Blogging For Buddies: Create Your Own Voice To Instil Confidence

Posted at 05:09am on 13th December 2009

Hi Mel,

Can I ask for a little help?

I want to create a new tagline for my blog (see link at end of page) a humble tagline. I want to state that my blog is about my thoughts and opinion on blogging subject in a humble way.

My current tagline is "GoBlogger - Tips to Help Blogs Go Better".

I want to create a new tagline which is simple but unique and elegant (while still being humble). But I guess I'm not too good with stylish words.

Perhaps you can give me some suggestions Mel? I ask you because I know you are great with words.

Isaac

Mel's Comment:

Hi Isaac,

Nice to hear from you. You raise an important point in your letter and, again, in your blog, which I visited, and I hope others will visit, too. Like your article, I think I’m going to deal with this point by point.

Friends versus readers:

You said, in your article that you’d like more friends than readers, and that : “A humble person makes more friends, I believe. And friends keep coming back and contribute comments on your blog.” You’ve hit the nail on the head! Without doubt, friendship / affection / love is at the heart of the human psyche. And friendship can’t flourish without humility, because it’s is all about a two-way relationship. Newspapers are aware of this – that’s why they have a ‘letters’ page, so that readers become interactive and are converted to ‘friends’: witness the phenomenal sales of a new book Am I Alone In Thinking . . .

What is friendship?

It takes time to cultivate friends. Actually, I don’t like that word ‘cultivate’ because, like cultivating in gardening or farming, it makes friendship sound contrived: a one-way operation like tilling and drilling soil. I prefer to think of it in terms of ‘nurturing’ which still suggests the idea of ‘planting, seeding and feeding’ a friendship with concern, support and encouragement, but in a mutual manner i.e. two-way.

So what I'm saying is that you can't rush friendship, nor can you manufacture it. It takes time to trust. When your readers know you like I do (and I haven't known you for long) they'll see for themselves the humility, wholesomeness and helpfulness that make you the lovely person you are. Are you blushing :D?

Instil confidence by being yourself:

You also say in your article that a humble approach suits your personality because you are naturally a simple and humble person, and that you don’t want to change yourself. Again, I think you’ve made a vitally important point.

We hear so much online and in business about the Laws of Attraction, in which (in my humble opinion) it appears that you have to screw yourself down into a mindset that may actually be totally at odds with the person you are and the circumstances in which you find yourself. “Create Anything You Want In Life!” says one tagline.

Really? So does that mean that babies being aborted may create life for themselves? Or that parents struggling to keep their children from starvation in undeveloped countries can just apply the Laws of Attraction? “I never wait for my desires,” says another tag. Isn’t that the creed of rapists, burglars and paedophiles?

Don't misunderstand me. I’ve nothing against being positive despite your circumstances! But as my articles on personality, communication and relationships and free psychometric profiling state, I believe – as you evidently do – in each of us being ourselves. You being you. Me being me. Because that’s the person our readers will relate to and want to befriend. Not – as you and I know – someone who strives to ‘create our wants’ or ‘grab or desires’.

Humility:

This is a tricky one. Like you, I hate blowing my own trumpet. In fact, at one time, my husband used to tick me off because I always side-stepped questions from friends about my books. It embarrassed me to talk about them because I never felt I was a ‘proper’ writer. Even as recently as yesterday, when I hosted a Christmas lunch for my writers’ group (writers’ groups are peer groups – no hierarchy!) I went all through the agony of feeling that my offering, when we read and critiqued our work, was far inferior to that of other members. And this morning I woke with the thought: “Who am I trying to kid?”

BUT I don’t allow those thoughts to take root in my heart, dictate my behaviour and convince me that I can’t be honest about who I am and what I’ve achieved. And the reason for that is that some years ago my Minister spoke to me quite firmly about ‘hiding my light under a bushel.’

It’s a Biblical term, and you may not be a believer, but I think it has something to say to everyone. Because what my Minister said was that when we do so – hide our light – it’s not ours to hide! The talent you have, Isaac has been given to you for a purpose. It’s quite obvious to me that promoting yourself, your blog and making money from your ads are secondary issues. What’s important is that your talent – the talent that’s been created in you – should be allowed to shine forth.

Not everyone, of course, uses their talent in a selfless way. But the talent that you have, Isaac, is to encourage, inspire, and help others to make the most of their talent; their potential. So don’t let anything get in the way of that. Don’t let humility hide honesty. Don’t allow lack of confidence to convince you that you haven’t got what it takes.

That drilling from my Minister changed the way I behave. I hope it will give you courage, too. The current quote on my Home page (they change, periodically) is from Albert Einstein. It says: “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” That about sums it up for me.

Create your own voice:

You asked for my help because, you said, I’m ‘great with words’. It’s true that I love words. As the article on my Author page shows, I grew up from my earliest days on Great Short Stories of the World – a book my father lovingly read to me, written, as the title suggests, by some of the best authors of all time, in the world.

So it’s not surprising that a large and lyrical vocabulary is naturally at my disposal. You say you want to achieve something “simple but unique and elegant”. That’s a great goal. As any writing manual will tell you, Good writing demands that you never use a long word when a short one will do as well; nor that you use several words when one will be as good. Sometimes, in fact, what is mistakenly termed 'good writing' may, actually, be a barrier because it's not appropriate to its genre and readership.

Elegance and style are synonymous. And to my mind, true elegance may only be achieved if a thing is 'fit for purpose'. Let me explain. Two days ago at my daughter's and son-in-law's house, I took delivery of a new table on their behalf because they're away. It was circular, unembellished, oiled not polished, and was made of oak. The legs were a triple X - an inverted tripod on top of another tripod. They were extremely chunky and heavy. And completely in keeping with everything we associate with oak: solid, stable, sturdy and strong. The table was very beautiful!

And very different to my dining table, which I inherited. Made of rich, red mahogany, it is highly polished and easily marked. The legs are slender; the circular edging is carved, and the drum sides are adorned with delicately carved festoons. My table is also very beautiful.

But the point I want to make is that my son-in-law’s new purchase is simple, unique and elegant. Because it is in tune with the open plan modern family room they have just built onto the back of the kitchen. My table would look terrible with their ceramic tiles, pale, plain walls and minimalist approach. Just as their table would look quite wrong in my thickly carpetted, velvet curtained dining room.

Which is a long-winded way of saying that sometimes it's a case of 'the simpler the better'. I think you have struck exactly the right note with your new banner. Thoughts and opinions on blogging exactly sums up who you are and what you want to convey. Just as I hope my equally simple, unique and elegant banner – An author’s look at life: resources to inform, inspire, encourage – sums up who I am, and what I want to convey. Neither is better or worse than the other. They’re just in keeping with who and what we are.

So, to sum up:

  1. To make friends out of readers requires humility and affection.
  2. It takes time, trust and mutual concern, support, and encouragement.
  3. Be yourself to instil confidence in others: no pretence; no screwing your mindset to make yourself sound big or important.
  4. At the same time, don’t hide, or minimise, the talent that was created in you and that has achieved its aim of being of value to others.
  5. Go for it GoBlogger For Buddies!

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