Julia from IloveYouMoreThanIcecream is back with an amazing guest post. She perfectly captures what every blogger feels as they hover over the publish button wondering if they have left too much of themselves out there for the world to see. Some of us jump right in and share the successes and failures of a project or a goal while others speak about current events or a favorite topic, but we all put a piece of who we are into what we write. It leaves us feeling a little naked, like the dream of going to school after forgetting to get dressed when we were younger. Sit back and enjoy this week’s guest post!
No matter how much writers hold back of their personal selves, we always still spill onto the page with our words and end up with pieces of ourselves in our writing. This is even true with novels and/or works of fiction, or so I believe.
Someone at some point much earlier in my life told me that I wear my heart on my sleeve — I think this is part of why I’ve always been compelled to write. Why I’m a writer now and will be in the future. My philosophy is that this is also true of other writers, even in all the varying degrees that it applies.
But this, I feel, also means that I am not only vulnerable in general, but at risk for vulnerability and all the reasons how and why it can occur.
For starters, publishing my thoughts and experiences weekly via Internet is taking a gamble that people will read my writing. It’s also wagering that people won’t read it, as well.
Wait. Don’t I want you to read — and hopefully connect with as well as enjoy — my blog? Yes…
…And no. Allow me to expound. I truly want to not only be read, but by a wide, broad audience. But, I want people to like my work, and in turn, like me through my work. Desiring that though, doesn’t promise that everyone who reads my writing will receive it well.
In rolls the fear of inviting some form of negativity either on me, the blog, or both, ranging from “I don’t enjoy your writing” or “this was only ok for me” to “you’re awful” and “you should never put words to page or screen again!” Or worse then that, inappropriate comments and language. I even fear people from my past stumbling upon this blog and executing attempts to trash my present life and existence.
Do the duel contradictions come across clearer now? Simply, I want to be adored, not abhorred. Just like anyone. Like ying and yang, it is impossible to guarantee a separation of one from the other.
I tell myself this is normal, that other writers must experience these thoughts and feelings, too, especially other bloggers. But then the other side of my brain tells me that I am being paranoid, and concerned over outcomes that could never see the light.
Not to toot my own horn, as I am certainly not ever overflowing with too much confidence, but there is also the thought that I could be vulnerable to being plagiarized, even if only in parts and parcels. I feel pompous just putting that here in black and white. But the realist in me knows that you can never say “such-and-such will never happen to me.” Some other no-name writer could take something I’ve said here already in all these posts and all these weeks, and not only see more in it than what I’ve put forth, but add their own brilliance to it, and — huzzah! — gain some level of blogger’s acclaim off of something I said that I’ll then wish I could have copyrighted.
Taking care to not reveal information that is too personal is always a consideration. This is why there are certain specific bits about me, my life, and the people in it that I have intentionally not included. Even so, being careful is never careful enough. We’re too close to ourselves and our writing to be able to always see clearly whether or not we are saying more than we realize.
Generally speaking, people are judgmental of most other individuals, whether they know them a little, a lot, or not at all. This is always bouncing around somewhere in the back of my head, but especially so as I ready myself to push the publish button and send all these tiny, connected segments of me out into the digital ether. I’ve lost count of how many weeks of this blog almost didn’t happen because of the paralyzing effect that comes just with the possibility of being judged harshly and unfairly.
What I am trying to say to you in all of this is that a blog is much different than a run-of-the-mill comment, tweet, status update, etc. Some of the creators of those arn’t even writers, just abusers of words as they use them to hide as opposed to express and connect. A blog post requires much more thought and insight than a quickly dashed off nothing.
Further, when you read a blog post — or any piece of online writing for that matter — keep in mind what went into it: someone’s heart and soul.
Julia, being a fan of Joe’s blog, I’ve gotten used to how much of himself he puts on the screen. Soemtimes he’s pretty raw…and that’s his style. As a novice blogger myself, I’m always self-conscious about how much of me I’m putting “out there”, especially when most of my writing is aimed in the general direction of cyclists. I don’t want to misrepresent myself or the facts in many instances. The other side of that is ego. I used to have an ego the size of Alaska, and it bruised easily. I’ve since matured and I don’t put alot of weight on the “haters”. That being said, you’ve got a very honest style in your writing. Your thoughts come from the heart, and it’s hard to go wrong when you’re passionate about what you’re doing. I’m very much enjoying your posts!
Rick, thank you so much for your incredibly nice comment. I think that if a writer is being real, and honest, and writing for the right reasons, the writing itself can be — and is — raw. Almost impossible for it not to be if all of it is coming from the same place: the heart. This is true for me, and yes, I believe it is true for Joe. It’s really comforting that there are others like me, splashing their hearts across the screen every week, feeling the same self-conscious rawness. I so much don’t want to misrepresent myself or facts that I often do research, especially when the writing calls for it. Anyhow, what a nice thing to say to me. I really appreciate it. And it makes me glad that I am being more understood than not. I hope that you continue to enjoy my posts! I’ve been bad about reading other bloggers blogs other than Joe’s, but I will make it a point to check yours out, too. We gotta support each other!
You are awesome! And your blogs are a great read 🙂
Kathleen, what a sweet comment! Thank you! I hope that you continue to enjoy iloveyoumorethanicecream each week. (By the way, is this my college roomie? Whether it is or isn’t, you just put a smile on my face.)
I’m a writer, and believe me that nothing stings like a one star review. I don’t even want to look at them. There’s been none I’ve seen so far that even resembled constructive criticism, which IMO, should be the entire point of a negative review. Now I’m off to read your blog, now that we’re introduced. 🙂
I agree with you — a negative review would be less hurtful if the reviewer gave the writer something with which to build and/or improve his/her writing. With that, I do hope that you enjoy my blog, and that you don’t come away feeling that I am only worth one star myself.
Julia, I have enjoyed your blogs both on your own site and on Joe’s. I always come away with lessons learned from your blog, whether they be intentional or subliminal you help me see things in a new way.
Thank you! It makes me feel good that you and others are enjoying what I am writing. It’s completely validating, that the pull I feel to write is what I should be doing. That it is a path I’m meant to be on. It’s amazing to me — humbling, actually — that I’m serving lessons to others just by sharing my experiences of my own lessons. My original intent was to connect — and it seems that I am doing that — but also helping others in some way has been the happy accidental off shoot, which is a bonus. I hope that you continue to enjoy the posts! I look forward to any future comments/feedback.