelles are witty, Southern, artsy women. Their blog posts sound like the work of witty,  Southern artsy women. Their blog feels like a natural extension of them.

[Sidenote: Learn more about ArtBLT in this week’s 9 Questions!]

Most of my favorite blogs and microblogs have these a lot of these traits (check out the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s twitter feed and Very Smart Brothas’ blog to see what I’m talking about). As I’ve experimented with blogging, voice is one thing I’ve had to work on. My main problem was that I wasn’t being authentic–worrying too much about who my potential audience was and changing the way I’d say something. That resulted in writing that bored even me.

So, this iteration of my blog will see a little more slang, culture references and other Tatiana quirkiness. What about you–what kind of things make your voice unique?


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