What I write is based from personal experience and events that occur in my life. To some degree, this is the true for every writer.
Personal stories and experiences are the bread and butter of the blog-sphere. If you have read some of my blogs, or the blogs of others, you have seen the personal spirit, tribulations and triumphs expressed in pixel form. There is a grey area and fine line that can be crossed where the personal can become more.
Blogging that harms the people in one’s own life is the rank sign of an amateur.
I’ve done this, and am the first to stand up and take responsibility. I’ve lost a couple of friends, shamed people I love, and created an image that I’m not proud of. Taking a brief hiatus from writing has given me some perspective on what separates an amateur blogger from somebody who wishes to offer more.
In fact, every trait I will list is something I’ve done. I do not consider myself an expert blogger. The learning curve I’ve been through has been enlightening and perhaps in communicating my experience, somebody else may learn and benefit from my trials and errors.
1. Writing about personal experiences and making it personal.
There is nothing so hurtful as having something personal shared with community. In person, gossip and perspectives can cause a lot of harm. On the internet, communicating the faults and hurts others have inflicted upon oneself has more to do with retaliation than sharing a helpful story.
Even when writing and not giving a name, the people who are shared in the story know that it’s about them. Close friends and family can probably figure it out without too much effort. And while the world at large will never know who or what the topic was about, the people who matter do.
They will feel shamed, hurt and will not appreciate your writing savvy.
2. Blogging as therapy.
Everyone knows that writing is a stellar tool for healing. Communicating the tribulations and fulfillment of the journey can benefit people around the globe. Writing every little emotional detail only reveals the depths of pain a person is in, the amount of work left to do and the possibility of the need for real counseling.
Professional writers utilize life experience to vivify their story and connect to people who understand the message. Such writers can communicate with passion, and share details that only a survivor or person who has “been there” can express. Rest assured, they aren’t blindly raging in their articles or pontificating about personal belief structures.
Keep therapy personal and private, it accelerates the healing process. Upon completion of the healing cycle the stories will be far more fascinating and helpful.
3. Over-generalization and stereotyping.
This pit-fall is one of the most challenging areas. Each human grows up with perspectives that are stereotypical. The tendency to generalize people, traits, or information is simple to do. The error of this is that this is the internet; someone will have ruffled feathers.
While it is impossible to please every person on the internet, as a writer it is within the realm of personal ability to communicate in ways that by-pass stereotypes. Certain issues are sensitive for people, and to say that such a type of person or gender is always some particular way will not only offend the reader, it makes a person flat out look like an ass.
I’ve been that person, though never intentionally. I believe most writers are not deliberate in their expressiveness, merely unaware of the impact of language and the influence it can have on readers and the community at large.
It is my hope that the errors of my way can aid other bloggers.
What we have to share is valuable.
My guru once said to me, “Do not raise a person’s resistance. Once their resistance is awakened, then the original challenge of understanding is further complicated because they are defensive.”
In the world of blogging, thinking before writing can keep doors open because the reader simply is not offended and does not shut the door.
Thoughtful blogging can save friendships and protect the dignity of family, friends and loved ones.
I’ve made these errors and have had to be responsible for my foibles.
Perhaps in sharing them, others will avoid them.
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Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Mike Licht/Flickr