Entry #1 – Being Anonymous

(Image credit http://www.flickr.com/photos/raggle/3166359011/)

When I saw that SEO chicks were looking for a new blogger my mind started buzzing with blog post possibilities. There are so many topic options a girl could tackle. About 15 minutes into my brainstorming, another thought hit me, the post was to be made anonymously, but no one’s writing style is ever really anonymous, we each have our own patterns and rhythms, not to mention words that we use that others would never dream of.

Did that mean that people might recognise me by my writing style?

Nearly every one of us will write anonymously at some point, whether it’s a guest post, blogging for a client, putting out a press release, or sending a secret valentine. Sometimes it’s handy to be able to use a different voice to write with. Unfortunately it’s not that easy to disguise your distinctive style & doing it well is even harder. My aim then became clear; I had to attempt an entirely unidentifiable post, and the subject…how to write anonymously of course.

So here are my top 5 tips for writing incognito;

1. Write the post as you
It’s often recommended that when writing you get the whole piece down on paper before you start editing. This still applies, if you try writing as somebody else you will stilt what you’re writing, and you will lose your flow, better to get everything down first, and worry about style later.

2. Get your thesaurus out
Some words are going to be dead giveaways; probably ones that you use a lot without even realising you’re doing it. Go through your writing and select words that can be replaced. Get your faithful thesaurus out and choose options that you may not use most of the time. As an added benefit you may well extend your vocabulary.

3. Change those sentences around
Some people have a tendency to use short simple sentences; others go for a longer more complex sentence structure, if you’re going to be anonymous reassess how you use sentences and try to mix it up a little bit. Complex sentences can sometimes be switched about too

4. Read something else
Before you write your final edition read something by someone else. Use this time to go through your feed reader, or favourite magazine and get someone else’s voice in your head, this will help with item 5

5. Re-write
After all of this, redraft your post from start to finish. Having made changes to semantics and sentence structure you’re going to have a bit of a muddle of a post, so re-write the post to bring it back into the realms of lucidity, keeping your new features in place of course.

So, assuming the above tips work, you will have no idea who I am, of course that could just be because you have never heard of me, but I’m sure if you vote for this post my true identity will be revealed.

[Editors note: This blogpost is part of the SEO Chicks 'recruiting new bloggers' competition, to vote for this blogpost go here]

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5 Responses to “Entry #1 – Being Anonymous”

  1. Jennifer Stratton-Lee says:

    Okay, I like this… because it is true. And it is important if you are going to write for a corporate website or guides, material, etc, that you can use a more neutral voice. It seems simple but this is pretty good advice for writing for the web in my opinion…

  2. debra mastaler says:

    While I believe in full disclosure when publicly making comments/posts/tweets, I get the “writing for a client” angle and think your tips are great for this.

  3. Mary Bowling says:

    Great article and congrats on being a new SEO Chick!

  4. [...] whose characteristics are different to yours would do or write or think: Sarah Carling wrote a brilliant piece about writing anonymously on SEO Chicks during her interview for the role. It’s hard to be someone you’re not, [...]

  5. Alison says:

    I found point number 4 the most intriguing as I can remember reading about writers who are writing sequels to well known novels, writing out more or less whole books to get into the writing style of the original author :)

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