The One Thing I’m Not Doing as a Blogger

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There are a lot of things I do as a blogger. Spend late nights writing when I should be sleeping, checking Facebook too often {ahem}, linking up at blog hops, networking with other bloggers and brainstorming ideas. But there’s one thing that I don’t do, and it’s a little strange, me being a blogger and all.

I don’t get personal.

What I mean is, I don’t share a whole lot about myself as a person: my private struggles, secret failures or my beliefs about hot-button topics that are likely to cause arguments. I honestly don’t know why this is, but I think it has something to do with the fact that I want to avoid controversy at all costs.

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The rise in my blood pressure that occurs when I read about something or talk with someone about a topic that we disagree on is enough for me to keep myself at arms length from the great big world. It’s much easier to write about practical topics and not insert a whole lot of personal experience into my musings.

As a Christian blogger, I want to encourage. And I realize that there are so many issues that are complex that I can’t seem to wrap my mind around and most of the time I don’t want to alienate anyone with my “judgmental opinion”. At the same time, I don’t want to seem like I know it all or have a perfect life or keep my house and family running smoothly at all times. {I’m guessing you’ve already figured out I don’t!}

Sometimes it’s just easier to stay hidden behind a computer screen. It keeps me safe. But it’s also true that people use this technological shield to say a lot of terrible things and make a lot of terrible comments. I’m not sure I’m ready for that yet {because I know it will happen, no matter how careful I try to be}.

Yet perhaps a blog grows into a community as we reveal ourselves bit by bit, sharing the journey with each other and hopefully gaining greater understanding of other opinions {while realizing we don’t always have to agree with said opinions}.

So where do I go from here? Really, readers, what should I do? Do people want to hear my personal opinions, things I’m passionate about and the struggles I face {apart from generic examples}? What makes you really connect with a blog and the people behind it? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Shared at The Better Mom, Time Warp Wife, Titus 2 Tuesdays, Women Living Well and Growing Home
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Jenn

Blogger/ Author at The Purposeful Mom
Hi, I'm Jenn! I'm happily married to my college sweetheart, mother to four wonderfully spunky children and a woman who needs a whole lot of Jesus! I spend most of my time taking care of my home and family, reading good books, blogging and dreaming up ways that I can finally have a perfectly organized home--ha!

Comments

  1. says

    Hi Jenn! I have found that when I am most genuine is when I get the most support, encouragement, and notes saying I’ve encouraged others.

    BUT, I rarely talk about controversial matters unless I feel like it’s something God really wants me to do! (I think that’s been twice!)

    It can be hard to get the yucky comments and I’d say if you aren’t ready to hear them, that’s very normal and okay! But if you decide to go for it, you’ll find the strength to handle them.

    • says

      Thanks Christy! You’re so right in that there’s a difference between being “controversial” and being “genuine”. And perhaps that’s something I need to continue to process before I make any big changes.

  2. says

    That’s a tough one for me, too. On the one hand, a writer feels more real when he/she goes beyond shallow topics. However, if you get too opinionated, there’s always a risk of losing readers.

    I recently said some things about a hot topic on my personal FB page, only after feeling very compelled to do so. I know there are some people who “avoid” me now because of it (online, on FB), but overwhelmingly, the discussion drew great support. Most importantly, there were a few women who thanked me for taking a stand and said they were inspired by it. I think the bottom line always has to be…”is God leading me to do this or is this my flesh?” You can never go wrong in being obedient to the Lord! Also, it helps to remember that Jesus made lots of people upset, but of course, that didn’t stop Him from speaking the truth in love.

    Great topic!! Glad to have joined you here from “The Better Mom” link-up. I pray for wisdom and blessings as you continue to write for Him!

    • says

      Yes…”speaking the truth in love”. I am forever reminding myself that that is how God wants us to share His truth! I think if God really compelled me to post something, I would, but I hope I can look at *how* I was saying it and not just spout things out :) Thanks so much for your thoughts.

  3. says

    Hi Jenn! I think it is so hard to find a good balance. A time or two I have felt that I have said a bit too much on my blog and have received terribly mean comments in response. I cried. Then I turned my comment setting to needing approval first! I guess that’s cheating huh. But, it hasn’t happened since because I have learned from my mistake and tried to blog the real me without going over board. I think it is a shame that people will post nasty, mean remarks as an anonymous viewer! But, I guess it helps keep me in check! I think that sharing a bit of you would be wonderful. I think I have bonded the most with fellow bloggers who do get personal from time to time, because it lets me relate to them on a person to person level. Also, I have had a really difficult pregnancy and the occasional blog post in relation to it have been met with encouragement, promise of prayers, and many well wishes that have truly strengthened me. What ever you decide- do what feels right to you!!! Your blog, your rules! That’s my motto anyway!
    http://www.sewingourlifetogether.blogspot.com
    sewingourlifetogether at gmail dot com

    • says

      Comment moderation is my best friend :) I think you’re right in that when we share a struggle as we feel led that people respond to that and give us encouragement as well! That’s been a blessing to me in the past when I’ve given little glimpses into my life. Thank you so much for sharing!

  4. says

    I think you have to follow where God leads for your blog. He has a plan for you and your online ministry, and He knows who He wants you to reach. I do get personal on my blog sometimes, when I feel led I share my struggles and triumphs in hopes of encouraging someone who might be struggling with something similar.

    However, I do try to avoid controversial topics. Occasionally, I post something that ends up being controversial when I don’t intend for it to be, but I tend to stay away from controversy and politics. It’s just not the tone I want my blog to have. And, I personally avoid blogs where every post (or most) take a controversial tone.

    • says

      Isn’t it funny what ends up being controversial? It’s usually never something I think is going to be a big deal and then it is! Encouraging others and balancing that with speaking truth and conviction is definitely something I continue to ponder.

  5. says

    What a great topic!! The balance between the two is hard to find. I agree that genuine comes first. A lot of things I blog is countervail in someway (So many people have different views on children with disabilities) but I try to make it genuine from my point of view. I love some of the points that you and the fallow commenters made!

    Candice
    http://www.lillythroughthevalley.blogspot.com

    • says

      Thanks for your thoughts! It’s amazing how people can see the same thing in totally different ways!

  6. says

    Getting personal can be a scary thing. You put yourself out there to be condemned, judged, and criticized. But…you also find connection with others in the most unexpected places; camaraderie with those who struggle in the same way, or who have experienced the same guilt, the same pain. I have questioned at times whether or not I get too personal, but then I receive a comment saying, “Thank you for sharing this and letting me know that I am not alone…” For me it has been a great risk worth taking.

    • says

      Thank you, Cheryl, for sharing that with me. It can definitely work for good to share something personal when it brings glory to God!

    • says

      I know you’ve struggled with hateful comments in the past, I’m so sorry that this happens. Committing it to prayer is definitely important.

  7. says

    It can be a difficult balance to maintain. I was a bit personal at the beginning, and then moved away from being personal, and now I’m going back again, though in a different way. For example, I don’t talk about my husband and my marriage on my blog. I talk a little about parenting in ways that I think other moms can identify with. After a bad experience this summer, I don’t talk about extended family unless it’s in a positive manner.

    I’m getting ready to share my struggles on my cooking blog as we transition to a more Paleo/Nourished Traditions type of diet as part of the October #Unprocessed challenge. Since I’m looking to understand how moms like me do this, I think sharing my struggles will help another mom.

    • says

      Good point in that there are maybe certain topics to never cover. For me, I think that would be discipline, except for some very general things, as people have wildly different opinions that can get very controversial!

  8. says

    When I blog, I try to be honest about myself. Some of my greatest lessons come from my own shortcomings. I don’t want to portray myself as “having it all together” because that’s far from the truth. I think honesty makes us relatable. That being said, I do steer away from some controversial topics if all I have is my opinion. I do my best to stick with God’s truth, though I must admit that even there I sometimes will steer away from controversy.

    • says

      That’s exactly it, Lisa! Not wanting to look perfect but to be cautious in what we share.

  9. says

    I agree with others who’ve noted the difference in being genuine and being controversial. However, I do think there needs to be a balance in what all we share about ourselves. Some things are just meant to be private or discussed with “real life” friends. Sometimes I feel like we “save the good stuff” for the blog when really we should be using it to connect with other people we know IRL.

    • says

      There are most definitely things to stay away from, revealing things that should only be discussed with people we really know, unless it’s a true conviction from the Lord that it will help others to share it. Thank you for that reminder!

  10. says

    I found you at Titus Tuesday :)

    In regards to your question, I rarely read blogs if there is no personality coming through. At the same time though, if the blogger is just venting every day, I won’t read her blog either.

    Being genuine and true is key. Many times when I start writing I discover that I am sharing what God wants ME to know.

    As far as controversy goes… A lot of what I firmly believe in would be controversial, so I am careful there. I would never want to be a stumbling block to a young Christian. As far as the “hate” comments, they don’t bother me (I’ve only gotten a few so far) but I usually check out their website if they have one, and then pray before responding. If it’s anonymous, easy fix, just trash it.

    If you can share hope and encouragement through your struggles, then definitely share. It may be just what someone needs to hear.

    • says

      Thanks for your helpful thoughts! There is definitely a balance between sharing one’s heart and just spouting things off. I feel like I see that a lot, and I don’t want to become that type of blogger. It is incredibly true that, like you, I don’t want to be a stumbling block. I’ve been thinking much about that lately in regards to other posts I’ve seen.

      I’ve shared some semi-personal things before, but mostly having to do with things I’ve learned in my devotions. I’m sort-of dipping my toe in and I figure if I’m sharing from the Word, it’s profitable for someone (hopefully)!

  11. says

    This is such a great thought. It’s hard finding that balance. From the beginning of my “blogging career” I have felt God’s calling for me to be fully transparent. I think some of that calling has to do with the need for refinement in the area of pride and self righteousness. The journey hasn’t always been easy, but I have found that sometimes, and I hate to admit it, the nasty commenter is right (regardless of how they tell me!). And when they are? We get the AWESOME opportunity to respond graciously and with love because we can see beyond the issue at hand to a spiritual war going on around us. On the other hand, when they are blasphemes and disrespectful, we (rather I, this is what the Lord is teaching me) can turn the other cheek. It is one of the hardest, yet most profound refinements I have ever walked through. With all of that said, I’m not a controversial blog, and I rarely hop on the latest trend blog post, or whatever it is…but there are topics that I think need to be addressed, and God has not let me rest until I speak up. I think we need more Christian women speaking up, not as ones who have it all figured out, but as broken, humble recipients of amazing grace. I think you can share your opinion with humility, grace, and a heart to serve your readers as opposed to simply wanting to speak your opinion. So I say, go for it. :)

  12. says

    I enjoy and am very touched by reading other blogger’s real life stuff. Maybe that is because I find I am able to be incredibly honest in my own blog…. The beauty of it is that you can say things knowing you never have to actually sit face to face with the people who are reading it. I like that kind of relationship. I encourage you to write honestly, passionately and fearlessly. WE want to read it!

  13. says

    Jenn- Just reading through your comments, I think you are realizing what a balance it is… sharing who you are- being honest and “real”, yet not using our online voice to vent and complain. It’s so important that what we type is honoring to God and hopefully building others up in the process. SO tricky, as I too have received unkind comments and emails. Yet, at times, that’s the enemy doing his work. How thankful I am that God is greater! Praying that you find that balance.
    Jessica

  14. says

    I don’t think you have to be overly personal. I am a New Englander–enough said. I tend not to like it when bloggers let it all hang out. Put it back away, I think. :) So your readers will appreciate your own style. Don’t try to be someone you are not. :) love this .

  15. says

    The blogs I follow are those who aren’t afraid to reveal themselves, the things they struggle with, fear, worry about. Being real affords the opportunity for people to relate, realize they aren’t the only ones out there feeling the way they do. I think you can be personable with love as the core of why you share yourself with others. Being judgmental isn’t loving, so I tend to steer away from those blogs. Nice to meet you through WLWW.

  16. says

    interesting post! we are similar in wanting to avoid controversies. I too keep quiet on most controversial topics, because I don’t want to argue, and because as a fairly small blogger I don’t think some one is going to read my blog and have their mind changed about something they believe strongly in. I just don’t see the point in pushing those “hot buttons” if I’m not going to be changing any one’s mind. I don’t want to get every one (myself included) riled up for no reason.

    I do however share many of my personal struggles. Not controversial ones, and I do keep a good amount to myself, but I am always personally encouraged when I hear about other people’s hard times. It encourages me that I’m not the only one struggling, and sometimes I can learn from them because differently people view situations differently. I try to write these posts in an encouraging manner, while still maintaining a good amount of transparency. and I only share struggles/stories that I think have the potential to help/encourage some one else.

    I would use caution though, I have gotten a very judgmental comment on one such post, and there was a time that such words would have hurt me deeply. I don’t suggest sharing such things unless you feel like a few judgmental people wouldn’t hurt you or get you down..

    just my thoughts :)

    This is a link to a more “personal” on going series I have on my blog called “confessions of an imperfect mother” in case you want to get an idea of what I mean. I know we have interacted before though so you may have already read these posts just sharing in case you have not and would be interested.

    http://hopefulfuture.blogspot.com/2012/03/confessions-of-imperfect-mother-pt-1.html

  17. says

    I know this is old, but I think that as long as you speak your mind with love, than its up to the reader to decide to agree or not. I know some people can’t help but to start conflict through comments, but you don’t need to get caught up with all the back and forth once you’ve stated your case. I’m like rex (the dinosaur) on Toy Story…”I don’t like confrontation!”, so it’s easier for me to say. When my blog goes live, than I might change my tune. :)