Personality – Gauging Between Too Much And Too Little

If you’re going to be a blogger you need to know what you’re up against.

There are over 225 million blogs in the world and it’s growing exponentially every year. The best thing about it is that there are a lot of people who decide they’re tired of blogging and bail out of the game. The worst thing about it is that you still end up with a lot of people you have to compete with for attention.

Steampunk author Anna-Marie York at Conbust
Steampunk Family
the von Hedwigs

via Compfight

I’ve always said that blogs must do one of 3 things: entertain, educate or inform. This is what leads people to determine what kind of blog they want to write.

It doesn’t lead people towards figuring out how to write though. I’m of the opinion that how you write is probably more important long term than what you write unless you happen to be part of a blogging conglomerate. In those cases someone else is always available to pick up what you can’t deliver.

To be a compelling blogger, you must add some personality to what you write. At least 50% of the time you’d better be throwing in some personality, and I mean something good. Hopefully you’ll be personable more often than that but if it’s not your normal style then you need to figure out how to develop it.

At the same time, you can’t go overboard. By that, I mean you can’t be so transparent that people know everything about your personal life, especially if you’re looking to show yourself as an authority. Truth be told, there are some people who use blogging as a diary, which is actually how it started out a couple of decades ago, and that’s fine if all you want is someone psychoanalyzing you every day. But if every post you write is you complaining about your boyfriend/girlfriend, your job, drinking too much, etc, people will get bored and leave; then you’ll have more to complain about.

How do you strike a personality balance? I was hoping you’d ask. I’m going to give you 9 ways you can be personable in your writing; I thought about doing 10 but 3 is my favorite number and that’s too few, and 9 is three 3’s, which I like a lot, thus you’re getting 9. You don’t have to do all of these every time by the way; I thought I’d mention that so you don’t look schizophrenic later on when you’re writing and want to blame me for it. With that said, here we go:

1. Humor.

Gene at Javier's 161
Llima Orosa via Compfight

People love to laugh and if you can even make them smile they’ll like you. No one except my friend Charles Gulotta is supposed to make you laugh with every single article written, but when you can throw in a line or allude to something funny while telling your tale it helps to break the ice and helps people identify with you.

2. Honesty.

Just because I said you shouldn’t tell everyone everything doesn’t mean you should lie to people either. We all know that probably 98% of the people who write “make money” blogs are lying about or misrepresenting their success. It’s not easy making sustainable money just by blogging; I think I know 2 people personally who make money only by blogging. Everyone else does something else to help supplement their income.

This doesn’t mean you can’t write about it, or can’t recommend products that have helped you make some money online or off. It does mean that if you’ve purchased an online travel business and you’re now trying to recruit me by showing me a $27,000 earnings check and yet you won’t pick up the check for lunch that I’m calling you a fraud and probably never talking to you again. That happened by the way; how many of you have had someone do something similar? Did you like it? That’s why honesty is better than faking it.

3. Language.

The fact is there are times when what you write about can be pretty dull. I knew someone who tried to only write about Twitter some years ago. After a month every article looked the same; ugh. The problem was this person only had one style of writing and only so many things to talk about; at least that’s how it seemed. On this blog I’ve written about or mentioned Twitter in nearly 300 articles; how many times do you think I’ve said the same exact thing about it?

One can easily alter language by coming at articles in different fashions. Sometimes you can tell a story, whether about yourself or someone else. You can give some technical details if you’re adept at that type of thing. You can write commentary posts, giving your opinion about something. You can try to find new words instead of “cool” or “fascinating”, and trust me you can only use the word “very” so many times before you start looking like a 5th grader. Change things up every once in awhile; look like a rock star.

4. Allusions.

An allusion means you’ve come up with a fancy phrase to try to compare or talk about something in a more amusing way. You can write “reading that post was horrid” or you can write “reading that post was like eating garbage out of the trash can of a fly.” I almost wrote “gag a maggot” but that’s an old phrase that someone else came up with; what I wrote first was original (it had better be).

Picture 20

Sometimes it pays to be less straightforward with your language and give it a bit of flair, and allusions are the easiest way to go. Truthfully, they’re the one thing you can steal from someone else without retribution; that is unless I wrote it.

5. Mention something about you.

You know how I said don’t tell everything about yourself? That part is true, but there are things you can tell about yourself sometimes while trying to make a point about something.

For instance, I happen to be diabetic. I’ve talked here and there about the issue, my ups and downs and different things I’ve tried or gone through. I don’t wear it as a badge of honor but it’s something I can talk about because it’s real, and by talking about it I feel I help others come out of the shame of being diagnosed at some point (everyone feels shame initially, as if they did something wrong, which isn’t always the case) and offer hope, as well as a bit of humor and honesty, on the topic.

This part leads into my next point.

6. Creativity.

I’m thinking someone is going to say something like “but I write about artificial grass; how do I fit something about myself into a topic like that?” Hey, if I could fit in something personal while talking about the topic of forensic loan analysis, you can do it about almost anything.

Why are you writing about whatever it is you write about? Do you hope to write for a long time? The easiest way to be creative is to add some things you’ve done or things that have happened to you or someone you know into your writing, no matter what it is.

I write about many things, yet I’ve added in my own tales about chess, poker, learning how to play the piano, Cling Wrap, living in Japan, on and on, into all of my topics. When you write and add in some of your own experiences, your writing takes on a personal feel, your words are different, and people can feel the emotions, funny or sad. When people identify with you… well, you know.

7. Name drop.

By that, I don’t only mean mentioning the names of famous people like Vanessa Williams, Derrick Coleman, Wilt Chamberlain or Rick Fox (okay, yes, I’ve met or talked to all of those people). I don’t mean Chris Brogan, Guy Kawasaki or Ken Evoy (I’ve had online conversations of some type with all of them).

If you’re a true blogger it means you’ve visited other blogs and read other posts. If you’re a true blogger you’ve had people stop by your blog and leave comments, and you’ve responded to them & checked their stuff out as well. Sometimes when you’re writing, you might recall something from one of the many blogs you’ve read or something someone you’ve read has said.

Shakara Ledard at
Thomas Collardeau
via Compfight

Mention them, link back to their blogs, and tell your tale. I name drop often; it helps them get some attention and it helps me as well because it gives me more to write about whenever I need something new. People love seeing their names in print in other places; we all like a bit of acknowledgment. When you give selflessly, you get back way more; trust me on this one.

8. The “Mom” Factor.

Although things seem much different than back in the day when I was younger, one of the best filters in the world is whether or not you’d be comfortable in sharing what you’re writing with your mother. I don’t only mean bad language; I mean other things about your life.

I know a lot of people who have had to defend something they wrote on a blog post because someone they know read it and mentioned it to their mother in passing. Mom’s hate being shamed, and even if it was about you, they always take on your shame, whether you have any or not.

I have multiple blogs, and there’s not a single thing on any of them that I wouldn’t mind my mother seeing, and I’ve tackled some interesting topics. I’d say the same about my dad but he’s no longer with us. For some people, maybe you’re more worried about what your dad might say. The same advice people give you when it comes to sharing too much, too many salacious pictures and too much detail that someone could find out about you later on applies to your blog; some things are better kept to yourself.

Right now I’m betting you’re either saying “wow, I didn’t think he could get 9 of these” or you’re saying “finally, he’s at #9”. This is the most important one; you ready?

9. Love.

That looks strange doesn’t it? In the book The Power by Rhonda Byrnes of The Secret fame, she talks a lot about the topic of “love”. In her opinion, everything you do that’s positive is based on love; not romantic love necessarily but love in general.

If you think about it she’s absolutely right. Why do you do the things you enjoy? Why do you crave certain foods, like certain types of movies, hang out in certain places more than others, talk to specific people more than other people? All those things make you feel good right? Why do you feel good? Because you love doing them.

If you love what you do, your personality will always show. If you’re doing something only because it might help you get something that you haven’t fully defined as success, you probably don’t love it or even like it a little bit.

Nothing says you have to by the way. Mike Rowe tells the story of a guy who does this nasty little job with hogs that no one else likes to do, which has made him a rich man. It wasn’t ever his wish, he hates it a lot, but he likes the money, which allows him to do other things.

You’re thinking “where’s the love there”? The love is in being rich, being able to travel, being able to buy things he likes. He’s willing to sacrifice some things for his business to help fund the other parts of his life.

That works for him because what he’s doing is pretty much a solitary thing though; blogging isn’t a solitary thing. If you don’t love blogging it will show, and people will stay away. Then what will you do, other than probably quit? If you write about what you know and love, who you know and love, where you know and love, your personality will flow and people will love it. Either that or think you’re weird, and trust me, many people love weird also.

Don’t be a robot; be yourself, be relaxed, and love what you write about. If you follow the things I mentioned above, you’ll be great; heck, if I’d only follow them I might be great as well. 🙂

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22 thoughts on “Personality – Gauging Between Too Much And Too Little”

  1. Mitch, awesome post. I had thought whether to write about my Lyme disease or not several weeks ago and decided to go forward so people knew why I wasn’t as active online as I had been. I needed more rest and could not stay up late and was sleeping later. Many did not know about the disease and I hope I spread some info out there to help others. It can be hard to open up about ourselves. I also did a post on writing an eulogy for my mom back in May and how blogging helped me to do it. I was amazed how many emails and messages I got from fellow bloggers about her passing. I believe readers want to know something about the writer that is personal. Otherwise we appear as robots. It helps us to form more relationships with other bloggers too Mitch.
    Lisa recently posted..What Do You Need to Inspire You as Inspire to Thrive Turns 3?My Profile

    1. Lisa, you shared something of yourself that taught a lot of people some lessons about something they didn’t know; that’s great stuff. When I share certain things I know there’s a population out there that doesn’t know it, or hadn’t given it much thought. I think that’s one of the best ways we give of ourselves & help people at the same time. Of course, I don’t share everything because it doesn’t need to be shared; I think it’s always important to hide some stuff until it becomes important to reveal; luckily, not everything becomes important enough to reveal. 🙂

  2. Wow Mitch. This one is worth reading a couple of times.
    Language. Hmmm. I wondered what your opinion was regarding language with respect to writing style but you answered it. I just wrote something for 1KSmiles about Formula 1 auto racing and had to try to keep away from the technical stuff but it seems so important in that aticle so I had to write about technical stuff but in my own non technical voice and style.
    That is why I use the word ‘stuff’ a lot. I figure if it is good enough for Depak Chopra…
    Troy recently posted..Sexual double standardsMy Profile

    1. Troy, you’ve done well with you 1K Smiles blog. You do change things up but mainly you find stories to tell and that’s great stuff. And there’s enough diversity in topics to keep it interesting and fun.

    1. Actually Rummuser, you condescend to yourself but inside I think you know why you write. You write to get things off your chest; you write to share your life and thoughts with others; and you write for the kinship you get from folks like your Friday tagalong group (okay, I never remember off the cuff what y’all call yourselves lol). You have a unique storytelling style that seems to get people talking; you get way more comments per post than I do. And of course early on you told people this: “Tension nahin lenekka!” You did this during a tense part of your life, which you shared as well. As I say, I think you knew all this; I think it’s a cultural thing that you’re fairly self deprecating when you have no need to be. 🙂

  3. Hey Mitch, having a personality when writing is so important. Like you said in your post it’s a lot easier if you pick a blog that gives you a lot of scope when it comes to writing posts. That’s one of the reasons I like Wassupblog so much. It’s so much easier to write stuff for that blog.

    Most of my other blogs, and you know I’ve got a few, are not getting the updates they deserve. Some of that is because of time but the biggest issue is I’m finding it harder and harder to write interesting posts for them.

    Sp far my sports betting blog is been good to me. But then that’s partly because i’ve found some interesting categories that also give me a lot of scope.
    Peter recently posted..Sabina Altynbekova Hot Sport Babe Too Hot To PlayMy Profile

    1. Peter, I hope you can keep your betting blog going because my mind thinks it’s kind of a hard topic to keep up with, other than the images of lovely ladies you have there. lol You’re right though, we started our blogs around the same time and we’ve been able to pretty much free form all these years.

      1. Oh, I’m pretty sure I can keep it up as the amount of sports topics I can cover is pretty well unlimited. If I’m stuck for a post all I need do is check the news to see what’s hot in the sport news for the day.

        Apart from the Hot Sports Babes, I also have Bet of the week and Sports jokes. Not to mention the amount of different sports that you can bet on.
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    1. James, two days ago this woman where I’m consulting asked me why I always had a smile on my face every morning. I said I didn’t know, and considering that I actually hate mornings I hadn’t though much about it. The thing is that I don’t interact much with people I don’t specifically work with there, and during most days I don’t interact much with the people I am working with. But I try to get them all to have a positive feeling about me and think they know stuff about me when I’ve given up very little. That’s kind of the power of personality, but it’s also the power of positive thought and of finding humor in so many things. Maybe that’s why I’m smiling, because so many things make me laugh.

  4. Another thing I notice usually when I’m reading a blog is for spelling or grammatical errors, good content can attract visitors but I find it really off putting when there are very noticeable spelling errors when I’m reading a blog. It’s very simple to do a spell check either online or using something like Microsoft Word if you have to. Probably not such a huge point for you to mention in your article but it just reminded me of a pet peeve I have. 🙂

    Also, I must agree with your use of language to spice things up. There’s one blog I like that I read because not only the information is good but also it is written almost in the style of telling a story. Descriptions that are humourous or that can be easily relatable to are a pleasure to read even when it’s a long post.

    1. Nathan, lots of spelling errors grate my nerve also, but I didn’t think it fit the tenor of this post. You’re right on the second point though, a compelling writer can get you to read almost anything, even if it’s a subject you didn’t think you cared about. I love a good story and I like a good storyteller even more.

  5. Yeah man, that’s why you’re always correcting my posts. And I love you for it too. 😉 It seems to be getting worse, the spelling errors, as I get older too. Must learn to take the time to stop and proof read the post before publishing it.
    Peter recently posted..Sports Betting JokesMy Profile

    1. Pete, it’s not the spelling errors I pick on as much as when I know you’ve done what I do sometimes, that being to see a word in a sentence that we forgot to put in, thus changing the entire meaning of the sentence. Typing “hat” instead of “has” or things like it is more funny than problematic because at least people know what we’re talking about and we really didn’t misspell anything, just typed the wrong word. I think we try to make each other better and hopefully make each other not look bad; that’s what friends are for. 😉

    1. You know I knew that already; you told that story at the party last night. lol

      Not every post is going to be a winner but a majority are if it contains some personality. Of course, some folks just write facts and stick to it and I guess that works if one’s writing a technical blog. However, if people like you then they’ll come back more often. You do well with your blog.

    1. And then I figured it’s #7; oy! I think with all the stuff you share that, at least on Twitter, you may not share as much about yourself as you could. You’re an interesting guy; that’s the only time I’m ever going to say that. lol

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