Adventure Girl learns a lesson in putting it on show
I’ve been writing for Rhonda Perky’s Bitsfor just over a year now, and it seemed as good a time as any to take stock of some blogging lessons I’ve had to learn the hard way.
- People always think you’re blogging about them. I discovered this first when I wrote a post about friendship. In a later conversation I learned that several of my friends believed the post was aimed at them. It wasn’t.
- People you are blogging about, never think it’s about them. Yes, I mean you. No, not you. You. In the previous scenario, the friends the post was actually about, never made the connection.
- At some point you will offend SOMEBODY. Okay EVERYBODY. This is pretty much to be expected as a writer. Just ask Helen Garner.
- When you do offend, it won’t be over what you expect. Something which was written as a throwaway line (which we’ve already established is probably not about THEM) can cost you a friend, or at least earn you a cold shoulder or three. People have sensitivities you simply don’t know about until you inadvertently stick them with the blogging equivalent of a giant needle.
- People you know will read what you write. I know this sounds obvious, but when you’re tapping away, expunging your deepest and darkest emotions, you can forget that your audience also includes THEM. It can be flattering, but also a little weird, when you can tell just by the way a person looks at you that THEY HAVE READ AND THEY KNOW.*
- Other people you know will not read what you write and it’s not the people you expect. I remember writing a post, thinking, ‘OMG my friend is going to LOVE this,’ only to discover she never actually read it.
- The line between TMI (Too Much Information) and NEI (Not Enough Information) is different for everyone. It is impossible to avoid tripping over the line at some point, for somebody, simply because the line is vastly inconsistent between individuals (see 3 and 4 above).
- What seems clear to you is not always apparent to your audience. They are not inside your head, and what is inside your head doesn’t always make it in entirety onto the page. Example: I wrote a blog post on being abused by my last boyfriend. When a friend indicated they had read the post, I felt I could talk a little more freely about what had happened. The response was, ‘Wait — he HIT you?’ ‘Yes, he hit me. More than once. Didn’t my blog say that?’ Apparently not clearly enough.
- Only blog when you have something to say. Sometimes you are more prolific than others. In the down periods you may feel pressure to post while your ideas are still half-formed or virtually non-existent. You must resist; your readers will wait. Otherwise you will end up with a page of half curdled mush that nobody wants to read, and for which you wish you’d never hit ‘Publish Post’.
- Write something true to yourself. Write from what resonates, what keeps you up and night, and what you want to shout across the ether-sphere. You might be surprised who will end up reading and responding from halfway across the world. (Yes, I mean you).
*This applies equally to tweeting.