I wonder how many of us take a conscious decision to become the people we are and how many of us just come to be as we wander through life.
Each human being is already complex. Put one human being in touch with another and you have an even more complex set of possibilities of interaction. When you think about it, only part of that interaction is communication, only part of communication writing, only part of writing blogging and just a small part of that voice.
Yet, voice is as important to a blog as stickiness is to, well, sticky rice if you’re going to eat it with chopsticks. The person eating has to be dexterous and educated in the culture of holding chopsticks right but you also don’t want to use the wrong rice so your message-grains fall through.
When we talk of ideas that sound rather serious, such as voice, I never know what they mean. I am never sure how they can be exactly differentiated from other concepts such as style and tone except that I know the connotations differ somewhat.
Voice, for me, has most to do with the personality of the writer as it comes across to the reader, an aspect of writing which is especially important in blogging because you get to know a blogger over a long period of time. A blogger is more like the boy/ girl next door that you feel like you know, neither a celebrity like an established writer nor a sensation who you wouldn’t expect to interact with you.
But this idea of the blogger-as-regular-person, which initially seems quite liberating because it makes the work relatively pressure-free (each post does not have to be perfect), can become a cage in itself because of voice.
Do we need to stick to a consistent voice in all our posts? In real life, we adults are somewhat consistent in our personalities, but we don’t interact the same way with everybody. We evolve over time and we allow others to change us. Sometimes, life events influence us drastically.
Can that happen to a blog? Can we experiment with different voices? Can we change? Or is it that we have to stick to the same voice in the same blog and create a new one if that voice sticks in our throats and stifles us after being the same person over and over again for weeks and months?
It seems to me that anything that does not change with time has to be complete, like a book, or dead. And a blog as a genre is more alive to me than many other forms because it keeps letting you know it is alive a few times a week. But does it have to keep reminding people that it exists by hollering outside people’s doors in exactly the same voice every time it speaks?
To me, it is the underlying character that defines a person. It is the same thing that draws me to a blog. Sure, consistency of voice, style and tone is soothing because it does not jar with expectation at the end of a tired day. But if I know that this blogger is dependable and serious about his work (even if that means I can rely on him to be seriously nonsensical if he is writing nonsense verse) and that he will not waste my time with filler posts with catchy titles, I’ll visit him. I’ll not expect him to be nonsensical everyday. He can be tearful on days he is sad or artistic when he is in the mood.
But I shall not hold him to his voice.