Amy on Being Open and Brave Online
Hey, all of you SillyGrrl champions! My name is Amy, and I run a silly little blog called A is for Ampersand. I’m greatly honored to be contributing to Sarah’s 6 Weeks to a Better Blog project, and today we’re going to get real and talk about the tough stuff–writing about the tough stuff.
I’m not an expert blogger by any means, but I’ve been a reader long enough to know that the posts I enjoy the most are genuine posts. Posts where bloggers share themselves in either a personal way, a vulnerable way, or maybe even just an honest, sarcastic, and funny way. I think that between the rise of blogging and Pinterest, everyone sort of got wrapped up in this weird world of perfectionism where everything was rainbow and sunshine and kittens all the time. It’s exhausting, no?
Of course, we all believe that blogging should be a positive place, and nobody wants to read about constant pity parties. So where do you draw the line between being real and being negative?
The bad news is I don’t have a concrete answer for you, since writing about tough subjects depends completely on what you’re comfortable with. The good news is that I do have a couple of guidelines I look to before pushing publish on that tricky post.
1. It’s not so much about WHAT’S happening as what you’re choosing to take from it.
When writing about honest and tough subjects, try to look at it in a different way than just the negativity coming from it. I enjoy blogs that offer me something or move me. So, think about how your experience could help your readers. What have you learned from it? What is helping you through it?
2. When in doubt, don’t get too personal.
What you share on your blog is completely up to you. It is your blog, after all. But when it comes to personal details, go with your gut. If you feel like you’re giving too many details, you probably are. If not, then go with it. If you don’t feel comfortable giving details, just go with guideline one and post about what you’re gleaning from your experience or where you want to go with it. Readers don’t need to know EVERYTHING to connect with you, but they will be there to support you.
3. Write what you’d write if nobody was reading.
I learned this tip from my friend Chelle. We were speaking about feeling discouraged about blogging, and she said that she always tries to write like nobody was reading. I took this advice to heart and think of it often. And in all honesty, I have it on a post-it note in front of my computer.
Readers know when you’re being genuine and when you’re being fake, so just go for it. Be open, speak your mind. It’s YOUR blog. If readers don’t like it, they can move on. That’s the beauty of freedom of choice, right? If you’re worried about getting flack in your comments, well…I can’t give you advice there other than deciding on how much credit to give to haters. Haters will always hate, and there’s not much you can do to fix that.
To me, the bottom line of it all is that if someone really feels strongly against something I’m saying, then they might not be worth my time. I don’t mean that in a mean way, but I mean it in a self-protecting sort of way. Think about it. If someone’s going to hate on you for expressing your feelings and writing about a subject that is tough for you, do you really want them as a friend? Be it in real life or online? I think not. You don’t need negativity in your life. Nobody does.
So, I guess if I could give you one piece of advice on being open and brave online, it would be what Chelle said to me. Write like nobody is reading and be true to yourself. It will make you a better writer, a better blogger, and ultimately, it might just help you through your tough situation more than you ever realized.
Now go forth and be brave! Write what’s on your mind, be genuine, and be YOU. Originality and openness are what will make the blogosphere a supportive and friendly place.
Thank you Amy! Are we all feeling a little more brave now?
04.23.12 in 6 Weeks to a Better Blog