I was watching Criminal Minds last week and they ended the episode with this quote from Cyril Connolly, “Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.” I’ve been thinking about that a lot. It seems a little extreme in terms of a basic Choice A v/s Choice B concept. But I’m sure we can all admit that the best situation is to write for the public and maintain your concept of self. I think that’s what blogging gives a lot of us. When the act of writing itself only costs you time and minimal amounts of money (depending on your platform/hosting choices); then being forced to write for the public to achieve (or possibly maintain) some sort of financial success does not usually happen. But it did get me thinking about the choices in a more theoretical sense.
We all have our own boundaries as writers. Things we’ll talk about and things we won’t. I have no problem discussing my reproductive cycle, but I won’t talk about my divorce. I have no problem complaining about the state of my boobs, but I’m not going to bitch about real people in any way that could hurt them if they stumble upon my words. (And I assume everyone will eventually stumble upon my words, it’s the safest mentality.) Some people don’t talk about or post photos of their kids at all, while that is about 80% of what I do around here.
To me…those boundaries still allow me to reveal myself to my audience while still giving me some sort of creative outlet. But some people feel like that setting limits on what they can/can’t write about cramps their creativity. If they can’t talk about how much they hate their sister’s husband because it will hurt someone’s feelings – especially if that’s what is in their mind to write about – then what’s the point? If you can’t reveal your whole self and your whole life…then some people feel as though they’re lying to their audience.
It’s an interesting thing to think about. I think every blogger is different. I like the idea of documenting my life in a lighthearted and kind way. I get bitchy and angry enough day-to-day, I don’t feel like I need to write with that same tone every day. But some of my favorite bloggers use their blogs as outlets for their irritation and misery. And I sometimes envy that. Then there’s the big things that happen in my life that I can’t/won’t really talk about. Sometimes I feel like I am misleading people, but I’m also trying to protect the people in my real life. How do you bring those two things together? I’m sure LilZ wouldn’t mind me telling you that we fight often. I mean, we have an astounding relationship for a Mother/Teen, don’t get me wrong. But I worry that sometimes I don’t paint a very real picture of how things work when I just show you snapshots of trips to see Santa. It’s not always that easy. But our clashes are one of the many things I feel like are too sacred to be blogged about, and that won’t ever change.
So — what are your boundaries as a blogger? As a writer, do you feel like the limits your creativity or challenges it? In terms of your “self” – do you feel like abiding by these boundaries may give a distorted view of yourself to your audience? How do you feel about that?