One thing that many writers struggle with is how much they should share. “I want to share this story, but I am not sure if I am telling too much of my life.” We have all had that dilemma, believe me. But over the years I have learned that transparency is necessary in order to connect authentically with your audience. But I have also learned that you can be transparent without oversharing.
So what does it mean to be transparent? It means that you are not putting on a façade in your writing or your social media profiles. It means you are just as vocal about your triumphs as your struggles. It’s giving your readers an opportunity to connect with a piece of your story that they can hold onto and say, “Someone understands, someone has been where I am or where I’ve been as well.” And that manifest itself in various different ways, whether you are a personal blogger, inspirational blogger, or writing about business.
How do you then avoid feeling like you are exposing your whole life for the world to judge? Well it’s all in how your present it. Most often on this blog, I talk about very universal topics; love, striving for your goals and dreams, spirituality, and more. There is so much inspiration to pull from in those areas and I take that opportunity to not only talk about my own experience in those areas but also that of those around me as well. Whether it’s pulling from television, film, friends, or family, I have the ability to create a robust story by pulling on a myriad of influences and injecting my commentary in the midst.
December of last year I had surgery to remove a lump from my breast that was not cancerous, thank God. But I was really conflicted about whether I should share about it on my blog or not. But when I thought of how terrified I was and learned that this was something that can often happen to women in my age group, I felt more of a need to educate others than to keep my privacy. It was really emotional for me to write about too. I wrote it a while before I actually had the nerve to post it. But ultimately, I felt compelled to share for anyone else who might be scared crapless, not realizing that a lump in your breast doesn’t automatically mean cancer. You can read it here. You will be faced with those decisions in your writing.
Another area to evaluate is the people that you discuss on your blog. I think often about the people in our lives who we end up writing about. On numerous occasions I have asked friends or family if it is okay to share parts of our conversations in my writing. I don’t use their names but will refer to something that spawned my thought process in a particular blog. I personally feel that’s an important step. Some writers feel like all the people and experiences in their lives are fair game, but I think it’s a low blow to write about people close to you without their consent. I remember an episode of Blood, Sweat, and Heels where Demetria Lucas wrote about one of the events on the blog and the women were mortified by how they were depicted. Demetria was tough enough to handle the backlash, but I tend to shy away from that. At the end of the day, you just have to be able to stick by the decisions of what you share.
There are no hard rules when it comes to this clearly. But what I want you to understand is that your readers can connect with you even if you don’t share every single detail of your life. I am a person who thinks that even with as much as I share that some things should also remain private. That will be different for each person, but what I do suggest you do is think about it before you begin pouring out your life into your blog.
Has this been a struggle for you in your writing?
Has there been a moment when you realized you may have shared too much?
Has there been a moment when you shared something personal that has really helped someone?
Let me know in the comments below.
PS: If you haven’t yet signed up for the upcoming mini-course, The Writer, The Brand that will begin on Nov. 1, you can do so below. It will be chock full of other goodies like this to help you refine your writing voice and expand your brand! I also created a quick resource guide with the tools I use for my blog that you will receive when you sign up.