Thursday, November 19, 2009

Open Mouth, Insert foot

A few weeks ago a blogger got up on a soapbox and blasted a group of people that make up roughly half the country. I stopped following her blog. I agreed with her overall point, but the angry tone bothered me, and I thought she was misrepresenting the opposite side.
I've read some authors' blogs that seem to effortlessly combine personal and professional, and I'm trying to do that. I know enough not to get into politics, potty training, and  religion...but really? What if the politicians are debating a potty training bill and I have some religious objections? How can I not blog about that?

So, I've been thinking about blog content and what my personal rules are.

Why blog?

We all want to be understood and writing is a way to express yourself (and my preferred venue). Plus there's something nice about someone leaving a comment.

A lot of readers develop a friendly mindset towards 'their' authors and like to get to know them better. It helped me to be a better mom/writer when I read Shannon Hale's blog. We can encourage each other.
But I wish I hadn't sought out info on a few writers, just like it bothers me to know too much about some actors/actresses. It kills the magic when someone gets arrested doing something icky, for instance.

Does there have to be a general match between your blog tone and your books?

I think that happens naturally- the things that interest you enough to put in a book are probably the same things you blog about.

But I have avoided talking about religion here because it is not 'professional'. But this is about writing, and I write around religious topics. My characters are not perfect, some believe in God some don't-much like the people I know in real life. Is my self-imposed taboo on religion misplaced? I'm still thinking about that. It's such a personal part of me- one I like to talk about, but only if I'm sure the other party is interested.

How much is too much?

I don't generally have impulses to whine on the blog about other people, but it's important to remember that the internet is forever. I NEVER write anything that I would not want my husband, my mother, or my church friends to read. Even down to the books I review.

And I have a few long-standing conversational rules that I try to apply- never make it all about yourself, ask questions, don't complain, don't say anything about someone that you wouldn't say to their face, and do what you can to help others be happy.

I try to remember that it's a 'blog', not a 'bdiary', and I have a special notebook to write my personal thoughts in. And I don't share that I burned dinner (unless I was writing when I smelled the smoke), dentist appointments (except here), or that my kids call Burger King 'King Booger'. That's on my family blog. Just because I can type it doesn't mean that everybody wants to read it.

What are your guidelines? Do you lean towards personal or professional?


  1. I think it depends on the purpose of your blog.

    I mix a bit of personal with mine, but not too much. If it's something that I'll talk about at a dinner party with strangers, then I'll put it in.

    I read this one blogger's rampage some months ago and I just kept thinking how she was digging a grave for herself. It got attention from the blogosphere, but the wrong kind. I just felt sorry for her.

  2. StephanieD- so you know what I'm talking about:) I didn't feel sorry for this lady- that's a nicer response than my "What a jerk!"

    I think part of the fun of this blog is that I don't already know everyone that reads it. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Tell me more about this potty training legislation. I'm generally not in favor of government getting involved in my home life, but if they want to take over the potty training, I'd gladly pay extra taxes for it : )