I haven’t been writing much here lately. One big reason is because I’ve been writing like a madwoman at work, researching and summarizing every possible tidbit that I can find about how climate change is likely to impact forests in the northeast. It’s fun, but it can also be mentally exhausting and I’ve been short on ambition for evening writing.
But I’ve been plugging along here and there, and thinking a lot about what’s next.
I reached out to another blogger asking for their thoughts on why he’s been plugging away on one of his own sites for nine years, but pulled the plug on another. Both had good content, so what was the difference?
Personality. I gathered that he thought that the long-lasting site was true to his own self. It showed that he was a real person, and allowed him to build a relationship with readers. The loser site was just a resource, an encyclopedia, a list. It didn’t have personality.
Because of this the site was only a commodity and not an experience, people felt no connection to it and as such felt no need to help its success.
This is such a great point, but so hard. How do you let your personality shine though in a website or other writing that isn’t necessarily about you? Sure, it’s easy to have personality come through in a post like this one, but what about in something that’s more explanatory?
Curses! This is where the past 10 years of learning to write like a professional scientist may have led me astray. I work really hard to write good, clean, sentences: here are the facts or implications, unbiased, and clearly stated.
But my other writing is a mess. At Greatist, I could adopt its voice and write with that personality, which wasn’t too far of a stretch for me, and it worked. But as I work to create a new site, I’m still struggling to find the right voice for it, a personality that works for me and will resonate with the audience.
I have some more advice on this for another day (not from me—from another writer who actually knows stuff!). But, in the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Is there a website with a personality that really catches your attention?