A Lesson in Blogging

I think it was Eden Riley from Edenland who said ‘the blogosphere  is like the Wild West’.

Well, this week I felt like hanging up my boots.

Starting this blog was a huge deal for me.

Determined to keep my online life separate from real life,  my blog was to be a space for me to work through some of the shit that should have been dumped a long time ago.

I read lots advice before I began.

One quote stood out:

“Write as if no one is reading”

Mmm, I thought. Yes I can do that. I mean who’s going to read my baloney anyway?

I was spurred on to write thoughts I would never share in real life (still at the ‘can’t show the crazy too soon’ stage).

But this week I learnt a painful lesson. You cannot write a blog as if no one is reading, because someone is. And not always the person you are expecting.

My words hurt someone (unintentionally I should point out) from my real life. I felt, and still feel, terrible about it.

It was a huge reality check.

There is no way I can keep my two lives separate. I’m not sure why I ever thought it possible. Maybe because I prefer my on-line self? Who knows.

I cannot control who reads my blog.  (this is especially hard for a control freak like me). I cannot control assumptions people make about what I have written. The fear that mistakes that I will inevitably make will be seized upon, words criticised and ideas ridiculed has stopped me from pressing ‘publish’ many times before. Now, that feeling is stronger than ever.

I’m just not brave enough to write as if no one is reading. I care far too much what others think of me. (yes, lame, I know)

I’m not sure I’m cut out for blogging. Maybe I should stick to gin.

What are your thoughts about on-line life versus real-life and blogging?

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37 thoughts on “A Lesson in Blogging

  1. I never write my blog as though no-one is reading. To me, writing is a contract that is not fulfilled until someone reads it. So there is always a reader in my head. After many years as a professional writer, I take great care with my words. That doesn’t mean I’m not honest, or say what I think – I just go about it carefully. And if there’s any doubt, I don’t say it. Simple as that.

    You don’t have to give every detail to tell the whole story. Choose the details with care. But don’t give up!

  2. Yep, dangerous words “write like no-one’s reading”. Sometimes I’ve had to think long and hard what I’ve written and have had someone question stuff I wrote. I post my blogs to FB so I have to be reasonably careful, which is fine. Glad you decided to write this post – you should stick to blogging AND gin.

  3. My motto is write like I’d like to be written about, be it twitter, facebook or the blog. You do never know who’s reading. I am happy to disagree with people and be challenged on what I think, but I have to stand by my own words.

    Keep going though, you have goos things to say. x

  4. I write nothing that I’m not afraid to say in person. I stand by what I write. It’s my truth. Which may be different to someone else’s. if they don’t like it, that’s ok. It’s the differences in our world that makes it an interesting place.

    My online world runs pretty much simultaneously with my real life world. If I wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, then I don’t say it online.

      • I think this is actually what I was getting at 🙂 If you read my blog posts (and it is mine where you read those words initially, I think), I write with conviction and free abandon. Otherwise, I don’t write. As a writer in the public domain for over 8 years now, I’ve done the whole ‘baptism of fire’ thing and, as I do not get paid for my writing, I own every word and have had to stand by them. Every last one.

        It’s horses for courses and I don’t think there’s a personal blogger out there who hasn’t felt the heat over some post or another. You learn by trial and error. But I still do ‘write like no one is reading’ because, for me, to write as if every possible person who could potentially be reading is in my head, is to creatively stifle me to a point of gagging. Not good for a writer!

        So… take everything you read with a grain of salt too, is the moral of the story, I guess.

  5. I hope people keep responding to this post. I’m a new blogger and would love to hear feedback on this.
    To write like no-one is reading is a release, I admit it. But whether it’s apt or not depends solely on the content.
    Words can be weapons if used incorrectly. Delete doesn’t work if someone gets hurt.

    Love your blog X

  6. I am careful in how i word things. Like what others have said, i stick to the rule ” only write what you would say in R.L.” but obviously in real life people can read body language and tone so written words are often difficult to interpret.

  7. I am always mindful that ‘someone’ may read my blog that I may not want to so I choose what I write, and how I write it. This doesn’t mean I’m not honest or open, just that I am careful. The hard thing with any form of writing, is that it is open to interpretation by the reader, and sometimes it may not come across the way in which you are trying to say it. I hope you keep blogging, I enjoy your thoughts.

  8. I try not to write anything I wouldn’t stand by in real life and I’m conscious of veering into stories that aren’t mine. Sometimes I’ve lifted conversations from real life and that proved to be a minefield so I guess I feel more restricted now.

    I’m learning that less is more. I think Anna does this beautifully. Her writing is so honest and raw yet she doesn’t give too much away (hopefully she doesn’t mind me saying that!).

  9. I think I was blogging a full year before any of my real life friends or family (I only told a trusted handful) had noticed. (Mind you to date not one has directly made any comment to me about it- odd!)

    At the start I wanted the freedom to express myself and find my eventual voice without the self-consciousness so told no one. But at no point did I succumb to the temptation to vent in a potentially dangerous way, no matter how close I came. I have to be able to stand by what I’ve done, because you can’t take it back. The way I see it is, odds on the very person you’d never expect to find it, will be that blasted one. Good luck x

  10. Hey CC! I learnt early on in my first blog not to write as if someone wasn’t reading. It’s really dangerous as, like you say, you can’t control who is reading it.

    It’s really tricky to get that balance though – you want to be authentic, to use blogging as a catharsis, as a release, but someone is always reading and you risk hurting that someone, albeit unintentionally.

    It would be a shame if you stopped writing, but I really get why you would want to pack it in. Lessons like that are fucking HARD and affect you deeply. And it’s NOT lame to be concerned about what people think of you. We all want to be liked and anyone who says differently is probably lying. We’re all part of the human race and we feel deeply. I’m terribly guilty of misinterpreting what people say to me.

    It’s the human condition, love. We still think you rock, no matter what you choose.

    Kx

  11. I struggle with this too. Like Twitchy, I didn’t tell anyone I actually knew in person that I was blogging until recently – for fear of judgement.
    As tempting as it is because my family is very weird, I just don’t post stuff that may offend people – a lot of weird stuff goes on in my life that I would actually like to write about, but I don’t because it will upset some people in my life – and in the end it’s just not worth it because once it’s posted you can’t take it back. It’s very frustrating.

  12. It’s great advice for writing as therapy, but whether or not you want to share it is another thing. I try to write with an ‘intimate distance’, and tell the story as it needs to be told but do it as though it’s going to be printed on the cover of the newspaper. Maybe some things are best kept ‘off blog’. I’ve been blogging for nearly 2 years and I still struggle with this.
    Lovely to meet you.

  13. I initially wrote as if no one was reading… cos for the first 3 or so years no one was. But then when I started promoting my blogs and they became vaguely linked with ‘me’ I had to become more conscious of what I’d written.

    I did go back and cleanse one of my blogs before I started owning it… just cos there was stuff there I didn’t want people reading.

    Sorry to hear you’ve had a bad experience.

    xxx

  14. It sucks when you unintentionally offend!!! I write my blog for me and as such I don’t write daily. I don’t write about other people unless I have asked them unless it is my own experience of them .. A few weeks ago I write about my weight being an issue to someone in my world . That person read it and apologized which was nice but not my aim.. I was talking ‘my own shit’ through. Don’t think you can keep the blog and life completely separate and I do choose what is ok an what is out of bounds for writing material .. Now I write ‘as if my mother is reading’ because she is … Tricky

  15. Tricky one! Got to admit that I get the bones of my posts from real life situations and then distort them to buggery, partly to make them humerous and partly to protect people they might affect. My friends and family are ultimately more important than my blog. Making yourself the butt of any post is a healthy plan rather than targeting.

  16. I have read your blogs and find them so, so honest. You are a writer, and you are not obliged to anyone, and knowing you offline I know that you care not just what people think of you but that you care, full stop. This person who you have unintentionally upset will also learn that when the bucks are down, you would be the first to stand by her/ him. The blog is essentially about you and your interaction with those around you. It’s not about someone else . I dont mean that in a mean way. But yes, I suppose blogging and all other social media requires self-restraint if we are not not hard enough for the ensuing criticism (and who is?). I quiver at the slightest critical comment on my facebook. I want to shout at people “if you dont like what I’m saying ON MY FACEBOOk, then piss off”. Not very mature, I’ll admit. I guess all relationships, online, ofline and all freedom of expression are constant negotations. Maybe with the great power communicate these days, comes great responsibility. Don’t give up.

    ________________________________

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