What I’ve learned from trying to be someone else


When I first started blogging I wanted to be the ‘new Sarah Wilson’. No surprise really. Sarah’s was the first blog I read and her voice really resonated with me. So my early days of blogging were filled with attempts to capture Sarah’s unique ability to ‘go deep’ and be uber-reflective in (for mine) a non-wanky way.

Somewhere along the line I moved on from Sarah to Mia Freedman. I adored how brutal Mia could be with herself along with her ability to stand strong behind what might be unpopular opinions. As I did with Sarah, I spent countless hours trying to replicate Mia’s style.

Then I got a taste for the whimsical and suddenly Allison Tait and Maxabella were my new writing spirit animals. Sadly, despite my love of reading whimsy, I have zero (ZERO) talent for writing the stuff. Still, that didn’t stop me from trying to capture the world the way Al and Bron did, wryly observing the everyday through a lens of diffused light.

In my time as a blogger I have also tried to be Anna, Karen, Eden and Sarah. I have desperately wanted to be Penelope and despaired at my complete inability to express strong opinions without the need for eleventy billion caveats.

In those early (and not so early!) years, whenever my own voice demanded to make itself heard I told it to shut the hell up.

I had to!

Because I was sure that one day Penelope or Sarah would happen across my blog and recognise a kindred spirit – someone with the same voice as them! I was sure we’d become instant best friends. Over time however I came to realise two things:

  1. No matter how hard I tried to think and write like someone else, I couldn’t help but think and write like myself.  Goddamn it.
  2. There seemed to be people out there who like my writing voice. Sure it may not be the millions of people who love the voices of the people I wanted to be … but hey, all any of us needs is 1000 true fans right?!

So why on earth was I fighting against my voice, my self so hard?

No idea.

Maybe it’s a rite of passage every writer needs to go on.

Maybe it’s a rite of passage every person needs to go on?

With that in mind – if you have a spare 10 minutes I promise you will adore this TED Talk from Hetain Patel. In it he uses performance and storytelling to examine questions of identity. Watching this talk was a bit of a light bulb moment for me (at 8.14 … but the ‘real’ action starts at 5.18). I’d love to hear if it is the same for you too!