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Confidence from blogging

Blogging has taught me many things, but confidence is keenest among them.

I’m not talking about the kind of confidence that comes with validation. I love the likes and kind words, don’t get me wrong, but the confidence comes from something else.

Disagreement.

Here in the blogosphere, there are a lot of loving, uplifting comments exchanged daily. There are also a lot that sound like this:

  • “That’s not how I would have handled it.”
  • “Your face looks cute, but you probably shouldn’t ever wear that shirt again.”
  • “Well, that’s definitely a unique perspective. I’m going to go wash out my eyeballs with some acid now.”
  • “Beautiful post, but really, you didn’t talk about me or my kind of trials enough. That would’ve made this a much better post.”

People, it turns out, literally have opinions on everything. Being faced with those opinions as a blogger, you have lots of ways to cope. Here are a few I’ve experimented with:

  • Ignore them
  • Try to ignore them while quietly cursing them for commenting
  • Write stuff so generic it’s really hard for someone to opine on you, except maybe to point out your work is short on details
  • Get comfortable with the fact not everyone’s gonna agree, and embrace writing your life and views as they are anyway

Over the past couple of years, I’ve learned trying to write to other peoples’ liking is a great way to drive yourself nuts while still getting hammers lobbed from the peanut gallery. Sure, it’s good to touch people (in totally non-lecherous, respectful ways), and you’ve gotta write things readers will be touched or tickled (platonically) by to get ’em coming back, but that can’t be the goal.

Because, let’s face it. There’s no way to please them all.

Some will tell you you’re too serious. Others will tell you you’re not serious enough. (There is no place for humor in talking about depression, folks. It’s true. A commenter told me so!)

Some will love your stick figure drawings. Others will complain they’ll never get back the three seconds they spent looking at them.

grammar or person win

Some will embrace the poetry of your pensive posts. Others will stop reading them because you jokingly refer to your fiancee as “Ba.D.,” or “baby daddy,” which is just plain ignorant. GEEZ.

You’ll have too many scary clowns for some.

"One Deborah Bryan breakfast platter coming up!"

You’ll have not enough unicorns for others.

Don't make the unicorns cry.

If you write an homage to soldiers, even once, you’ll be too conservative for some, and too “hippie” for others who see the caveats in your silences.

If you tell your sister you’ll love her more if she blogs, it doesn’t matter if the post is tongue in cheek. You will be chided for evidencing conditional love.

Your posts will be too skinny for some (“You could’ve explored this waaay deeper!”) and too fat for others (“Long-winded much?”).

And it’s OK. They can have their opinions. You wouldn’t be blogging if you didn’t have a bunch of your own.

It takes a little while to grok this, even if you’re someone like me who’s pretty comfortable with disagreement. (You don’t get into negotiating contracts if disputes cause you sleepless nights!)

But then, you get it. As a blogger, you’re just the poorly paid CEO of a company of one. Some folks will grumble about your choices. Some will want to buy stock. Either way, their words are their thing, not yours. You’re the boss.

As you learn to take what benefits you and leave the rest, your confidence grows, because you’re learning–with every comment you read–to take what helps you, and walk away from the rest.

Reunited and it feels so good!

And, man, does it feel good. THIS good!

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  1. August 2, 2013 at 7:01 am

    I’m a transplant blogger from Xanga. Would you believe I only had 3 people in my friends list there after 8 years? Sure, the site was diminishing rapidly in participants, but I also deleted friends who brought nothing to my plate. Life is hard enough without having strangers gnawing at you. I’m going to adopt your attitude and let stuff roll off my back here at WP. I have learned to be open and not censure myself. Maybe this combination will be successful for me. It does feel good!

    • August 3, 2013 at 4:31 pm

      Life is hard enough without having strangers gnawing at you.
      Well put! I hope you flourish here at WordPress. I spent a little while over at Blogspot, but this has been much kinder to me. 🙂

  2. August 2, 2013 at 7:21 am

    Finally! A unicorn pic! =)

  3. Running from Hell with El
    August 2, 2013 at 8:07 am

    Loud applause from a grokker in the peanut gallery 🙂

  4. August 2, 2013 at 9:40 am

    Well said. But …

    Just kidding. I couldn’t resist.

  5. August 2, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    When people like to online nitpick the stuff I make, I like to picture that it’s my aunt leaving those comments, because she’s exactly the sort of person who does that kind of thing — to your face — and also, I don’t give a single fuck what she thinks about anything. That not giving a fuck translates well to the Internet, if I think of it that way. 😀

    • August 3, 2013 at 4:32 pm

      Have I told you lately that I love you? Because THIS. I might have to adopt your strategy, because even thinking of those aunt-related text messages you sent makes my foot itchy for some action!

  6. August 2, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    I love this and I also really love Mackenzie’s comment. Just awesome! 🙂

    • August 3, 2013 at 4:33 pm

      In my dream world, you and Mack will get to converse face to face someday. I only wish such a thing were happening right now!

  7. August 2, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    LaLaLa, but you don’t dance the way I would ❤

    Kidding, if I were there I would dance with you!! People sometimes just don't know when to quit. You touch people, whether it is happy or with great and profound thoughts, you touch people. The peanut gallery? Well they can just …. okay, okay….just a minute let me scrub my mouth out.

    Okay back, they can just slide on out with their tail between their legs.

    I love you.

    • August 3, 2013 at 4:35 pm

      I know I’ve said this before, but there is a visceral weight lifted from my shoulders every time I read a comment you’ve written. Heck, most the time I don’t even need to read the comment before my heart starts soaring. Just seeing your name does it, and then I read your words and remember why. I love you, and I love both the light and passion you bring to this world. ♥

  8. August 3, 2013 at 6:07 am

    Loved it! But you could have talked about me a little more 😉 Oh, did I see your lovely face in the video for “Nothing To Prove”?

    • August 3, 2013 at 4:36 pm

      I just googled “Nothing To Prove” (not, in retrospect, that I necessarily needed to, ahem) and I’m grinning now. Thanks for that. 😀

  9. August 3, 2013 at 8:02 am

    Bravo!

  10. August 4, 2013 at 7:50 am

    I still see Tim Curry as that clown whenever I pass by a sewer thingy. Aahhahhh! But seriously, well put. You certainly cannot please everyone, and sometime the posts I consider innocuous bring a firestorm. I don’t have anything clever to contribute comment-wise, but I really liked this post. It was smart and very funny. 🙂

    • December 28, 2013 at 7:56 am

      Oh, man, is it funny to read this comment right now! When I was in the kitchen a few moments ago, my mind wandered off (as it’s apt to do, in writerly consideration) and took me to imagining coming back to the bedroom to find Li’l D missing. An image of Pennywise immediately popped to mind, which is a much better experience by daylight than darkness! 😀

  11. August 7, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    People disagree with you? Seriously? and surprisingly, or perhaps not, we have the exact same SpongeBob! F is for friends who do stuff together, U is for you and me, N is for anywhere and anytime at all!

  12. August 18, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    And don’t forget the other side of the confidence coin – getting comfortable with leaving comments that may be misinterpreted, ignored, ridiculed or trashed. I just did it today – left a couple of comments on the same blog that drew – uh – rebukes. At least I felt like they did. There wasn’t anything snarky or bad about them at all -but I certainly didn’t expect the negative reaction.

    One of the responses stung so much I teared up. For about 30 seconds. Then? Well, as I tell myself from time to time – “Have your say, then let it lay.” Sometimes I can see the trouble ahead, and just don’t comment. Sometimes I don’t see the trouble ahead and get into it. But quiver and moan? No way. I’ve got better things to do. 😉

    • December 28, 2013 at 8:01 am

      Oh, gosh! There’s at least one time a week where I dash out a comment, satisfied it’s communicating something positive, and then realize that there are much likelier, less friendly interpretations in light of context. Occasionally I go back and clarify, but many times, I hope the blogger receiving my comment will understand the intent was good even if I didn’t choose my words as carefully as I could have. So far, there have been fewer actualized commenting disasters than I could reasonably have counted on. 🙂

  13. laugheatpray
    December 25, 2013 at 5:29 am

    This is truly interesting for me. I have never blogged but been wanting to start. So reading this is definitely great! Dont know what I want to write about! Sometimes I feel I have so much and sometimes I wonder if I am being plain ole silly…:)

    • December 28, 2013 at 8:04 am

      I really, really recommend it! I started out with one intention (to write about writing), but branched out fairly quickly after, discovering much joy and catharsis in this particular form of community expression.

      The good news is, you could write twice a day for a week and then go silent for a month, and it’ll just be there waiting for you when you’re ready to say more. It’s a fantastic journey!

  14. July 29, 2015 at 8:04 am

    Gosh, those are some nasty comments you’ve received! No wonder you have such a brilliant uh, is it called comment headline? Love “Please weigh in–kindly!”
    I have had some bad experiences on social media in the past, even before it got so big. I used to be much more ironic and crisper in my writing years ago, but I’ve had to mellow over the years just because I was tired of being misunderstood. One thing I have learnt though – there are people who are just looking for a fight, albeit behind computer screens. They don’t care what you say, they live on taking things to nastier levels. Which is why I try to be as polite as possible (even if I don’t feel it) because I can’t let them spoil my day further than they have.
    I have to say though, if I got some of the comments you wrote about here, I would have packed up and left years ago. I really commend you for sticking by.

  1. December 23, 2013 at 6:07 am
  2. September 30, 2014 at 2:32 pm
  3. May 29, 2015 at 5:36 am

Please weigh in--kindly!

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