Posted on 07 September 2012.
I’ve been away from this blog for about 3 weeks (YIKES), and I feel terribly guilty. My business has exploded (YIPPEE), but that means something had to give (NUTS). Unfortunately, since I write for a living, my blog suffered the consequences.
And YOU noticed. That I was gone at least. Thank you.
Well, now I’m back. From Outer Space. I just walked in to… Oh wait. I’m channeling my inner Gloria Gaynor.
So if you I asked you to name the tone of this particular blog post, what would you say? Light, humorous? Apologetic? Upbeat? You’d be right on all counts. Those are what I try to convey in this blog (mostly). It’s called “Tone.”
Tone, as defined by dictionary.com, is:
- a particular style or manner, as of writing or speech; mood: the macabre tone of Poe’s stories.
- prevailing character or style, as of manners, morals, or philosophical outlook: the liberal tone of the 1960′s.
- style, distinction, or elegance.
A consistent tone throughout your blog helps define who you are and how people will feel when they read it. If your tone is serious, this will evoke certain feelings in readers. If your tone is humorous, people will come to expect that when they visit. When you step away from the tone (or tones) you typically write in, your readers will notice. And not always in a good way. I mean, can you imagine what would have happened if Erma Bombeck, my favorite humor writer, had suddenly started writing dirges? (Shiver)
Sometimes, when I sit down to write a post, I realize my head’s not in the game. Maybe I’m distracted by other things I need to do, maybe I’m not inspired by the topic I’ve chosen, maybe I simply don’t want to write, but feel I have to. If any of these are the case, I stop trying to write because I know the words I want won’t come. (The same is true for client work. If my head’s not in the right space, if I can’t connect with my subject matter, it’s futile to sit at my computer.)
Rule #1 – Make sure your head is in the right place. If it’s not, get it there or don’t post. While one “off” post won’t chase away readers, why take a chance on damaging your reputation, especially if your mood is a bad one? Go clear your head – whatever that means for you. For me, it means doing something completely different, like working with my hands. That could mean washing dishes, working in the garden, fixing the doorbell, sorting laundry. It’s the things I can do to bring myself to a different place mentally. Usually, it doesn’t take long for me to be able to sit down at my computer again and begin to write. But this time with the tone I want and need.
Rule #2 – Stop oiling the squeaky wheel. If you ignored Rule #1 and wrote a post anyway, put it aside. Don’t post it yet. Go away and then come back and re-read it. It’s likely you’ll want to revise it, once you’ve accomplished Rule #1. But what if you try to revise it and nothing seems to work? If that’s the case, you might simply need to scrap it and start over. (GASP) Yes, I did say start over. It won’t kill you to do this. You can always pick the bones of the first post’s carcass and use them in the new post. It’s better to start over than try to fix something that can’t be fixed, no matter how well written it may be.