Friday, December 28, 2012

Things About Blogging that Scare Me

I love blogging.  As I go through my day, I'm writing in my head.  Only occasionally--a few days a month--do I actually get time to put even some of it down.  Part of that is out of respect.

I recently read C Jane Kendrick's post about her elopement.  She writes about her then future husband sitting on the bed and sobbing, worrying if he was making the right decision in marrying her.  It's an amazing piece of writing.  I think my husband would have a cow if I publicly shared a story in which he was sobbing.

In Jane's piece, her family finds out that she and Christopher are driving to Vegas and her family whooped and hollered with joy over the phone.  Although I think every family *should* react like that to any impending marriage no matter how ill fated, I don't know of many who would.  I think most parents would be pretty ticked off.  I think I might be ticked off.

So how do you share your story without hurting anyone?  Any time I do any writing that's any good, I'm nervous.  I work hard to cloak things so I don't hurt any feelings.  Even at the Honda blog, I wrote about an amazing woman who headed up a huge Christmas Dinner giveaway, even while herself getting devastatingly bad news.

I quote one of our conversations in the post.  I know it makes it more relatable.  I know that readers will like Debi without even knowing her.  Yet I worry that she now hates me and will never talk to me again for fear that I'll put it on the blog.

That's exactly what I don't want--for people to fear me.  I don't want to throw anybody under the bus.  Yet I think writing that's brutally honest--like Jane's--is awe inspiring.

I also know that people have different perspectives.  I remember a niece asking me about a (cringe) fight--a physical fight--between her mother and me when we were teens that is, apparently,  going down in family lore. "Tell me about the time..." she began.  As she explained which story she wanted to hear I was shaking my head, "That's not the way it happened at all!" I exclaimed.

Even when you share your story, your life isn't lived in a vacuum.  It intersects and weaves with other's lives. Your perceptions of the same events, the same experiences, heck, the same conversations, can be dramatically different from someone else.

Jane Kendrick is gutsy.  Perhaps it's why her blog garners a million views a month.  But is there a down side?  Has she lost friends or offended family?  Or when we know each other's real story--the whole story--do we just feel more compassion?


Kari said...

I had flashbacks to newspaper, with one of John's articles. I remember you pleading he leave out his name...

But I know what you mean. There is a removed relative of mine who is a VERY good writer. But she pissed her whole family off because she CONSTANTLY throws them under the bus. So they won't read her blog. Wowsers, can she be unpleasant.

Jenna Wood said...

That's exactly what I wonder. In C Jane's last post, she talks about "whisper's by extended family that she was too fat to conceive."

I cringe. Is her extended family so large that they just all point fingers at each other? Are they really not among her hundreds of thousands of readers? And the other thing, was it even real? Or was her weight something *she* was worried about and is blaming her complex on *them*?

Or do they just feel compassion? Now that they've read everything--her feelings about her mission, her abusive husband, her divorce, her next husband questioning for more than a year if he'd done the right thing--do they just understand that she has some serious issues, complexes and baggage (as we all do) and react with compassion that, perhaps, they didn't feel *at the time*?

I honestly wonder.

Andrea Harris said...

I think blogging can be more impactful than anyone imagine... and depending on how you manage it, it can be an effective and cathartic tool for personal growth, reflection, and garnering a sense of personal "community." I know plenty of bloggers who have found new friends and support systems through blogging. And kudos go out to all those positive, wonderful thing. That being said, I've also been the unwilling (and frankly utterly humiliated) subject of someone else's blog. So I would say that a good general rule about blogging (and social media in general) is that if you're going to expose specific details about someone else's story, life, or issues... they should know about it and be willing to participate. And think to yourself... if someone wrote XYZ about me, how would I feel??