“Morning folks, how you’se going?”
I’ve just touched down from LAX and the Australian accents swirling around me sound so rounded, deeper, more drawn out.
I’m one of those people that unwittingly adopts accents and starts emulating sayings and phrases, sometimes within minutes of meeting someone. After a week in California, I’ve heard myself ending everything sentence with “right?! “– with a stiff upper inflection to affirm a statement I believe too.
I’ve felt that American confidence and get-straight-to-the-point efficiency coming out in my emails.
I’ve noticed the nuances and quirks of the accent swirling around me, slipping into my sentences and peppering my emails. I’ve heard myself in phone calls with my boyfriend and in gossip sessions by the pool.
I do it out of admiration.
I unwittingly begin to emulate the voices around me that I take notice of.
Which is kind of the same as modelling your writing on your idols, right?! (Sorry, couldn’t help it.)
When you look up to someone – or the way a person holds themselves, sells themselves, looks, breathes or just IS – a part of you reverts back to kindergarten you, when you wanted to have the exact same hairstyle as your bestie or high school you when you would just DIE if you didn’t get those cult-brand shoes.
Just look at Instagram for F sake.
The flipside of this, of course, is when you only surround yourself with clones of you (or the ‘you’ you want to be) your inspiration well starts to shrivel up and finding the right words becomes harder than flossing your back molars.
It can also send you deep into the comparison trap as your fellow biz owners, bloggers, writers or influencers seem to come out with kick-ass content right before you planned to write about the goddamn exact. same. thing.
So answer me this….
When does emulation actually become imitation?
And when do you stop being you and start being a mouthpiece for others?
- You see it when someone’s brash and totally on point new name for a subscription program is ripped right off by someone who wants to BE said brash-name writer.
- You see it when all the emails landing into your inbox are essentially saying the same thing, just at different times.
- And if you’re smart, you’ll feel it in your gut whenever you sit down to write something that doesn’t quite feel like what you really want to say.
That’s why expanding your reading library is essential.
Travel is almost mandatory.
Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is the sprinkles on the fairy bread.
Because when you start to experiment, try new things, and say things slightly differently to the way you usually do, you can be sure as hell someone’s going to notice.
And the best person to notice is you.
What if you unsubscribed to three people you admire the most and replaced those with three new content mediums on completely unrelated topics? (Uh huh, you can totally unsubscribe to this one if you’re not feeling it.)
What about a new comedy podcast?
A new magazine written for men?
Or studying the way an accounting firm handles their marketing (when you’re a vegan cupcake baker)?
Look outside your comfort zone and find the zone of YOU.
Tell me: Have you ever found yourself slipping into someone else’s voice and not liking what you heard? What did you do to shake yourself out of it?
PS. Time’s running out to nab yourself an early-bird ticket to Write Like a MOFO – a live copywriting workshop with yours truly and the word maven behind Hello Wordsmith, Jessica Larsen! Save up to $200 each + score epic bonuses worth $596! Need a smokin’ hot new headshot? You can get that too. One-on-one feedback and editing? Yup, sorted.