Monday, March 05, 2012

Is Honesty the Best Policy?

I recently read a blog post on Writing Honestly on the Daily Post at that struck me in a vulnerable spot. Erica V. wrote,

"I often feel a lot of anxiety before publishing a post. Why?... I worry about my tone, whether or not what I'm saying could be misunderstood, and if I will offend anyone. It's embarrassing to admit that I can feel that self-conscious when writing, but it's true… Do you ever feel like you're holding yourself back?"

I often think twice before posting most of my blogs, because I reveal a lot about myself over the course of them. Some blogs I've completely scrapped. Not because I have a problem sharing – I'm more likely to open my mouth than to shut it! – but because I fear the reader either couldn't care less, or would judge me for those open, honest moments.

I know I'm not perfect. Anyone reading my blogs for any length of time knows I am moody, picky, uptight, perfectionistic, and pessimistic… on a good day. :P But I like to think all that is countered by the good I try to do for those around me, my commitment to my responsibilities and my belief in love. But you never can tell how others see you.

I've found a similar fear of judgment in my resume clients. They often come to a professional writer because they have difficulty articulating their talents and experience. Many also fear readers will think they're bragging or boasting, rather than simply stating their accomplishments. That's a hard thing to overcome.

The same can be true for my fiction writing. I second-guess myself there too, but I'm getting better about trusting my instincts, setting aside the worry over what others will think and just listening to what my characters are saying to me.

Now I need to learn to do the same for myself with non-fiction.

Have you ever tried to write something about yourself for public viewing, or even just for one special person to see? Was it hard or easy for you to Write Honestly?



Playground Monitor said...

I still remember you helping me with my resume last year. My last job was in 1996. But you put a spit-shine on my resume and told me to sell myself. It was uncomfortable for me but it worked.

I think we all worry about what we put on our blogs. I know I do. Will it seem silly or insignificant? Will it look like I'm bragging? Will anyone even read it? There are so many blogs today you feel like you're competing for a marketshare just like tv shows.

I guess all you can do is the best you can do. That's what I do.

Andrea Laurence AKA Smarty Pants said...

I don't normally have an issue with writing honestly. I usually read over it to make sure there isn't something inadvertantly offensive, rude or tacky. But I don't have trouble sharing. If people don't like what I have to say, they're in a free country and don't have to read it.

I second-guess myself mostly in chapters 6-8. That's the point where I'm a hack and my career is destroyed. Guess what chapter I'm on right now? :)

Cheryl C. said...

I'm with Andrea - if you don't want to read it, then don't. I have no problems with writing about myself. I am such a mess, it has to be funny. I do, like PM, worry if it is silly or insignificant. But, we all still try.

Angel said...

I think that's the thing I worry about -- that what's important to me seems silly or insignificant to other people and they'll just stop reading. I know I'm a mess. :) But then, I've always worried about how I present myself in real life, so this shouldn't be anything new, right?

Roanne King said...

Yes, I have! It just happened today after posting about self-control. I started thinking about how I had worded this or that point, the examples I used and if anyone I know who fit the profile would take offense! Ultimately, the post was written to me more than "to" anyone else. Had I exercised self-control in posting it? Should I start typing my posts a week in advance, saving them as drafts and revising them once the main inspiration has settled long enough to see what I wrote clearly? Often my intent is to inspire and encourage. But I wonder if most of the time my readers feel more discouraged than anything else.