The other day someone asked me if I had any advice about branding. The question caught me off guard. Branding? I mean, yes, I do work in marketing and I do understand the trend of branding and blogging. But her actual question was, “What have you done to build your brand?”

Nothing.

I know a lot of bloggers have strong opinions about “branding”. I actually think that there is a place for it. If you write for a site that has a specific tone or feeling I could understand that you would want to evoke that feeling in all of the things that you do online.

But is “Dresden” a brand? Not so much.

What I am, I hope, is a voice. That is what I have tried to be.

This is how I explained it to my friend:
I talk to people and I tell them my story often. I also want to know other people’s stories and actively seek out ways that our lives overlap to find commonality. I write about my own life and that is so specific. So what makes that interesting to strangers? I need to be relatable to other people. Other people need to find parts of themselves within me. Perhaps they see themselves in me when I write about trying to get pregnant, or when I share about being a single mom, maybe they connect to my stories about caregiving or what it is like to live with my mother.

At the end of the day I want to be a person someone thinks of when they hear: single mother, infertile, food stamps, Alzheimer’s.

Earlier this week BlogHer announced the call for submissions for Voice of the Year. I love seeing all the tweets about people getting up the guts to submit themselves. It really does take guts.

voty 2012I can not describe how utterly terrifying it is to put your words out there in the hopes that someone might get you, hear you, feel you, KNOW YOU. (unless of course you have submitted a post for VOTY and then you totally get it) But then months go by and your email dings. And oh my heavens the RUSH of emotions will make you fly.

Last year I stood up on a big stage and talked about one of the scariest times of my life. It was one of the coolest things I have ever done. It will always be one of my favorite moments. The best part? Reading my words out loud to other bloggers. It’s magic.

Do not worry a stitch about voting or popularity or the size of your boobs or ass or readership. If you have a blog you are a writer and one of the easiest ways to prove that is to put forth your writing to share with other bloggers.

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