Authenticity & Blogging

Kate from Centsational Girl had a great idea to do a Growing Your Blog series this week.  Five of us will be joining in and we’ll each host a post at our site.  Today’s post is here at Nesting Place and I’ll remind you to check out the posts for the rest of the week at the other sites. Each day we’ll focus on one topic and we will each answer a question about blogging.   Today’s question::

How important is authenticity on your blog?  How do you communicate your personality with your readers?

Sarah @ Thrifty Decor Chick

I believe even though readers may not know you personally, they can still see right through the fake stuff. I try to stay true to myself and therefore true to my readers by just being ME. It sounds cliché, but I think it’s worth saying…again.

I worry that sometimes I may be too authentic (I say a lot of goofy things and share way too many horrible photos of the messes in my house), but I just don’t think there’s any other way to be. Anything else would be too exhausting. Be you and people will either love it or hate it. And if they hate it, you wouldn’t want them around anyway. At least that’s what I tell myself. :)

Jen @ Tatertots & Jello

The blogs I enjoy the most are those where the writers seem real. You don’t have to be a fabulous writer, you don’t have to be funny: I wish I were both of those. Just be yourself. Write like you talk: that’s a great way to make sure your blog reflects your real voice. It’s sometimes nerve-wracking to put yourself out there. Every time I push the “Publish” button, I still get nervous. No matter how big your blog is, you still want others to like what you do.

I’ve found that my readers like me sharing the not-so-great moments in life –  a really bad day, when my kids are being terrible, craft project failures, my messy home. Of course I love sharing the beautiful pictures and making everything look its best – but my readers love it when I post about my real life and messy craft room or kitchen. Even though it’s hard for me to put myself out there, I’ve been able to connect with so many people and have made wonderful friendships just by being myself and sharing my life.

Marian @ Miss Mustard Seed

I think authenticity is a big factor in the success of a blog.  Whether over the internet or in person, people are attracted to other people who are genuine and real and willing to show different facets of themselves.  I try to show my personality by writing the way I speak.  I don’t make it formal just because it’s in writing.  I also have made some videos and I don’t edit my personality out.  If I spill my pins all over the floor or if my son wanders in and flushes the toilet, I just leave those things in and let the viewers enjoy the humor of the situation with me.  I know my readers also appreciate when I show a dose of reality mixed in with the “beauty shots.”  It’s nice for them to know my kids are messy and my carpets are stained and my laundry is out of control and a life is really lived in my house.  The bottom line is that authenticity on your blog invites your readers to think of you as a friend.

Kate @ Centsational Girl

Authenticity is the #1 requirement for a successful blog and trying to be something that you’re not is a recipe for disaster.  The thing that makes a blogger great is when he or she shares their life in their voice in the unique way only they can do.  My most favorite bloggers are the ones that both inspire me with their beautiful images and amazing creations, but also keep it real by allowing their style, their thoughts, and their imperfections to show through. I’m typically more formal in my writing, especially with the how-to posts or reflections on design, but then I’ll bust out a more raw version of myself or reveal the personal side and readers respond to that too.  We’re all imperfect, we’re all human, and sharing those moments when we’re silly or dorky or when the world is falling apart around us forms that real connection with readers.

I once read somewhere that you should write like you speak, and even better, write like you’d speak to your sister or best friend, and that’s true. Language can be casual or formal, it’s up to the blogger, but the most important thing is to use your real thoughts and true voice that only you have to offer  – that’s the key.

via

And back to me, The Nester

Authenticity online is one of those things you can’t always explain but you know it when you see it. Or in this case, read it.  Here’s one of my favorite comments from that Pinterest and Blogging post that I wrote the other day::

Kristen shared something authentic and vulnerable and my immediate reaction was “I ADORE YOU” to the point where I had to respond to her comment right then on my phone right then and spell words wrong, I couldn’t wait to connect with her because she had connected with me.  Something happens when people share something imperfect that we can relate to.  Don’t underestimate the power of authenticity.

via

Instead of me talking more about authenticity, I thought I’d link to some of the most authentic bloggers I know of.   These women have the audacity to risk being their true, imperfect, relatable selves and tell it like it is in their own way.  So, naturally, I’ve met all of these women and can vouch that their online voice coincides with who they are in real life.

June @ Bye Bye Pie

Annie @ Annie Blogs

Heather @ Especially Heather

Emily @ Chatting at The Sky

Ann @ A Holy Experience

Ashely @ Handmade Home

 Tomorrow, we’ll be at Sarah’s talking about monetization.  I’ll be sure to remind you.

Is there a writer/blogger you think of when you hear the word authentic?  What does authenticity mean to you?  Why do we make it so complimicated?  {See what I did? I wrote complimicated instead of complicated in order to infuse a little of my authentic personality into my blog.}

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Comments

  1. First off, love this post and am so excited about a weeks worth of knowledge. I have a question for you.. do you consider being “authentic” and “sharing your heart (on ones blog)” the same, or different? I feel like I’m pretty authentic on my blog and actually try to write posts in the same way that I’d talk to someone in person. But, I have a hard time opening up sometimes. There are certain things I have no problem posting and there are others that I’m dying to post about.. but just can’t work up the courage to do it. The last thing I want is for my readers to think that I’m not being authentic though.. so really, I’d LIKE to share & open up.. let my readers in on some of my insecurities.

    • Alyson, I think the very FIRST thing any blogger should do is write two purpose statements, one for the reader–what do you want them to find at your blog, and one for you…why do you spend your precious time blogging?

      There are many things that are going on in my life, but here at Nesting Place I pretty much only talk about my home. So if I had a fight with my husband or my car exploded or I’ve had a bad day, that’s not something I talk about here. I’m authentic WITHIN my topic if that makes sense.

  2. there’s no hiding it……your personality comes through on your blog even if you try to be someone or something you’re not. IMHO……anyway. I am told by those who know me personally, that my blog reads the way I talk and when they read a post they feel like they are sitting at the ol’ farm table in the kitchen. Now that’s a fabulous compliment. :) Absolutely love the post today and look forward to all the rest. xoxo

  3. As a new blogger I really can use your wisdom, thanks for hanging it out there. As an actor (I was going to write former but am I ever? LOL) I learned people want to cry for you, not see you cry. For me authenticity is sharing YOUR reality and letting them get whatever they can out of it. Even if you do cry. Or wear things that once you see yourself in them you want to cry. Not that I ever do that. Look forward to the next post!

  4. Awesome post, great series! Thanks, ladies! I couldn’t agree with you more on the authenticity. That’s why I love bloggers. For the most part, I’ve found my blog friends to be “real”. I think I saw this quote (or one like it…I might be messing it up) on Pinterest: “Be yourself, everyone else is taken” and it’s a great reminder to be happy with who you are and to reflect that in blogging as well. Looking forward to the rest of the week!

  5. I always tell my husband that the posts I seem to get the most comments on are the ones where I fess up my mistakes! And trust me, they are plentiful!! I think we can still have a nice picture and all the step-by-steps, but then I try to show what else is behind it. So when my basement flooded in Sept., I got away in the middle of it to bake and grabbed some great pics of the bars I made. Then I took a step back and took a pic of the bars with a shot of the view behind them- yep, filled with boxes and boxes from my basement. Or how about the time, I showed off a great cake I made and then showed them the wall where there was still buttercream smeared on it from walking into it with said cake.

    For some reason, my followers seem to eat this up! And, honestly, I don’t think I could post without including that stuff because that actually is how I operate! I started my blog with the intention of keeping a journal for my kids, and this is all stuff I want my kids to see! They know their moms a nut job and they still love me, so why not show the world??

  6. I am so glad that you guys are writing on this topic. I have been trying so very hard to allow more of my personality come through my writing. I have to admit it is difficult. I was hurt by a few people that called themselves friends and I closed up. I did not want to put myself out their for anyone to hurt again. I am the type of person that loves to encourage people, be around people and meet new friends, however I am realizing that due to this past hurt I do not have many friends in my circle. I have realized I have pushed some of those people away. Not trying to be mean but not wanting to be hurt.
    With all that being said, blogging has really helped me reconnect and put myself out there. Now I have met people in the different communties that I enjoy and have come to treasure there feed back on the blog.
    I am looking forward to rest of this weeks post on the topic. Thanks fro being real.

  7. I just published a highly amateur blog TODAY (*gulp*), and your point is sooooooo well taken. Obviously I couldn’t imagine anyone reading anything I’ve written, let alone determining whether it’s authentic or not. But as an avid READER of blogs, the ones I come back to are the ones who seem real, and you can’t be real without being imperfect.

    sixteenfourteen@weebly.com

  8. Thank you so much for this timely, very freeing advice. It’s nice to not worry about whether my writing ability, my house, my projects, my ideas are good enough. I really appreciate the help you girls are giving us! Bless you!

  9. Perfect timing! I just started blogging two days ago! This series will be very useful can’t wait for the rest!
    Thank You!

  10. well that was wonderful, refreshing and real….thanks for telling it like it should be!

  11. This really gave me food for thought. Thank you for this post!

  12. Great series! Thank you for this reminder to be authentic. When I first began blogging it was to share information concerning my son’s medical condition. People used to comment all the time that they enjoyed my blog because it was exactly like having a conversation with me. That they appreciated my authenticity. I haven’t had anyone make a comment like that in a long while. I think that is because I am a lover of blogs and likely I have been imitating or reflecting a few of the women I admire without realizing it. Time to get back to ME. TODAY!

  13. Great series!!! Thank you for sharing your blogging knowledge. I was a fairly “shy” Blogger during most of my first year. I basically stalked all my favorite bloggers. Now I have found my finally found my voice & hey..guess what my blog is slowly but surely growing! Can’t wait to read the rest of this series.

  14. Came across your blog while I was searching for sun burst mirrors. Can’t wait to try it out myself. What a timely post! I just started blogging.

  15. Thank you for this series! I’m a new blogger (about 3 months) and I find it “challenging” to be authentic in my writing. When I read my drafts, I find that I had my filter on. I find myself reminding myself to relax and be myself – whatever that may be that day. That day may bring great things or it may bring lots of goofs. Either way, it is real. Authenticity is key. Thank you for sharing your wisdom!

  16. Do you find that sometimes when you are simply an optimist and like focusing on the positive instead of the negative, that you’re accused of not being authentic? It’s not that I don’t ever go through bad days, and goodness knows my house and my life are cluttered and chaotic at times, but I just naturally choose to try to find the positive things and focus on those. And that sometimes, I think, comes off as trying to present a life that is more perfect than real. Does that make sense?

    • totally. But, Nesting Place isn’t about the fact that we ran out of milk, the dog has a rash, I stepped on my son’s glasses and my kids want to play the most expensive sport in the history of mankind and I have to take my son to get his tooth pulled, gross, and I haven’t had a shower in three days, but I hear you shouldn’t wash your hair that often anyway, and that door ajar alarm in my car won’t stop bleeping at me.

      however, i do try to share the positives and negatives within my topic. so you’ll see my house a mess, the mistake I made on my project, and the unfinished rooms.

  17. Love this series! I’m new to blogging and any tips are much appreciated. You all talk about being authentic and I see that in each of your blogs. I like to read each and every one of them and that is probably what the attraction factor is :)

  18. This post makes me so excited for the rest of the series! And thanks for starting with something that is so attainable… If you had started with a post stressing the importance of decent pictures or impressive layouts I might have cried s little. While those are very important aspects of a successful blog, I’m not very good at them. I can, however, put a little more of myself into my posts and maybe come up with something worth reading even if it isn’t much to look at. I guess all I’m trying to say is, thanks for the great big dose of encouragement ladies!

  19. Great post! I really try to pull back when I find myself worrying about showing a photo that is less than perfect. But, then I remember your words about it doesn’t have to be perfect…

    So, for my holiday decor this year I had to let a lot slide. And before I knew it Christmas was only a few days away. Instead of stressing and trying to make my home look gorgeous, I snapped a bunch of “keepin’ it real” photos (http://www.prettyhandygirl.com/2011/12/tool-tutorial-friday-vacuum-cleaner-and-holiday-house-tour.html) and wouldn’t you know, that post got more comments than a lot of my other posts. Just goes to show how much we all like authenticity.

    Thanks for your inspiring posts.

  20. This is a great series to follow!!! I try so hard to be myself and let my hair down on my blog. I think I need to let my hair down just a little bit more and show the messes in my home and share the failures too. Thanks for all of the words of wisdom. :)

  21. I’m a big believer in keeping it real and like you suggest, write as you speak. Sometimes I find myself getting all wordy and I found that if I review my post and chop the sentences in half, it helps the cadence and the flow. And makes it readable. My challenge for this year is to share more of my follies with my readers. Thanks so much for this series, totally loving it.

  22. Thanks for this! I created my blog so that my family would still have an idea of what’s going on in our lives after we’ve across the world from them. Now, I’ve learned how much fun and how therapeutic it can be. I started linking up with MckMama’s Not Me Monday a few months ago. At first, I felt awkward because I felt like it was something that our family might not necessarily enjoy reading. As it turns out, those are the posts that I get a lot of emails about from them. They love when I admit all of our mistakes and how some days are just tough but in a light-hearted, I’m doing my best not to complain, sort of way!

  23. Amen!! I so needed this, Growing your Blog Series..what a great idea. I started my blog a little under a year ago, Cozy Home Interiors. I’m new to the community and haven’t had a chance to connect with people quite yet nor did I really know how. Often times I feel I’m talking to myself so this series comes at a great time. I’m so ready to connect with all of you and share ideas. I love how you support those who are real and genuine. Those are traits that are soo hard to find! Come by for a visit. I would love your feedback!!

  24. I’m just loving all of these articles. Thank you!!!!

  25. Thank you for the encouraging post. I, too, am a new blogger, and I am glad to hear about all the other new bloggers out there. I really appreciate the sound advice and am taking it to heart. I have been so worried about not having beautiful photos, that my first five posts have featured images via other sources. I love my home, but have been terrified to share it due to “not so great” quality of pictures. So….next post is going to be my own house……really ….I promise.
    Blessings,
    Cindy

  26. as a newbie on the blogging block i must say that authenticity is a stretch coming from people hidden behind a camera and the invisible thingys that magically connect us instantaneously. a big thank you and virtual hug to you seasoned bloggeritas who knew we needed a shake down to start up this new year AUTHENTICALLY

    oh, if only my readers knew about the hours i pine over each word and photo before hitting “publish”…all in an effort to make it appear “easy”… they may ….well… hmmm. what exactly would they do?
    guess i’ll have to find out!

    • Amy,
      I realize you are being sarcastic, but, I agree with some of your thoughts and think you brought up a really good point. For the five of us, blogging is our job and we each have our own style and purpose. Within that style and purpose we desire to be authentic. For me that means telling it like it is about my house BUT, being careful what I talk about in most other areas–I don’t use my husband’s or boy’s names, and I’ve been careful not to mention our dog’s name. I don’t even use MY OWN real name–talk about in-authentic!

      I am CONSTANTLY aware of the tension between authenticity and credible, athestically pleasing, informative posts. I actually enjoy the process of balancing the two–so for me that means doing my best to get a great photo {so yes, I will wait until the sun comes out to take a picture} that is good enough but that also captures the truth.

      Taking a great photo is work and for most of us is worth it because the cold hard truth is, if our photos are bad, you probably wouldn’t even come here. So you want authentic, but really you want good photos too. And informative, motivating, fun DIYs. And encouragement in your home. It’s a balance and we don’t always do it perfectly.

      Lucky for us, it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.

      In related news, Miss Mustard Seed will have the post up today about photography http://missmustardseed.com/

      • I think you brought up a great point! There IS tension between being authentic and producing a product that will bring readers back time and time again.

        I mean, you can be THE most authentic person on your blog, and take crappy photos, have a terrible design and and ugly mess all round…nobody’s gonna wanna read that…

        So I suppose we’s gots ta be the show the BEST part of our Authentic self to our readers. It’s what I think they want, and it’s what I want to give them… Maybe, just maybe, that’s the Golden Ticket…

  27. .,, and toss gwen@theboldabode in the authentic pile. yep, she SINGS via video on her blog. and posts videos of madlibs with other bloggers…then gobbles up a cookie in our faces!

    hard not to be authentic when singing!

  28. Thank you, just recently found your blog. I’ve been blogging very sporadically for 2 years or so, but recently decided to re-dedicate myself to the whole endeavor and try to really build a true audience. As a former college English instructor, it’s very hard for me not to sound too formal, didactic, or “know it all” on my posts, and just let it all hang out and be my true nerdy, spazzy self.

  29. I’m not sure you’ll see my comment amongst all of the others, but this is great information. I have a decent blog readership, I blog about my photography sessions, lots of crafty and home decor, but I actually really enjoy writing about my life, my thoughts, my sad, my joy, but the few times I’ve done it and felt vulnerable, I hear the crickets chirping and I get like one or two comments and it holds me back from doing it more. I really enjoy the blogs that are vulnerable like that, but scared to do it more because of that….any thoughts?

  30. This is one of my first times stopping by your beautiful blog, and I just feel compelled to comment. My blog is pretty new. I’ve tried a few other times to start one up, but I think what’s different this time is I made the conscious decision to just kind of let my crazy spill out all over the keyboard. In real life I’m pretty introverted and it takes me a long time to warm up to people, but I have this weird nutso personality that gets out sometimes. I’m trying to let my blog be like I am, mostly uncensored, and I’m finding that people are really responding to it. But still, I fret and fret and fret about putting myself out there like that. Thank you for this article, it makes me feel SOOOO much better about what I’m doing, and has really helped my confidence! Have a great day and a great New Year! :)

  31. Authentic. It’s my personal mantra: to live an authentic life. Embrace the day for what it is.

    (Today, I feel like crap. My head hurts, my pants don’t fit, my house is a mess, and I look like Ethel Merman hopped up on caffeine!)

    I gave up trying to be something I’m not years ago and hope people like me and if not, oh, well, plenty of people do! And guess what? I’m happier than I’ve been in my entire wonderful life!

    One of my goals this year is to finally build my blog – it took me forever to get my (wonderful!) 105 followers but feel like I have lots to say and contribute and plan to start putting it out there this year!

    Thanks for the series – awesome!

    Gail

  32. This series is helping me so much!! I think my personality comes out already my blog posts’ and I’ve only been at since Dec 30… I would love if you can take a peek and give me some feedback.

    @the nester…I even included a post/link to you reading Bebe Gallini!!! Can you take a peek??

    Thank thank you all!!! For all you do each day! Happy New Year!!

  33. I’m so glad I came across this wonderful series. As a blogger of 5 years, I’ve settled into a bit too comfortable pattern – of slacking! But, running a business has made me put my precious blog off to the side for too long. I’m motivated anew, thanks in part to this great series and so much inspiration. Thank you!!

  34. When I think of authentic bloggers, I think of Ali Edwards whise quote you included in this post) and also Simple Mom… These are 2 blogs that I’ve followed for a long time & love for many reasons, but their authenticity definitely makes them seem like a friend and whose opinion and ideas I appreciate and value.

    I love that Jen (Tatertots) mentioned that she gets a little nervous almost every time she hits “publish”. I’m pretty new to blogging and have this feeling often too and appreciate knowing that it’s normal. :) thanks for a great post… Now off to read the rest in the series!

  35. Oh all y’all are the best. I have written the way I talk for a long – long time. Mrs. Pokinghorn, my 7th and 8th grade english teacher would be mortified. Truly her name was Clover Pokinghorn, she was American Indian. Short round and impeckably dresses, beautiful white hair, and always smelled good. Yet the rath of GOD could have been brought down by her should you, not do your lessons well. I know she has been rolliing in her grave by me and other of her students by poor laungage use. I was asked to drop a 200 level english class only because the proph hated to fail some one. So yes the uniqueness of me and my writing has something to be desired and or overlooked and be laughed at or about.
    Thanks for posting as you have. Yes, I love the idea of bloging. I have had a blog for a few years now. I have only made about a dozen post mostly because I forget how to post to it.. { sigh} all in good time. And all about time cyn

  36. Thanks so much for all the resources you give to your fellow bloggers! I’ve been in a slump lately and really didn’t have anything to post about on my blog. I took your advice, and decided to post about my slump. It’s kind of scarry. And this may not be at all what you mean by authenticity. But, I’m taking my chances and hoping for the best. Maybe I’ll get some constructive feedback. Maybe no one will even read it. If you get a chance to read it, heres the link – http://perfectimperfectionsbyjeanne.blogspot.com/2012/01/too-authentic.html. Thanks again for all you give!

  37. this is great! i think megduerksen.typepad/whatever is the perfect balance of pretty and REAL life blog. love her.

    i love your blog b/c you are funny and real and also inspire me to make my home beautiful. i love that you break decorating rules. rules are lame.

  38. What the WHAT?!?! I am happily reading along, catching up on my blogs and you are talking about MOI? What a fun surprise, I am seriously GIDDY! I really had felt a bit sad that day when someone called those robes “ghetto” – because in my mind I had ROCKED that party! To each their own, right?

    I think we are naturally drawn to those who speak/write authentically on their blogs, there is just a sincerity that shines through! Which is a reason why I keep coming back to read yours!

  39. Anonymous says:

    Just into my second week of blogging now (a real newb!) and this entire series came at a perfect time. Thank you so much for doing this. it is greatly appreciated!

    Have a wonderful new year!

  40. I’m so flippin’ behind in my blog reading. Loved this post. It’s good to be reminded to be ourselves. Hope you’re having a grand evening. Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  41. I don’t think that full disclosure of the most intimate details of your life are required for authenticity. It is a really great way to connect, and readers do appreciate that someone is having the exact experiences they are; so it’s good but not entirely necessary. I agree that authenticity is to simply write the way you talk. I often tell myself my story out loud and transcribe as I go. Yes, write it the way you would tell it to your best friend. You don’t tell every detail of every story to your best friend. You hold some things back; some things are private — but you do have a unique voice with your speech patterns and word choices, and these are evident in your writing if you are true in the telling.

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