So Angie Writes – Life's A Challenge, So Angie Writes!

So Angie Writes – Life's A Challenge, So Angie Writes!

Trauma Recovery – Shame Resilience – Self-Compassion – Coping With Chronic Pain

Revelation – On Writing and Sharing

January 13, 2014 | 18 Comments

Revelation - On Writing and Sharing by

Some words are better left between covers.

I write every day, and I share a piece of myself, via words, every day. Sometimes it’s hard to decide what to post on my blog. I never write here as if in a vacuum. I know every single word I write here is read by my Mama, and a few friends. I take that seriously. I leave the most haphazard words in my journal. I express myself openly on my blog, but also remain mindful of other eyes. I’m very grateful for blog readers and commenters.

I have two reasons for writing. The first is healing through cathartic expression. The second is to seek connection. You can see why I blog. I want to build bridges with words over seas of divisiveness. I want to create spaces where people come together based on shared humanity.

Today’s writing prompt, revelation, brought forth pages of handwriting in my journal. I seem to have revelations all the damn time, as a ruminating girl with a propensity for pendulum responses. At the end of it, I realized I’d likely lumped together a collection of thoughts unfit for my blog. It’s not that I wrote anything particularly offensive or controversial. My narrative just trailed along in a very personal way.

When deciding what to share, I keep a few things in mind. I’m a sensitive person. I know that I need to be able to handle the feedback that may come my way. I do not want to avoid feedback, but I do need to keep a handle on the potential for strong reactions. As a developing writer, I am fiercely protective of my writing habit. I treat it like an orchid. Too much water or light might kill it (many orchids have died by my hand). The water is all the things I do to make myself write; tools and supplies, prompts, time limits, research, goals. The light is the sharing; tweeting, Facebooking, confiding in friends, blogging. Just as too lofty a goal can have a freezing effect on my writing, so to can writing in the mindset of pleasing others. Failing to set aside enough uninterrupted time for writing can hurt me just as much as a harsh comment.

I am confident that there will come a time when I’ll write without the worry of killing my orchid. I already know not to keep it under glass, for that would suffocate it. I think it’s just going to take time to settle into my writing self. Practice helps. I share a little, I keep a lot secret. I hold my finger not on the pulse of what feels comfortable, but what feels right. I revisit my intentions. I remember why I began writing.

I’m curious about how you decide what to share when it comes to your writing, art, or other creative projects. Please feel free to leave insight in the comments!

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18 people are talking about “Revelation – On Writing and Sharing

  1. Sharing your heart and soul with others is difficult and I have always been mindful of what I share. Sometimes it isn’t that I feared negative feedback, but that I feared no feedback, which can be worse. Share what will help others and connect you together. I always feel a kinship when I read your posts and poems. That is your special gift to all of us.

    • Angie

      Oh I agree, Mama. The pain of no feedback can be much worse, indeed, because there is such turmoil in not feeling seen or heard or understood. I think at the core of all of us is an intense need for connection and belonging. Not a want, but a need, as pure as water or food.

      I tend to be what some might call an over-sharer, because I so deeply long for connection that I seek it out non-stop. I’ve been learning to be more mindful of what I share, because it can chase people away. Balance, in everything, I suppose! Always learnin!

      • I feel like you have found a good balance. And you have a loyal following who really get you and connect with your words.

        • Angie

          Thank you. I’m glad for that. I think people write for all sorts of reasons, and identifying our own is good thing to do. I am so glad to be able to connect with folks via writing. <3

  2. My blog began with a particular focus–the art I shared with my kids. After a while, I shared about our homeschooling and then combined it with my own creative blog, so now there’s a mix. But I still try to be mindful of the focus: homeschooling, art, creativity. So by that measure, much of my journal writing would have absolutely no place on my website. As you know, I’ve shared some more personal bits of my life, but always, always mindful that I really only have the right to publicly share MY story.

    Sort of a tangent, but at the writer’s retreat I went to, I shared some personal words. It was extremely helpful to begin to shape the narrative of my 40th year, even if only for a very private audience (myself, mainly). It was immensely validating to realize that I *could* shape it into an interesting narrative, that there was a story there, with all the necessary elements, and that I had the ability to put it together in a compelling way. There were a few people there who were adamant that this story needed to be published, that I owed it to (I don’t know, some imagined reader) who would read this story and feel a connection and I don’t know what-all else. I disagree; that story brings in other people’s stories that I wouldn’t feel comfortable telling. I don’t feel we “owe” it to anyone to share anything any more widely than we want to.

    • Angie

      I agree, Amy. We don’t “owe” anyone our stories, and forced sharing doesn’t seem healthy. In our own time, on our own terms, indeed. Do you think you’ll do another writer’s retreat? When I think writing retreat I think hotel room, alone!

      I think I’ve left myself pretty open here to write about anything, but I love the focused nature of your blog, an awesome creative space that I love.

      I try to be mindful of wording my posts from a very personal point of view. “This works for me” or “I think” etc. Interestingly enough I read a writing advice post the other day that encouraged writers to not do that! It said to just say strong things and not worry what people think. I think that advice might be well taken by some writers, with some subjects, certain audiences, and goals, but if you’re going for genuine connection, I think you do have to care what people think!

      • That writer’s retreat was a fabulous experience (and I got in just in time, as the cost went way up!). I was fine reading aloud in the group, and I chose what to share; it was the idea that anyone would owe the world the larger publication of a story that I disagreed with. I *don’t* disagree that we can make connections and even save lives with writing–and maybe, at some point, I will figure out a way to share this story, or at least parts of it, and do that without compromising anything (or anyone) that’s important to me. I’m very resistant of any whiff of the ability to write becoming a burden. When anyone tries to turn it into an ought-to type of situation, I’ve learned to tune it out. That killed writing for me for a long time.

        • Angie

          I’m so glad you got in! It sounds like it was so good for you.

          As soon as I’m trying to write for, or art for, someone, all the joy deflates. I hope I’m able to overcome some of that, as I really do want to share. But for now, I’m so scared of killing my habit, that I am staying in the safety zone! Wherever that is! πŸ˜€

  3. I had a blog a long, long time ago where I over shared my thoughts & feelings. I was seeking connection & it just all came out. I then got some extremely negative feedback that deeply hurt my sensitive self. For years I stayed away from all things blog related. Reading & writing. Then a few years ago I decided I wanted to blog again, I love the creative outfit it provides, but also the community that it provides. But I am extremely aware of what I post and am very hesitant to share too much. Especially as I delve deeper into the prompts from Amanda. Granted a lot of what I used to write about was in high school. I’ve grown a lot since then and emotionally matured some! My current blog began as a way for me to share some happy moments from our days. It’s a mish-mash of all different things so I don’t feel that it limits me in what I write about. I am becoming more aware as Ree gets a little older of what I post about her though, and the same on Facebook. I don’t want to embarrass her or make uncomfortable. I ask if I can take her picture and then if I can share it. Most of the time she says yes, sometimes not. That’s is also why I don’t often post full on face pictures of her. Not because she hasn’t asked me not to, but so when she is older she doesn’t get upset that I did. I can tell my story but I need to protect my kids stories.

    • Angie

      Jen, I’m so sorry you were hurt by sharing years ago. (((hugs))) It is hard to find the balance between putting too much out there, and putting enough out there to form connections. But no one has the right to hurt you no matter how much you’re sharing. I think of some of the people who have really impacted my life, and they are people sharing very personal experiences, sometimes traumas. This can really help someone who has experiences similar things to not feel all alone in the world. It’s a tricky thing, this sharing, especially online!

      I have one son who doesn’t mind sharing, and one who is very private. I try to be mindful or sharing about my kids. I just don’t like to do it very much. Their stories are their own. But I know my long-distance family members want to know about my kids’ lives. I need to get better about emails and snail mail for that purpose.

      Thank you for your comment and for sharing your life on your beautiful blog, which I enjoy very much!

  4. I must begin my first comment on your beautiful blog by telling you how much I am enjoying it. Slowly, slowly, I am getting to know you through your words and they enchant me. I, too, am a very sensitive gal who practices mindfulness whenever and wherever I can, and try to use my words to connect with others.

    Not so long ago, I made the decision to password-protect my blog. It was a hard decision to make, but I did it because there are plenty of people who may just be rubberneckers, or who make hurtful (or hateful!) comments. Mainly, though, I did it to protect myself from the prying eyes of friends and family members.

    Right now I’m at a point where the password may be a deterrent for a lot of people, but the ones who want to be a part of my journey will travel alongside me. I wish I didn’t have to, but I’m also at a point in my journey where protecting myself in a layer of password-protecting bubble wrap may not be the most convenient thing, but is the kindest thing.

    I envy you your bravery in writing so openly for all to read. The orchid analogy is perfect!

    • Angie

      Thank you for reading and commenting, Lauren! I appreciate your words. I agree with you that password protected posts are sometimes a very safe way to go, and I’m glad blogs offer that level of security. It may deter some, but the people who want and need your story will seek it out, just like I did the other day! Thank you for sharing your journey.

  5. What an interesting post (with some fascinating replies too!).

    LIke many of the above have already mentioned, I only really share my own story and *generally* my own creativity over on my blog (though I can’t help but be a proud mama and display my children’s art from time to time). I go mainly by ‘what would I regret them reading’ in x amount of years time, which keeps me from writing too much about their childhood or too much of my own personal stuff. I try to keep the focus on my own creativity (art and writing) with a good dollop of philosophical reflection thrown in.

    When it comes to the actual point of it all though… well, I have to be blunt and say that *generally* poetry does not sell, it’s really done for the love of it, so I share the poems that I think no (possibly paying) magazine or literary journal would accept (which is pretty much most of it, I think!) and just let them sail ‘out there’ to find a home in someone else’s mind who may appreciate them. That’s what poetry is about really, though I must admit I wouldn’t mind earning a little from it because we’re pretty broke at the moment!

    Anyway, do keep on writing and sharing away; there are many of us who appreciate it greatly πŸ™‚

    • Angie

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Marija! I love what you say about poems, how you let them sail out to find homes in others’ minds. <3 <3 <3 I can't wait to get over to your blog to explore!

      I agree about kids. I talk about mine a bit, ask for their consent, and try to understand that my oldest son is very private despite being an extrovert! I try to be careful with other people's stories.

      I'd love to make money too! I hope we're both able to figure out how to do that! πŸ˜€

      Thank you again for your words. You made me smile. πŸ™‚

  6. Glad my words made you smile – always good! πŸ™‚

    Yes, I think it can be argued that money is… useful πŸ˜‰ I have lots of rants in my heads about how mums should really be paid for all the work they do but until that happens we all need to have a roof over our heads and food on the table (heat too is good!).

    Give me a nudge on Twitter from time to time to keep me updated on how your writing is going!

    • Angie

      Yes, I feel some people do so much, but it’s “unseen” work. If it stopped, though, the world would collapse!

      Thank you for your support. <3

  7. I struggle with the private/public division more and more it seems. Two reasons for that, really: my daughter is getting older (6 years old now) and as I dig deeper about myself there are some truths that are based entirely on the actions of others that are still around. So what’s fair game? That’s the struggle of a public writer, knowing where our story ends and where another’s begins. I don’t have any answers, and maybe never will. Sometimes those lessons are learned only after you’ve gone too far. But in any event, I wanted to let you know that I understand this problem all too well, and that your orchid analogy is so perfect.

    • Angie

      “That’s the struggle of a public writer, knowing where our story ends and where another’s begins.”

      Yes! That is part of the struggle, for certain! I try to be cautious with other people’s stories, but I mess up so much, and feel so terrible about it. I’m learning.

      Thank you for reading and commenting, Kristen! πŸ˜€

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