Why do you write? Why have you started your own blog? You’re doing this whole writing thing because you have some stuff you want to get off of your chest. You also do it because you want to express yourself, you wouldn’t mind if a few people liked your article as well.
As a blogger, there’s a fine line between treating your blog like a personal journal and as a tool to help others. One of the trickiest concepts to learn when it comes to writing is being able to write about what’s on your mind while helping your readers at the same time.
There are many articles out on the web that will give you some great advice when it comes to this problem. What’s missing from a few of these articles is the ability to apply that advice to your own work.
Imagine being introduced onto a website like Medium and being told that you can’t write about yourself at all. Well, you can write about yourself, just not to the extent you would want to.
You have to realize that people go onto your blog looking for something that they want or need. They may not be too concerned about the problems your newborn cat is giving you on a daily occasion. Instead, they want to know how they can apply the advice you give into their lives, but also having the ability to tell a story about your life and see how they can relate it to theirs.
If you master the skill of telling small personal stories in your writing, your readers will be able to find stuff that they need within those stories. It’s not too hard to get started on these small stories you want to tell, just know that readers are looking to get something out of them.
It feels good to write about yourself on occasion and have people like what your writing as well, it makes you feel accepted and lets you know that you’re doing something right. That’s why you need to learn some effective ways of adding your personal opinions to your writing without getting readers uninterested.
Always ask yourself “will this help my readers?”
Now if you don't have a big audience with your blog, this tip can still apply to you and will help you start growing an audience as well.
When you’re reading a book, what are you looking for in that book? If it’s fiction then you might be looking for some type of entertainment, if it’s self-help then you may be looking for some life advice. This is the same thought process your readers will have when it comes to your blog. This is why you should always ask yourself will these personal examples help my readers.
If your readers cant find any benefit from your personal experiences then they may think that you’re a selfish writer. The average person who reads your article may not say this to you but this is the reason why you may not see the results that you were hoping for when it comes to engagement.
You want to have a high level of engagement when it comes to your writing so that your readers stay around for future blog posts as well. Make sure you keep this in the back of your head when writing as well. As much as you want a lot of people to read your work and have goosebumps, there will be a lot of times where readers cant relate.
Again, you may not be able to see this type of response from your audience but think about it, you can’t impress every single person in the world, no matter how perfect you think you are.
I’m sorry but that’s just how life works, it’s good to stay optimistic when you do write down these stories because even though there may not be many people that relate, there will always be a few. Who eventually become your true audience in the long run.
Always make sure you’re putting your reader's interest first, keep the personal stories that you give related to the topic of the blog you’re writing about. Your “I” statements should be just another tool for your readers to use when they’re looking to grab key takeaways that can help them in their life.
Keep things short and simple
Ok, so let's get down to how your personal examples and stories should be structured in your article. The times you feel like a personal story would work is usually when you’re making an important point that you think readers should understand or you might have the mindset of having it take up more space on the page.
You don’t want to focus on your stories becoming full essay worthy, you want them to be short and to the point. Unless you’re writing a personal story for your blog post, you shouldn't be focused on taking up a certain amount of a page. Casually make your personal statement and move on with your post.
This is so your reader doesn't get sidetracked and bored in the middle of your blog. When writing too much of your personal opinions throughout your article, your readers will say something in their head like “Oh great, another writer who loves to talk about themselves.” The easiest way to avoid these thoughts from readers is to keep your personal details short.
Aim for one to three sentences at most when making these statements. Mention your experiences only a few times through the article. If you have an article that consists of three body paragraphs, look to see if you can restrict yourself to only using one small personal statement for each body.
Learn to use these personal statements at the right time, when rereading your work make sure that these stories are in align with what you’re talking about in the sentences prior. A basic rule to remember is to only write about yourself when you genuinely think you should.
Think about the reader and check to see if they would actually appreciate what you have to say. This will take time to fully understand but can be picked up quickly once getting familiar with your writing style. Once you start adding more simplicity to your writing, the easier it will be to understand.
Use personal stories to grab the reader’s attention or to show an example
Some of the best bloggers that I’ve come across have the ability to grab my attention with small stories. Many blogs that have an introduction are usually boring and make you question why you even clicked on the catchy title in the first place.
Your introduction is a great place to put any personal stories that you have in mind. This way from the jump you are catching the reader's attention. When using personal experiences in an introduction, you want to make sure that it’s worth being placed there.
How will this story be able to make sure that the reader keeps reading?
Will this story trigger the emotions of somebody who’s reading it?
Being able to grab a reader’s attention from the start of your article can help you later on when trying to make sure that the reader is enjoying your work. You can also make references throughout your article from that initial story.
Who doesn’t like to open a book and be engaged from the first page?
This makes reading the book much more fun and lets you know that you’ve picked the right novel to read. This is how you want your readers to feel when they click on your most recent blog post.
Another way of putting some personal experiences within your article without looking to be selfish is to use phrases like “for example” or “for instance.” Making this visible to your reader before getting into a personal experience will allow them to be a lot more understanding when reading it. They know that you are sharing that story to make a point and to make sure that they don't miss that point.
I like to use these phrases towards the middle or end of my articles to make sure my audience is staying engaged before finishing. Your readers should see these personal examples and “I” statements as casual wording, nothing to overthink or change their minds about. This is just an extra bonus you are giving to help them feel more at ease about whatever problems are going on in their life.
Yes, there are multiple ways to write about yourself in an article while still helping readers at the same time. When in doubt, put yourself in the shoes of a reader when writing. I’ll leave you with a quote from Paullina Simons that says
“You have to keep your audience in your mind; if you’re writing stuff that you know nobody’s going to care about then you should rethink what you’re doing!”