Have you noticed anything about the dozens of blogs you read? I know I have. What I’ve noticed is that a sizable portion of them dispense advice from the perspective of, “I used to live in this unfortunate way, but I managed to change, and you can too!” This thought was provoked by a post on Get Rich Slowly about the blogger at Frugal Babe, but there are many bloggers I read who write from this perspective. JD Roth of Get Rich Slowly. Leo Babauta of Zen Habits. Gretchen Rubin of Happiness Project. Even Markos Moulitsas of DailyKos (he used to be a Republican, and served in the military). Of course there are many other bloggers who write more from a position of expertise or a perspective of “I’m trying this out and relating my experiences,” but those four are some of my favorite bloggers, and there’s a reason for that. The perspective of the Reformed Sinner is a powerful place to dispense advice from.
But I don’t write from that perspective. In terms of many of my interests, I don’t have the biography to back it up. I grew up on frugality and financial responsibility. I’ve been a progressive and environmentalist since I first thought about politics. And finally, I didn’t emerge from a hectic corporate life to search for calm and happiness through lifestyle design. And in general, I don’t feel like I’ve changed dramatically in any area of my life; I feel like I’ve been pretty consistent. So I can’t really write about any of the topics I’m interested in from that perspective. You might wonder why that concerns me, and you’re right; it doesn’t concern me that much. It’s just that the perspective of the Reformed Sinner is so powerful, and I want my words to carry such a weight.
But y’know, it’s okay. We all write from the perspective that we have, and since my aspirations to be a high-power blogger only barely make it into the second tier of my priorities, I can be content writing from where I am.
How do you dispense advice and share your opinions in an effective way? Are there any specific formulations you use? Persuasiveness is something that greatly interests me. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic!
[Update: My college philosophy professor has an interesting blog post on this topic here.]