Hitting publish isn’t always easy


Karen over at The Media Mesh wrote a post a couple of days ago about finding topics to write about on your blog. Her advice being that content ideas are everywhere – you just need to be receptive to them.

Karen’s post got me thinking about my own struggles with generating new content.

For me, writing a minimum of two posts a week is a challenge. One that I don’t always overcome but that I’m getting better at. Is it a time management issue? Definitely. Is it a lack of inspiration? Yes and no.

Let me explain.

I’ve attended a few blogging conferences where the speakers have all said unequivocally that your best writing – as in the writing your readers will respond to the most – comes from sharing your personal experiences. This advice also rings very nicely with a post that Sasha wrote at Rambling Notebook on the writing process.

In her post, Sasha quotes Carl Jung:

That which is personal is most common

The quote is also the title of a chapter in the book Sasha’s post is centred on. The principle being that inspiration is everywhere (à la Karen’s post) and when you take those topics and make them personal, you succeed in capturing the minds and hearts of your readers.

This principle applies equally to a personal blog as it does to a corporate or brand blog. Relating human experiences humanizes the brand, yes?

Ha. Ha. Not exactly true, but I'm getting there.

But I digress…

For me, getting more personal in my writing has been a bit of a struggle. For all that I live a somewhat public life on online, I do keep a lot of my private life private.

So I’ll easily share the laughs of parenting a toddler or my heartfelt passion for all things Joss Whedon, but sharing the pains…that’s harder.

I’m getting more comfortable with it. However, it’s a process. Even admitting that I struggle to share personal stories is hard for me to do!

How do you overcome the fear of hitting publish? Was it a process for you or have you always been comfortable blogging about personal (painful or not) experiences?

And p.s.: The reason my last published post is January 18th is that my family was hit with a wicked stomach bug. Something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Ever.

Wait…was that too much personal information to share?


* Image sourced via Zazzle.ca.

13 Responses to “Hitting publish isn’t always easy”

  1. Karen

    This is such a great heartfelt post, Mel. I find that the older Brandon gets the more cautious I am about writing about him – especially some of the things we’re going through right now. I feel the hesitancy every time I open my blog editor. What exactly can I share that isn’t going too far for my personal comfort? It’s changing the tone of my blog and how I think about what I can write about. I’ve always wanted to blog about my life as a whole rather than talking exclusively about the parenting parts. That can be really challenging to retain a cohesive thread through posts since I will jump around quite a bit from subject to subject and back to family. I tend to say, “my blog, my rules”. 🙂 Then I don’t feel guilty for not posting for two weeks or two months. I’m not letting advertisers down (I don’t have any.) And I know my audience will hang out with me whenever they can as well.

    I think personal blogs are a constantly evolving medium because they are such a reflection of the author and people change as life happens. It’s a process. I know plenty of bloggers who write posts they never publish. Sometimes (often) it’s more about getting stuff out than it is about an audience seeing it. So why not just write in a journal? Because then we don’t have anyone to share it with when that is an option.

    • melgallant

      Hi Karen, I like the “my blog, my rules” mantra too. Works very well with where I’m at with blogging. That viewpoint solidified itself with me after Blissdom Canada this year. It will be interesting to see how my writing evolves, especially as my daughter gets older. Like you, I don’t always write about parenting but it’s a huge part of my life so of course it comes up a lot on this blog of mine. Yesterday I almost Instagrammed a photo of DD having a temper tantrum and I stopped myself. I don’t think that’s something she would appreciate down the road.

      And I totally agree with your answer to “why not just write in a journal?” Because really, when I’m brave enough to voice them, I’m looking to share these experiences with others.

  2. Maggie Patterson

    What an insightful post and thanks for writing it. It’s a big struggle between balancing public vs. private and personal vs. professional and I think you do it beautifully. I definitely struggle with it in my own blogging as it’s a tough call as to how much is too much, but I proclaimed this year my year to share and just be me. 🙂

    When you are uncomfortable just know that you taking the time to share with us make us all identify with you and love you just a little bit more!

    • melgallant

      Thanks Maggie! It is a hard balancing act, that’s for sure. I guess testing the waters and experimenting with the stories I share will help me figure out my comfort zone. I hope you do find your blogging zone this year. Onward and upward, and the like. For both of us. 🙂

  3. Sasha

    A fear of hitting publish, I’d say, is also both personal and common. Congrats on facing that fear.

    PS Thanks for making me look clever, quoting Jung and all 😉

  4. Lynn

    I’ve been blogging for years, and yet I still feel like there’s a veil between me and the reading public. There are dozens of topics that I consider off limits, and I’m not sure if I will ever feel comfortable blogging about them.

    I have seen over the years that it is the bloggers who are really willing to “go there” – to name their families, to share pictures, to invite the reader right into their home, warts and all – that become really popular, in terms of massive amounts of readers. I used to worry about this, but now I am happy sharing what I am willing to share, and holding things private that I value. It might not make me a great writer, or a great blogger, but it makes me happy, and that’s a good thing.

    • Karen

      Hehe, Lynn, I do all that and I am SO not popular. 😉 But I’m also completely fine with it. (Was peeking in on the conversation, so I just had to respond. Stepping aside now. :))

    • melgallant

      Hi Lynn,

      I know what you mean. I only share my daughter’s name online with people I know personally. She’s DD on this blog (I really have to come up with a better pseudonym for her) but yet I still post photos of her and share moments from her life. I do wonder down the road if she’ll mind. In any case, I feel for myself a need to let go of my private self a little bit more. To take a leap of faith and trust the community that reads what I write. Thanks for your great comment!

  5. ayala

    Nice post, Mel. I feel like the most important thing is to be honest with yourself…we all have flaws and I cringe sometimes at the things that pour on paper…but then I allow myself to hit publish…because it’s me flawed but real!

    • melgallant

      Flawed but real. So true, Ayala. I like that perspective. You always know the right thing to say. Thank you. 🙂

  6. Alicia

    Awesome post Mel. Sadly, I have a lot of drafted posts that I probably won’t ever hit post on. I like to think since it is my personal blog I am entitled to writing my own opionions, but others may disagree. And others have disagreed (as you know) and sometimes I am caught trying to defend myself, where all I wanted to do was state my feelings on something and not argue why I feel that way. I guess I’m still very amateur in both blogging and in my writing skills. It’s discourging at times and makes me re-think why I blog and why I even bother putting myself out there sometimes. But I trudge on, because my blog is my journal and my outlet and deep down it is something that I enjoy doing.

    • melgallant

      Hi Alicia,

      Yes, I see why you can say it is sometimes discouraging to publish your thoughts, feelings, opinions…when they can be turned against you. It’s why I’ve shied away from getting really personal with some of my posts. (Your last post is a perfect example of this). But…the nice thing about the comments left on your last blog post is that it got people talking. And sharing their own views. And I think that outcome alone is something to celebrate.

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