Years ago, a media person dubbed me a “naked” blogger because I shared so much of my life publicly. “You,” she said, “are a ‘what you see is what you get’ kind of person. You just put it all out there!”
In the last year or so I’ve had several mom bloggers that normally concentrate on things like product reviews, etc, ask me how to take their blogs more personal. I thought I’d put together some suggestions to help prepare you for blogging while sharing more of your life.
First and foremost, if you plan to blog more deeply about your life and your feelings, you need to set personal boundaries. Spend some time thinking long and hard about where your lines are, and then don’t cross them.
If you’ve read my personal blog at all, you likely think there are no lines I won’t cross, but that’s not true. I very, very rarely blog about arguments I have with my husband (and if I do, he approves every line of the post). I don’t blog about the amusing personal hygiene and body functions issues related to my daughter (except vaguely when she’s sick). I don’t talk in detail about how much money I earn, or my sex life with my husband, or drama with friends. Even with stuff I do share, I keep it limited in some cases even if it doesn’t seem like it.
Once you’ve decided to get more personal, you might want to prepare your readers. You can also consider creating a sub-blog (as I have here for the opposite reason) to share more personally, or even another blog entirely. If you don’t want to do that, definitely set up a category dedicated to the personal posts.
My last bit of advice is to prepare yourself for the reactions. Comments on personal blogs are far more, well, personal than on other types of blog posts, and emotions can sometimes run hot. Some folks find it impossible to not be personal in their responses to you, so you might feel misunderstood. Sometimes people will feel defensive and can respond as if you’d attacked THEM. Others might respond in a way that makes you feel attacked.
While it can help to try to remember that this is about them and not you, there is no way for you to not take this personally. I wouldn’t even try. Yes, it’s good to have a thick skin about this stuff (something I personally go back and forth on), it’s okay to have a reaction to their responses.
Different bloggers handle this process differently; some close comments on posts, some respond to each comment in a thoughtful way, still others write follow up posts. Whatever you decide, do what works for you.
But something wonderful also happens with blog posts that are personal and intimate: you make amazing connections with other people that have been in similar places. You learn things about your commenters that can change them from readers to friends. I written posts that left me wrung out and weepy and the comments swept me up in a virtual hug that made everything okay.
I find it highly rewarding to be a personal blogger sharing my life. I hope you will too.