Monday, December 19, 2011

I Second that Emotion

First, I'm still making Deja Vu (link) rounds--forgive me, bleeps. Being out of town threw me off.

As for today, I've been thinking about emotional blogging and saying what's on your mind on the web.

I've never been a blogger who put my personal stuff out there. (Out here?) I'm not sure if it's because I know how quickly my feelings change or if I'm just chicken. Or if I'm repressed. Suppressed? ... Sarah?

No, I know bleeps who do that, and they seem to have the most followers. I'm sure it's because they're sharing common fears, experiences, pain, etc., and it's good to know you're not alone in this.

I was also thinking about that poor guy who went on YouTube topless to rant against Simon & Schuster. Or his agent, I don't remember which. I confess, I couldn't watch it.

The conventional wisdom is "Don't." Don't put yourself out there, don't share negative experiences, don't seem to be complaining at all. Ever.

But is that real?

Personally, I have a pretty strong support group, so I just rant to them, bless their hearts. But what if I didn't (or if you don't)? You have to get negative emotions out, and it's not healthy to bottle them inside.

To me, though, it's like being the person who suggests entitlement programs need to be changed. Nobody wants to be that guy. (And who said they needed to change?)

I don't know. I'm just thinking. Is the prevailing wisdom right or wrong? Should we be more open with our thoughts and problems? If we did so, would it become less stigmatizing?

I do find I learn so much from hearing others' experiences--good and bad. And it is encouraging to know some people have a hard time in this business... even after they land that agent or get that book deal.

Have a great week, reader-and writer-friends! Merry Christmas and happy holidays! I wish you all many happy emotions~ <3

37 comments:

Sarah said...

Haha--were you asking me to clarify? I'm not a psychoanalyst (ok, it's repressed). BUT--I think, like so many things, there's a middle ground here. Just like we've all seen people exhibit extreme dysregulation on the web, we've also seen folks bare their souls on the blog with grace, in a way that helps people to connect with them. I think that's the key. There's a kind of emotionality that pushes people away (because they feel anxious about the person, like wondering if that person is mentally stable) and there's a kind that pulls people in (because it's clear the person is stable, but hurting, and it's human nature to want to reach out). When someone lashes out, I think they primarily hurt themselves. But when they reach out, I think often they can connect.

And, that being said, it's still a very elusive formula. I'm with you--I rarely discuss personal stuff, but for me that's professional necessity. If current or potential clients google me, they're going to find my blog--and who wants to take their kid to a psychologist who sounds emotionally overwrought?

Old Kitty said...

It depends how well written the post is! There are some I've come across where I couldn't bear to read because the piece was without any (forgive me!!) intelligence or wit or heart or passion. Just ravings and rantings or self pitying dosh. Sorry - I come across as well snobby! LOL!

Anyway I still say, less is more.
:-)

Happy Christmas to you and your family!! Take care
x

Pat Hatt said...

It does depend on whether someone is just whining for the sake of whining or actually have something constructive to say. No one wants to see someone just whining, they can get that enough on their own. But if your crazy and do it in rhyme, makes for a fun time..haha

vic caswell (aspiring-x) said...

ditto sarah on what sarah said... i think i've just discovered my new life philosophy! just copy sarah! :)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I'm with you. My moods change faster than the Calgary weather. Wait five minutes and it'll be something else.

If I want to rant, I turn to my friends, but even then I try not to go overboard. I don't want them fearing my next email.

LOL on what Vic said. We could all go round saying, "Ditto to what Sarah said." :D

salarsenッ said...

I loved following your thoughts. LOL Seriously, I think putting yourself out there is hard, but it's also a personal choice, one with risks. IMHO, we need to be cautious about what we reveal about ourselves, yet we still need to be honest. Yeah, so I haven't figured it all out yet.

Creepy Query Girl said...

I think there's a line between sharing and dwelling. I try and write one 'truth' post when it all gets to be too much and I need to wail unto the universe 'WHYYYYYY?' Yes, people usually react positively to this because they're either there or have been there and 'get it'. However, after that I tend to keep things focused. Dwelling on personal affairs, set backs, or dissapointment isn't healthy in real life and it certainly isn't healthy for your blog I'd think. Nothing is worse than happening on a blog that contains just one 'I'm depressed' post after 'Life sucks' post another.

Jessica Bell said...

I think you have to just try and find a balance. There's nothing wrong with having a rant online. As long as it's not pitiful, I think, and seeking attention, rather than sharing to help others and be informative. You know what I mean?

Summer Ross said...

I think it is a balance. People want to know a little about you, even in the rantier side of things, but not all the time.

It's morning and that's all I have. LOL

I hope you have a merry Christmas

Amy L. Sonnichsen said...

You're right - we are encouraged to stay quiet about the negative parts of the publishing world. Like, don't share about rejections. I guess this one in particular is just good business sense. If we're trying to SELL our books, we shouldn't be talking about how many people were uninspired by them. And I also get the stay-positive suggestion, too. I usually focus on books I enjoy on my blog, rather than giving critical reviews of books I didn't enjoy (even though I'm tempted to sometimes). It's a tough call on that one. I sometimes think if I don't make it as an author I'm going to start a new life as a book reviewer! :)

Carolyn Abiad said...

On the one hand, I can't write about my own experiences, good or bad. I'm too shy. On the other hand, I don't read negative posts at all, and positive posts only sometimes. Stick to the facts and I'll follow you anywhere. ;)

walk2write said...

I read blogs because I want to know the people writing them. What inspires them? What troubles them? Does where they live or how old they are make an impact on their perspectives? Rants don't bother me as long as they're working toward something, unless they use profanity or attack someone on a personal level.

Coleen Patrick said...

I'm with you. I definitely have an internal censor thing happening, but sometimes I question it wondering if I'm supposed to be sharing more. I guess it's that whole balance thing.

LTM said...

@Summer--you're so right. And isn't balance the key to everything? Still, I feel so icky being even the least bit negative in such a public, permanent way... No worries! Merry Christmas to you, too~ <3

@Coleen--Right. Balance. (See up there.) But I was thinking like you said, "Would it be more helpful if I shared more dirt?" Still, I always hesitate... *sigh* :o) <3

DEZMOND said...

I'm one of those who say DON'T COMPLAIN, EVER! :)
You know I got extremely shocked when I started blogging and got a lot of you writing friends, and I discovered how many or writers or aspiring writers complain in their post, and complain about their own work, like it's bad, it's difficult, it gives them headaches, they were rejected by hundreds of editors and publishers, they had to change their work in progress dozens of times blah blah blah....
As someone from the publishing industry I really must say - NEVER, NEVER DO THAT! There isn't a normal publishers who would accept your work or get interested in it after reading you complain about it in your own blog.

Elle Strauss said...

I'm not sure the blog or blogosphere is the place to rant, but I do think it's okay to be honest with hard times. The question is are we telling our story to help others who might be faced with the same thing, or do we just to blow off some steam (aka, we're doing it for our own sake, and not our reader's sake)>

Lisa Gail Green said...

Great points. First off, I'd say that the internet is public. So just like you probably wouldn't run through the streets shouting how pissed you are at your husband, you shouldn't rant about publishing stuff here. :D HOWEVER, that doesn't mean your feelings aren't valid. Usually when the dust clears things come into perspective, and you'd feel pretty bad about a public rant. Is it tough? OH YEAH! Of course it is. During all parts of the process, but you know what? It's also wonderful and amazing, and I wouldn't give it up for the world - so I try to focus on that! Happy holidays!!

DL Hammons said...

I'm like a couple of others, the occasional "tell us how you REALLY feel" post is fine, within limits. I have no problem disparaging my own shortcomings in public, but to tear down someone else, or the industry in general, is never a good idea!

Jemi Fraser said...

I think it's a fine line to walk. I personally don't read a lot of rants and negative posts - too exhausting and draining. Life is chaotic and busy enough - I like my reading (fiction, blogs, ...) to give me some hope and joy :)

jerzey72 said...

Well I guess the fact is, negativity is sometime interesting.

Monica B.W. said...

Oh this is hard for me... because in real life I'm the type of person who doesn't keep anything to herself. I rant when I want to rant, and I praise when I want to praise and all of those things. So I want to do all that on my blog too. But I don't. Because, as you (someone?) said, it's so public!

And you said we needed to talk? I'd be happy if you emailed me! (moni.bwATgmailDOTcom) :D

Also, thanks for stopping by my blog! It made me happy to see you there!! :D

LTM said...

@LGG--You're right. It's our thing, and it's awful sometimes. But that's best kept off the airways... LOL! :D ((hugs))

@Jerz--It's true. Just make sure it's somebody ELSE doing the negativity... :D

@Monica--Thanks, and you have happy news! So glad things worked out for you. :o) I expect that means big things coming from you! <3

Joshua said...

I share personal stuff, but nothing specific on the details. My employer might freak about blogging and such, so I keep them expressly separate.

Christina Lee said...

GOOD thoughts here!

I think speaking in generalities is okay b/c it touches upon some underlying truth that everyone universally feels. But I save ranting for my family and friends!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Leigh .. I try and keep personal personal .. especially as far as others are concerned ..but I keep the posts from me .. so they reflect my thoughts - but I steer away from anything challenging usually or provoking.

Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year with the kids and your hubby, family and friends Happy 2012 .. cheers Hilary

Matthew MacNish said...

Crap. Should I be acting like less of a moron online?

Liz Fichera said...

I think that if you feel uncomfortable doing it, don't.

Merry Christmas, Leigh! :)

Wendy said...

There is value in getting out of your comfort zone. Just, don't do the topless rant on YouTube. I'd probably draw the line there. :)

LTM said...

@Liz--You are so smart. S-M-R-T... wait. :D j/k

Merry Christmas to you! <3

Pk Hrezo said...

I'd say moderation is the key. No one wants to read about melodramatics. And as for writing it, again I think it's ok to be yourself and let other in to an extent... but this is the internet, and altho we have this close network, still everyone and anyone can read what we write. Not always a good thing.
Have a wonderful Christmas!!! ((hugs))

Anita Grace Howard said...

Like you, I'm so grateful for my venting crew. HEH. In fact, I think maybe I've vented to you once or twice along the way? ;)

It's one thing to share experiences online; it's a whole other to complain. I love to share what I did wrong along the way, or how sometimes I felt hopeless in this biz. BUT that said, it seems to be better if you're sharing things after the fact, much later, once you've passed it.

I think maybe that's because you can remove yourself emotionally a little better, and just offer the lessons learned from that experience without sounding whiney or negative. THOSE emotions are better left to share in private emails and interludes over coffee w/the writing buddies. ;)

BTW, I love your posts because they're so seldom negative! You have a wonderful blog, so don't change a thing!

Merry Christmas, Leigh! I'm so happy we met this year, and hope that the New Year brings you all the writing success you've been working so hard for. :)

LTM said...

Ah, Anita G. & PK, two of my favorite ladies! :o) You're both right. Moderation and having a good support group are keys. And sometimes it's possible we do forget that "others" might come along and read these posts--in addition to our friends. Thanks to you both, and here's hoping you both have a wonderful holiday and blessed new year! ((hugs)) <3

Misha Gericke said...

Hmm... I think it's ok to get a rant out, if it doesn't happen every day.

BUT if you do something stupid that makes you the pariah of the publishing world (as ranting against a big publisher/agent is bound to do) you have to live with it.

Vicki Rocho said...

I definitely think if EVERYONE were flashing their emotional baggage for the world to see, there'd be a lot less stigmatization. BUT I really don't wanna be treated to a truckload of everyone else's issues. There are some whiners out there, I don't want to give them permission to unload...do you?

Ella said...

I think it is a balancing act. If we whine or woe is me, we will likely lose followers. No one wants to be around Debbie Downer. Then again, we do have to remain authentic n' honest. I think a bit of a reality check works. It is about drawing the line...

Hope you n' yours have a wonderful, magical holiday! <3 555

Medeia Sharif said...

I rarely write anything overly personal, emotional, or ranty. I have people IRL who I go to for that. I sometimes find it useful to vent online, but I'm careful about what I write and share. I don't enjoy reading anyone's persistently negative posts, so I assume no one wants that from me either.

Nas Dean said...

Hey, I'm not even ready to share about my personal stuff yet!

Hope you had a Merry Christmas and looking forward to a prosperous New Year!