Wednesday, 12 June 2013

A6: S3 - To Blog & Not To Blog

As a writer, I have never felt torn between whether or not I should write something.

If it moves me enough to make me want to write about it, then just give me a pen and notepad and I'll be lost for hours.

As a blogger though, there is an entirely new set of rules it seems.

Rules which, until recently, where completely unbeknownst to me.

I guess there are the obvious examples, ie you probably wouldn't blog about how gross your bogies were today or how great it is to steal things and commit bloody murder, but when it comes down to the finer details, where do you have to draw the line between what you want to write, and what you shouldn't write about?

Because it seems there is one fundamental difference between a writer and a blogger; responsibility.



Recently I found myself in a very negative place due to one of my blog posts, which has since been removed.

It was very unexpected and I was quite taken aback, as the post had not been written with malice, negative intentions or in any exploitative manner. The post did deal with a sensitive issue, but in my eyes, the post was part of the ongoing dual narrative tale which this blog weaves, one half re-telling real life events which have happened to me, and the other half illustrating what it made me realise, and the profound meaning can be derived from it.

But this was not the way it was received by some.

It didn't take long before I had an onslaught of hate about the post, which, to me, seemed completely out of the blue. At first I ignored it, 'Haters gonna hate' and all that baloney. But then I started to really doubt myself. Had I really done the right thing here? Was that a mistake to write about?

I asked my friends and they agreed with me that despite the delicate content, I had handled it with professionalism and tact. My family, however, disagreed, and advised me to remove it as soon as possible. I was shocked. I checked and double checked what I'd written. There was nothing horrible, nothing offensive, derogatory or exploitative.

This blog, as my friend encapsulated for me the other day, is a "Path of self-discovery from vanity to enlightenment, documenting the transition that everyone must go through as they grow up." This means I am young, I make mistakes, and I learn from them. This also means that if something monumental happens to me along this path, then I feel compelled to document it.

The post was about an unbelievably powerful and pivotal moment from my past; a time I had a very profound and eye-opening conversation with a stranger that I'd volunteered to look after, after a failed suicide attempt.

I was fully aware of the delicacy of the subject matter, but I provided utmost protection for the individual involved, told no details about them, what they looked like, or the secrets they told me.

What I relayed were the truthful events of something which happened that was an earth-shattering insight into reality, and the way it changed my way of thinking. It was not an excuse to blab someone else's deepest darkest secrets. For someone as caught up in a day-dream world of delusions as I, this was like a sledge-hammer of truth and sincerity that showed the reality of the human condition. The likes of which I haven't seen in a long time.

As is everyone so caught up in their own dramas, troubles and thoughts, sometimes it's borderline impossible to believe that thoughts of such depth and complexity can run through other people's minds too. So when something like this happens, it shatters every illusion that you have previously come to conclude upon, and completely destroys the selfish notion that you, as one, are solely conscious and vital, and you are forced , quite suddenly, to realise that other people are important too.

I'm an insufferable optimist, and what I experienced that night made me realise things which have taught me a valuable lesson about the importance of other people, a lesson that I wanted to share with more 'other people.'

Life, love and death and the sole importance of the single individual are forever the greatest ponderances of my mind, and that is why I wrote the post.

Life, and certainly not mine, is not all peaches and cream, and I believe the only irresponsibility of mine as a writer with an eager audience, is to present it as if it was.


But suddenly came an onslaught of insults like arrows raining down on my from the sky, saying I was'disgusting', 'disrespectful', 'exploitative' and 'cruel'. It made me feel physically sick to my stomach, because I could never even imagine bringing myself to be like that. I'd saved a strangers life and now I was 'immoral' and 'disgusting'?

On the other hand I can see how, without reading the post, it may seem the case. I could see the argument that was being put against me, but anyone who'd read any of my other posts or knew me at all would surely know that I would never exploit someone else's misery for my own gain?

But that's when I realised.

The people who read my blog, the majority don't know me.

They've never met me or hung out with me, so how could they ever try and work out my intentions?

All they know of me is what I chose to post on this blog. (Which is, albeit, quite a damn lot about me.) And the thought of coming off like the person people were claiming me to be, upset me to the core.

So I removed the post.

*


Another facet of this, is I hate it when someone knows I'm going to blog about them.

I find that it makes me alter what I truly want to say, and hold back on some parts, not revealing the full truth.

The anonymity thing started with the 'Tales of Mr X'. I changed his name to Mr X because I couldn't think of anything worse than him googling himself and finding out what I had written. Since then, I have changed everyone's names.

Why?

Because it was untruthful? Not at all. Because it was quite cringey? Partly. Because I didn't really want him to know exactly what was running through my head at the time? Bingo.

The absolute honesty with which I construct my thought process in the re-telling of events makes it embarrassing for me to know that the people who the stories are about, are reading them.

For example, I wanted to write a post just now, but I don't feel like I can write it for fear of the person who it's about coming across it and reading it, and I don't really want them to know exactly how I feel about them.

Why?

....Because honesty is vulnerability.

And recognising that, made me not only reassess myself as a writer, but also as a person.

*
One of the comments I get, not always in a bad way, is that I exaggerate a lot. I'll hold my hand to my heart and say yes, perhaps I am prone to the occasional exaggeration. But I have never ever fabricated stories, made-up people, conversations or situations or lied about anything. So what if sometimes I write 'The golden sunlight dappled through the oak-leaves casting a green-tinted glow across the snowy underside of her palm' instead of 'it was sunny and the sun shone on her hand.'? I'm a writer dammit! I am a creator, a curator of imagination, and I'll be damned if anyone would bother to read anything if all stories were like the latter.

I am a writer and I write the mind alive.

But I am a blogger too, and from here onward, as my blog grows, I have to recognise the responsibility I now have, otherwise I could end up making a catastrophic mistake.

The fundamental difference between a writer and a blogger is the active audience, and hand in hand, the responsibility that comes with it. Your reputation is based entirely on the words you construct, and with an increased audience comes an increase in the propensity for backlash.

I said I'd written about this stuff before and there had been no reaction, and this is probably because no-one saw it enough to care about it. But now, don't get me wrong, I am very grateful I have an audience, but if I wish to continue to write with the same freedom and sincerity then I am fool to think I can go about it unpersecuted.

As your blog and audience grows, so will your responsibility, and so must grow the thickness of your skin.

Scarlet-Ophelia.


41 comments :

  1. sometimes, you just have to write something even if it offends. I see no problem in posting whatever you want. if people don't like what you wrote, I don't know why they're reading it. they can easily close the screen or go read some other people's blog.

    for those who are turn off by your writing, I say ignore them. but if you really feel bad about getting all those unkind comments, I suggest getting a private blog.

    hope you have a sweet day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's what I said to the main aggressor,if you don't like it, then nothing is forcing you to read, and this is what my blog *is*!

      I think it's just a growing process, I'd never want to make my blog private as I want to share this all with people, I just need to learn to have a tougher skin and take criticism in a constructive but lighter manner :)

      Hope you're all good!

      Delete
  2. I like this post - I'm the kind of person who wears my heart on my sleeve and the way I see it is that every new person is a new friend until they prove themselves to be something else... I realise though that many of the people that are involved in my life aren't the same as me though, and that's where the trouble begins!

    The blogs I have read for the longest and love the hardest are the ones where the writers are honest and allow you to share more than just the motions of their day. You're right though - honesty is vulnerability. There will always be trolls, but it's eas(ier) to ignore them if they're just targeting you for being you.

    It's a different kettle of fish when you're in trouble for writing about your experience when it concerns another person. Other people's privacy is a fiddly thing, and I have to remind myself to guard it more fiercely than I guard my own privacy. Because when you're honest about them, you make them vulnerable.

    It's a tough path to negotiate. Don't stress about it though - your concern for judging that particular post incorrectly is a sign that you're a good and conscientious person.

    Flora
    www.twowithseven.blogspot.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with absolutely everything you've said here!

      I tried and retain the optimal agree of not only honesty and sincerity but also security and anonymity for those I blog about... I guess the lines become blurred and morality quite difficult to determine when it is someone else's story I'm writing about, which only minimally interacts with my own...

      But thank you so much, your comment has reassured me a lot. :)

      Have a nice day x

      Delete
  3. dont worry about it katie it is your job to write rember that

    ReplyDelete
  4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67ZrQO2lV5Y enjoy katie for you please watch and listen



    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9a4W2FZnpc

    ReplyDelete
  5. Blogging is a tricky dance, indeed. Do I lay it out on the line and get vulnerable? Do I risk controversy? Do I play it safe? The truth is, if you're not trying to make money off your blog, the rules dont't apply to you, really. Live by your own rules and moral compass and if people disagree with you, let them. They're entitled to...and others entitled to stand behind your work.

    xoxo,

    Jules of Canines & Couture
    www.caninesandcouture.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. What a great post about blogging. I am NOT a writer like you are but as a "self proclaimed news reporter" this does remind me to look at my own blog site and remember that certain subjects need to be seen from all angles before reporting about them.

    ReplyDelete
  7. As a writer myself (though outside of blogging), I have come to realize that it can very difficult sometimes to distinguish whether something is a truth worth expressing, or if it will stir up too much controversy and create too many negative responses.

    In the end, all you can really give is your own truth and perception of the world (even through sharing the experiences of others) and people who read your truth may not like what they hear.

    You are right in that they are not getting a full picture of you- they cannot take one single piece of writing and make an accurate decision about who you really are- or all pieces of writing you may have ever written, for that matter.

    Stay true to yourself, and ignore the petty comments of others.

    -Camille

    www.sparkandfizzle.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your comment really struck a chord with me, you're so right!

      "In the end, all you can really give is your own truth and perception of the world (even through sharing the experiences of others) and people who read your truth may not like what they hear."

      My whole purpose of this blog is to give my view on life, love and the world, and I think it would be wrong to miss out such fundamental lessons, even if they are negative. All I can do is to protect those involved, which I did.

      It might not be my story to tell, but I was inexplicably interwined into the story, and I feel the lessons it taught me, were life lessons worth sharing.

      Thank you for your comment :)

      Delete
  8. Great post! I see nothing wrong with writing such an insightful post. As a non writer and still finding my "blogging feet", I feel your own blog is there to do as you will; so long as it does not intentionally offend. For all those that dislike something, others will love! :)
    http://lifeinsidethelocket.blogspot.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  9. wow I didn't read the blog post you deleted, but in no doubt in my mind I can say you probably dealt with the topic professional and honestly and that's what any reader should wish for, lovely post and lovely blog as well; you have an amazing style of writing x x

    http://500daysofchloe.blogspot.co.uk/

    ReplyDelete
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  11. "One of the comments I get, not always in a bad way, is that I exaggerate a lot."

    I struggle with this so much. I don't think it's exactly that I exaggerate per say, but that I am trying to express how something makes me feel and the only way to do that seems like exaggeration to others. I read something to my friends once, something I wrote while traveling and they looked at me with shock and said, "but that never happened!" and I was dumb-founded, because I swear it did. Did they just forget because it didn't matter in their stories or did I make it up in my imagination? I still have no idea. But it left me questioning my writing until quite recently when I said "fuck it," I write what I want to write. And I appreciate that you do too!

    ReplyDelete
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