Bloggers spend a lot of time on their computers. They’re posting, reading, commenting on other blogs, sending Tweets, checking half a dozen social networking sites, and generally being web-geeky.
They find something interesting or random, and then clue in other people to that interesting or random thing.
This is how blog posts gain steam on Digg or go viral. This is how we find out about new YouTube videos. This is how we communicate now.
Except we don’t.
We were people before we were bloggers
Think about the blogs that you like the most. Like, to pick a totally random example, mine.
Do you like them because they told you something weird or peculiar that you didn’t know about before? Or do you like them because you enjoy what the post says? Because you like the way the article was written? Because you like the style of the author, the blog’s sense of humor, the way the blogger turns a phrase?
Great bloggers become great because they have a unique style and way of thinking. Here’s the kicker, though: They were that way before they ever became bloggers.
Dave Navarro over at The Launch Coach? He was a pretty great dude before blogging was even invented. He was funny. He was helpful. He had kind of an attitude, in a good way. He was all the things we love him for today as a blogger.
But he wasn’t blogging. Not his fault; blogging didn’t exist back then.
If you want to become a better blogger, you need to have a style and a voice of your own — and you can’t find that sitting at your computer desk. Not enough of a voice, anyway, to make you really great.
You’re not going to develop your blogging awesomeness by re-posting what other people have written or riffing off thoughts they’ve had, or setting up endless list posts pointing to someone else’s content.
Those things are fine once in awhile, but they’re not enough to build a great blog.
Forget blogging for a while (but keep it in the back of your mind)
To become better bloggers, we need to get out in the world.
Start conversations with more people. Find the kind of jokes you like to tell. Listen to the rhythm of your voice as you speak. Pay attention to the way people react when you talk. Notice how they seem more interested when you speak in a certain way or when you discuss certain topics.
Pay attention to what attracts your interest. Does color catch your eye? Do you peek around street corners to find out who’s playing that music? Do you slow down to eavesdrop on people who seem to be having interesting conversations? Do you help people on the bus or pick up things they’ve dropped? Do you go talk to storeowners or to the others standing in line with you?
This is how you’ll find a style of your own, a personality that makes up who you are as a blogger.
Find some activities or events around the subjects you like to blog about. Naomi at Ittybiz wrote a great series about marketing and branding campaigns she noticed while walking around town.
Why? Because she’s into marketing and branding. That’s what she blogs about. It was interesting. It made her interesting.
And she wrote these posts from her own unique perspective using her own voice. There are a couple of really spiffy posts that she would never have written if she hadn’t been thinking of her blog posts as she bought paint from the hardware store.
That’s how you can be a better blogger. You find new things to write about just by getting away from the computer so you can explore the world.
So walk away from that keyboard (after you comment on this post, of course). Get outside. Go interact with a real, live, flesh-and-blood person. Communicate with that person. Observe. Watch. And come back when you’ve found out what sort of blogger you really are.
Then write a blog post that rocks that person’s socks off.
About the Author: James Chartrand is rockin’ socks off over at Men with Pens, thanks to a unique voice and plenty of time away from the computer. Check out his blog, then go get some fresh air and sun.