So I'm struggling here.
I don't know how to blog.
I mean, I know how to blog about writerly things - about word counts and agents and revisions and character arcs - but I do that all the time, on this blog and on YA Highway. Sometimes, writerly posts just don't seem like enough. Sometimes there are other things going on in my brain and my heart, and I don't know whether I'm allowed to post them or not.
A lot of you are probably aware of the blow-up concerning authors/reviewers, and whether or not authors should be allowed to comment on their own reviews, and whether or not reviewers should be nicer, and yada yada yada. Well, it was a mess, and lots of people had lots of opinions, and lots of people got their feelings hurt. But I think what was important about that controversy was the question of professionalism. It made a lot of people start talking about how professionals are meant to act in the publishing community.
And here's my dilemma: how DO I act professional? Can I write about life and opinions and boys and my cats and my faith, and yet still be professional? Should I devote this blog entirely to my journey as a writer but leave out my journey as a human being? Can I say things that may occasionally be controversial or hypothetical without someone slapping my name on Publisher's Weekly as an example of an "unprofessional writer"?
I don't know. Like I said, I'm struggling with this. Does anyone have some tips for me?
Honestly? I think as long as you're respectful (when it comes to more controversial subjects), you can post about whatever the heck you want! You shouldn't limit yourself just because of how others might react. If there's something you feel passionate enough to blog about, then blog about it! :)
I agree with the commenter above. It's about respectfulness--making sure you're listening as well as talking, avoiding name-calling, that sort of thing. Basically, don't do anything it would bother you to see someone else doing.
I think it's also about not making things personal. It's one thing to criticize a general controversial idea or event or whatever, and another to say a specific person is wrong. While I don't think it's inherently unprofessional to criticize specific people, I do think, especially in the huge community of strangers that is the internet, it's very easy for people to be hurt even by comments that were intended to be respectful, so probably safest to avoid that at least when it comes to people in the same industry.
It's definitely a tricky balance, though, and one I worry about too.
If you want to share yourself do it. People like to know the person behind things. If it's potentially controversial be mindful of the wording. I'm a firm believer that you can say almost anything (context-wise) if you word it properly. If it's what you think and if that's a part of you that you wish to share with your blog readers go for it. I think the way that you wrote this post shows you're not going to be all out lame. As long as you try to be respectful and remember that this is a totally public forum. Part of putting it out there on the old interweb means some may misunderstand or misrepresent but to me doing/not doing something out of a fear of those kind of things is almost like giving into bullies. But really it's you're own decision I can totally see how some people the risk of and potential damage from bullies is much to high of a cost.
Kristin, this is exactly how I've been feeling for a while now, and the reason I've stopped blogging. I've reached a point where I feel like I've said what I need to say about writing, and talking about word counts and my WIP progress feels too shallow/overdone...and anyway, I just don't want to talk about that subject all the time.
Here's what I think: this is your blog, and you can talk about what you want to talk about. I'll still read it :) and admire you for being bold. Or you could start a different blog, a more private one, that's just for your friends/etc and talks about more than writing, tries to really get at what you're thinking about, but isn't tied to your writing persona. Because just like you say, we do have to have professional writing personas ... let me know if you figure anything out, cause I'm in the same boat!