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Blogging’s emotional obstacles

At yesterday’s Galactic Bonus Homebrew Website Club, I appreciated hearing others’ perspectives and approaches to managing some emotional aspects of blogging.


We discussed overcoming perfectionism on our websites and in our blogging — a pernicious, perpetual challenge for creative expression. I’ve had some success tricking my mind to be less precious about writing shorter, less formal content: this entire mind garden is meant to be a ‘first stop’ for thinking; I created a category called “ponderings” to encourage myself to post little thoughts and curiosities; and in the course of composing a post, if I’m having trouble harnessing my thoughts, I’ll start with a framework of bullet points.

Deciding what to share

Assessing the risk of publishing

Several of us wavered on how much personal material to post on our blogs and websites. Jeremy reminded us that we needn’t publish everything we write; indeed I’ve been doing this frequently of late. Yet we can also remember that in our reverse chronological dominated world, anything we post will also get pushed down the feed and off the ‘front page’ relatively quickly. I suspect I’ve carried over the fear of saying the wrong thing or being taken out of context from social media and projected it to all online publishing, including my own blog. (This is another facet of my perfectionism: being afraid of making mistakes or looking stupid. Working on it.)

Posting with less exposure

We discussed approaches that might enable posting without broadcasting, like requiring login to access, leaving the post unlisted / omitting from your RSS feed, or posting it only to the RSS feed (I’ve seen someone call this “RSS club”).

Being part of the cultural and political conversation

Lately I’ve erred on the side of keeping things to myself because in the past I’ve regretted oversharing, but I feel I might be holding back too much, particularly opinions about politics. Scrolling through my TBR list after the meeting, an Audre Lorde title I’d saved called “Your Silence Will Not Protect You” jumped out at me. Not engaging in controversial conversations won’t save me from the impacts of their outcomes; writing can be one way I participate in building the future I want. This is why I’ve been writing about abortion and birth control more recently, although it sometimes feels uncomfortable (after all, our culture is squeamish about sex).

Practicing openness

Following the meeting, James published a personal blog post that reminded me of the value of vulnerability in relationships. There is some relationship between writer and reader in blogging, even if it’s chiefly one-directional besides the occasional comment. The trick is finding the sweet spot of vulnerability for a general, unknown audience. I enjoy reading about other bloggers’ and writers’ personal lives and have benefited from others sharing about their challenges, like mental health; I also want to be able to be known as a person from my writing and pay it forward if sharing my experiences can help others. At the meeting, we discussed what we look for when exploring a new personal website: personality and signs of humanity and connection arose.

I have a few hard rules of things I won’t post online, but I generally want to maintain a sense of freedom that I can be myself in this space, and write about whatever I want. It’s an ongoing practice to choose how much to disclose about myself, how strong of a stance I feel comfortable taking, and what I think is worth responding to. My politics are impossible to conceal, but I can choose which other aspects of my identity and personal life to share online.


Also posted on IndieNews

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at She/her.

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