I had a revelation yesterday as I was writing an Ask Moxie blog post. In
the post, I was using a personal example of something that had happened
between [redacted] and I. My first draft had a fairly explicit detailing of
what transpired between [redacted] and I last weekend when we hit the sheets. When I finished the
post and was re-reading it, I got to that part and wondered aloud, "Why
would I want ANYBODY to know that?! Why would I publicly discuss
something like that???"
That was something new for me. Also new was a new found interest
(and ability) I've developed in writing in the third person and/or
writing about something where I didn't infuse my own POV or opinion.
There's a comfort in keeping your private opinions and thoughts to
yourself. Less chance of projectile bitterness or anger. Certainly less
criticism. Which isn't to say I can't handle criticism. I can. but 75%
of the criticism I'd get from posts wasn't objective or constructive.
It was just hateful and mean spirited and personalized. I guess I've
finally gotten to that point where I've begun to think, "Why should I
subject myself to that?"
I've received a number of e-mails and Tweets from other dating
bloggers in the last couple weeks, all telling me their own Don't Date
& Blog stories. And all of them finally noticed the correlation
between sharing every private detail and thought and guys not calling
them back.Huh. Imagine that.
In the beginning, and I know I thought this way, dating bloggers
think they are somehow compromising who they "really' are by not revealing everything or self-censoring. That's
false. Who we really are can not be encapsulated in a series of blog
posts. Blogs are a one dimensional representation of us. So, really,
you're not compromising anything by keeping certain details private.
But we'll tell ourselves we are just to justify what can only be
described as an exercise in narcissism.
Warts and all. I never liked that phrase so many bloggers
used when they'd come under fire from angry commenters. "I'm putting
myself out here and being honest, revealing everything - warts and all.
It takes balls to do that."
Yeah, it does take balls. It also takes an absolute lack of
consciousness and understanding of certain realities. Realities
like..some people just suck. And...not everyone is going to like you.
And my personal favorite...maybe you really are a self-important,
undeservedly self-righteous, self-involved to the point of being
incapable of seeing anything from anyone else's POV trainwreck of epic
proportions. And remember, you make these public declarations public by
choice. You choose to put yourself in front of a firing squad. So no
crying about mean comments. Can't stand the heat? Get out of the blog.
You are not proving your strength by fighting back. You're showing your
We reveal so much about ourselves without even realizing it. Our
need for attention, our fears, our shortcomings. To think that people
do not see through us is naive, even in this one dimensional way we
strip down. Bravado is easily sniffed out. No, you're really not okay
with what ever insecurity you're struggling with. If you were you wouldn't feel such a need to be
understood. Nor would you need to convince everyone you have an active
social calendar and filled to the brim dance card.
I'm asked by so many people how to write a successful blog.
(Wow..take a moment to soak in that sense of self-importance from me.
Got it? Good.) My answer is this:
Why do you write? Do you write because you think nobody is watching
and nobody truly cares enough and you just want to put your thoughts
down somewhere so you can track your own progress? Then remove the
comment function and keep writing and don't change a thing. Just
remember....regardless of whether you use a pseudonym or not, nothing
is actually private. You'd be surprised what people can piece together
with details you considered innocuous.
Do you write because you want to connect with others and share
stories? Then authenticity is key. Remember, bravado is easily
recognized. Our readers and commenters are what keep us honest. So if
people begin to tell you things about yourself, and you hear them often
enough, then listen. Our readers have something we don't..objectivity.
If you want to develop a following, then you need to be engaging and,
to some degree, accessible. Be prepared for what that brings. People
will become invested in you and identify with you. That's a double
edged sword, depending on what about you they identify with. Do something that disappoints them or say something that strikes a nerve and they will turn on you on a dime.
Do you blog because you want to be a writer? Then learn, very
quickly, the difference between "writer" and "ego centric blogger." A
writer can write objectively and not feel compelled to inject
themselves or their opinions into a story. An ego centric blogger,
well, can't. And don't kid yourself by believing that writing about
dating and "sex" is glamorous. It's not. Men will want to date us
because they think we're either easy, desperate or just a freak in bed.
One, two, three dates...maybe even a few months of dating...and they're
out. So don't throw around casually that you "write about sex and
dating" until you know a guy is interested in you for you. Finally,
when people jokingly refer to you as Carrie Bradshaw...that's not a
You can learn a lot about yourself by blogging and sharing your
experiences. Just make sure you want to hear it. If you don't, then I'd
suggest finding a good ol' fashioned Diary and putting your thoughts
and opinions there.
Make no mistake... I've gone through every stage mentioned in the
above passages. I wouldn't trade any of the experiences I've had from
the past five years. But there are stages to this little hobby called
dating blogging. We love the idea of people going on a journey with us,
then we feel drained by all the extra baggage we end up carrying around
because of it.
That's when we learn to take what we need and leave the rest.
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