I just put the linked post up at my website, lightsinthedarkness.net. Please go check it out!
This is the kind of post I hate writing. You know the one – the “Oh, crap, I haven’t written anything in a while, so I guess I had better come up with something so people don’t forget who I am” post. Funny, I never notice really successful bloggers having to write things like this. I, on the other hand, seem to have to do it every few weeks or so, which leads me to one very obvious conclusion…
I’m not doing this right.
It’s usually at about this point I would start going on about the difficulties of writing or the busyness of life or the struggle to figure out the purpose of having a blog in the first place. I don’t think I’m going to do that this time. Fact is, I’ve realized (with the help of others) that I’m sort of lazy sometimes. Or I’m deathly afraid of failure. Or maybe a combination of the two.
At any rate, I don’t dedicate myself to writing like I should.
Feels good to get that out of the way. Now, time to start thinking about the next post…
Well, it finally happened last week: I became a narcissist.
I’m not sure if it happened all at once or just gradually crept in over time. I’ve never thought of myself as a self-occupied kind of person. As I sat at my keyboard last Monday night, though, I realized I was three-quarters of the way into a blog post that had no real reason to exist other than to get people to visit the site you’re on right now (Isn’t it ironic? Don’t ya think?).
I wanted to think I was just following up a post I thought was pretty good from the day before (which can be found here, wink, wink). You know, generating traffic, building readership, providing enlightenment for the masses, etc., etc. After struggling through a few paragraphs, though, it became clear to me I was uncovering another uncomfortable truth about myself…
I really, really want you to like me.
When I first hopped on the Facebook bandwagon a few years ago, I was racking up “friends” like you wouldn’t believe. I mean, if you and I had even exchanged glances at the local Walmart, you were getting a request to add me. Even before the days of social media, though, I craved the praise of others. The internet has just sped up my journey toward being completely self-absorbed.
I’m making some of these statements tongue-in-cheek, but there is an element of truth to them as well. I’ve noticed lately I’ve been keeping a closer eye on my “likes” and checking in on the WordPress dashboard every morning to see how tall those little blue bars are. I still don’t get Twitter, but I always get a good feeling when someone acknowledges one of my tweets somehow. Sometimes it’s as if I’m building my own little cult of personality … and that is not a good thing.
I’ve noticed something else lately, too: Many of my social media friends seem to be posting less and less these days. They’re not talking so much about how they went to the grocery store or taking so many pictures of the food they’re eating or shouting as much about political matters. This kind of made me sad for a while, but then it hit me that maybe they all were starting to feel the same way I did Monday night. Maybe we were all getting tired of talking about ourselves.
So my lesson learned here is there is a fine line between self-promotion and just blatantly grabbing for attention. I dislike the idea of this space becoming my barometer for how popular I am or how well I write. I want to contribute something or help someone or make people think about things in a different way. That might sound too lofty for a little ol’ blog on the internet, but it’s the truth. Positive affirmation is great, but it doesn’t need to be the sole goal.
If you’d like to comment on any of this, though, I’m sure I’ll be checking WordPress every few minutes or so today to see how many views this post has gotten. At least I’ll be able to respond to you fairly quickly…
Honesty can kill/Honesty can heal – King’s X, “Honesty”
I wrote a really great post last night. It was honest and heartfelt, confessional and timely, and it touched on some issues I think we all struggle with at one time or another. It was probably one of the better posts I’ve written in quite some time.
So why am I afraid to publish it then?
In this particular post, I confessed to harboring some bitterness toward some people. The whole point of what I had written was to point out how I was wrong to be doing that. Unfortunately, it was difficult to express why I was holding on to that bitterness without mentioning the offending party. Despite my best attempts to clarify that what I was feeling was entirely my fault and how I desperately wanted to move on from past hurts, I couldn’t seem to get around mentioning the truth of the matter concerning what had happened.
So I now posses a draft of a very good piece of writing (in my opinion, at least).
If you haven’t figured it out by now, this particular blog is more confessional and less confessional in nature. As evidenced by the title, there will plenty of discussion here about how the writer (me) is trying to overcome certain faults and hang-ups in order to become a better person. At best, I hope there are some words here which will inspire others to think about the same things I am. At worst, I hope I can at least provide a momentary diversion with a little bit of decent writing.
There is a definite danger, though, in being too honest. I often have trouble figuring out where that line is. It’s one thing to write about a disagreement with a policy of an elected office you will likely never personally meet; it is quite another to write about something going on in your hometown, concerning people you’re likely to run into at the local Walmart, and possibly making things very difficult for yourself down the road. I’ve had comments on posts from people who I was pretty convinced never even went on the Internet. Be careful, little hands, what you type…
So, fellow bloggers, my question to you this morning is this: How honest is too honest? How much information is too much information? How confessional should a writer be?
I’m very interested in getting some feedback here. Any and all comments are welcome … even painfully honest ones.