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Getting Personal on the Blog

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Going back to last week… The recent post led to one of my favorite blog discussions. I wanted to highlight one comment, in particular, because it sparked my motivation to write today’s post. The comment: .

Katie, one of the reasons I love your blog and read it regularly (besides the healthy recipes, of course!) is that I admire your ability to be so outspoken and brave. For example, this post [the  post about boobs]. I love this post, but I would never have had the courage to publish something like it, on my own blog, especially if I had the amount of readers you have. By the way, I was just wondering, do you know how many people read your blog every day? You don’t have to answer. I was just curious! I was also wondering if you ever feel nervous or scared to put yourself out there like you do? To give you some background, I’m a huge wimp when it comes to publicly airing my views on something. Class presentations are the bane of my existence!

My response:

I’m not comfortable sharing how many visitors I get, and right now I don’t even want to think about it. ‘Cause hello! I just published a post that used the words boobies, boobs, or breasts eleven times. (Not to mention the personal story I shared about my insecurities during middle school.) Do I really want to spend time contemplating the scary number of people who saw that? On any post, before I hit “publish,” I force myself not to think about how many people will be reading the post. So, using the aforementioned boobs as an example, here’s what went through my head the second after posting:

Oh yikes, what did I just do?! I published a blog post about boobs for the entire world to see. My family, my neighbors, my friends… I know for a fact that at least two of my ex-boyfriends know about my blog.

The truth is that I don’t really worry about what the strangers to my blog think of me. I don’t know them, they don’t know me, and—for the most part—we’ll never meet in person. So they can go ahead and think I’m strange; I feel the same way about some of them! According to wordpress stats, one of them is clicking on my blog in an attempt to learn about “chocolate covered cheeze its,” another is trying to find “big boobs covered in chocolate,” and an astronomical amount of people end up here while searching for “Katie V from girls gone wild” or “cloudy with a chance of meatballs porn.” (Note to those readers: I am sorry to say you won’t find the answers to any of the above on my blog.)

I’m more concerned with the smaller number of people who may be reading that I actually do know (friends, relatives, the aforementioned ex-boyfriends). But if I allowed myself to worry about what each of them would think of my posts, I’d never publish. My advice to anyone looking to become braver in what he or she puts out on the internet: Pretend you’re writing to only one person—yourself! That’s not to say you should share everything, but you cannot worry about the opinions of others; I guarantee that if you blog long enough, someone will find offense with something you write at some point in time. And you can never predict the content they’ll find offensive; it might be over something you thought was totally innocuous. For example, I never thought someone could be offended by my Raw Gingerbread Men post, but someone was.

This doesn’t mean I’m always brave in posting about what I want. You asked if I was ever nervous or scared to put myself out there. Definitely, yes! In fact, for a while, I felt like my blog was getting rather boring. As phenomena such as The Hills or Jersey Shore prove, people are interested in the lives of other people. Sure, I was offering recipes; but what I wasn’t doing was sharing my true self. I wasn’t opening up, and consequently, others weren’t opening up to me. Once I started to open up more, something amazing happened: I found that the more open you are with others, the more they’ll share in return. The comments on the boob post confirmed that.

Yes, it takes courage to put yourself out there. And I do sometimes find myself thinking, “I wonder if ______ is reading my blog. I wonder what he/she would think of this post.” But I force myself to put it out of my mind. I cannot recommend enough pretending that you’re writing only to yourself. Otherwise, you’ll get overwhelmed in trying to tailor your words to everyone’s liking, which is an impossible task.

chocolate covered katie before

This is me. I am silly. If you don’t like it, that’s okay.

The only person who needs to be ok with you is YOU!

Please don’t feel like you have to get into personal topics or controversy if you’re uncomfortable with the idea. You can still have a fun blog even if you never delve outside the realm of non-personal photos, recipes, etc. Do what works for you. Hey, and if you’re still struggling to find the courage to be yourself on your blog, you can always imagine all your readers naked. On second thought, maybe that trick is best left for class presentations. 😉

2014 EDIT: As the blog audience has crept into the millions, I’ve sadly made the decision to discuss less and less of my personal life. It’s not that I don’t want to share… But I feel an obligation to my friends. Out of respect for their privacy, I’m not comfortable posting their photos or personal stories, and this unfortunately means none of my relationship or friend drama can go on the blog. Too bad, as I have some really funny stories! In any case, I will continue to share as much as I possibly can whenever I have a personal story that does not involve other people.

Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 

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  1. Oh my gawd, those search terms are hysterical!! I don’t think I’ve gotten any QUITE that good, but I have had a few dozen hits from people looking for “secret swiss military weapons base” and the like. ?!

    I always used to keep myself out of my blog, choosing to focus on the food instead, but I too have been including more of myself in it, and I have seen an increase in visitors :) I hope I can keep escalating that.

    The only person I really “worry” about is my mom. I know she reads all my posts…so I feel like I sometimes have to bite my tongue at some of the more raunchy jokes and innuendo that constantly pop up in my mind!

    1. LOL sounds like the government is reading your blog! 😉

      1. Ha ha, I know what you mean; my mum added me as a friend on Facebook so I have to monitor some people’s posts and comments on my wall!
        I had to look at the gingerbread men post just in case the someone was offended by the fact they didn’t have any (gingerbread) clothes on :-)

      2. LOL! No, someone was just mad that I was stereotyping guys. But it was all in good fun, I promise!
        And my mom always used to ask to see photos of my sister’s life in college: “Katie, show me photos of her new apt, her birthday, etc. on facebook.”
        So I told her to just get her own facebook and that way she could look whenever she wanted. Only problem? My sister denied her as a friend!!

      3. Haha! Methinks that’s what FB’s new customizable privacy settings are for 😉 I know I use them! 😛

    2. Rachel Ramey says:

      Don’t you wonder what it is that caused Google to send someone with that search term to your blog in the first place? I got one once for “edible Sharpie.” I’m still not sure what that’s about!

  2. a-men. honestly, why have a blog if you don’t expose yourself in any way. how else do you build intimacy with readers? duh. i commend your brave postings!

  3. Katie! I love your blog! I love everything you write!!! I feel like all the commenters and you are a part of a big friendship :)

    I keep myself out of my blog, and stick to recipes and facts….kind of like how I am in life, too. But recently I have been thinking that I should combine myself with my food. I thought to myself, “I don’t go back to blogs that just give recipes…I like the blogs that share tidbits of lie, along with recipes!” So I have decided to start doing the same…..Here goes…

    1. You are such a sweetie. Do not worry about sharing more of yourself; everyone (who matters!) is going to love you :)

  4. One of the best complements I have received about my blog was “You write just like you talk! It’s so….YOU!”

    I love that I can be real, and if people think I’m crazy, well…I can be, sometimes. :) I’m a goofy girl. I have an often goofy blog. That’s how I roll.

    1. Valerie says:

      It’s good to be goofy! After all, he’s the best Disney character ;).

  5. Great post and advice. Plus, I’m fond of being silly. You’re right…it’s very okay.

  6. Jennifer - jcd says:

    What a wonderful post! Your blog is amazing because you are amazing. And you are so beautiful too!! What type of animal are you hanging around with – I’ve never seen anything like it?

    Also, where do you find vegan belts in your size? I don’t know what your waist size is, but I have a small waist and can never find belts that fit. (The smallest vegan belts I find are 28.)

    Anyway, I appreciate all the effort you put into your blog and admire all the courage it takes to publish all the personal posts. Go Katie!

    1. Hehehe it’s an armadillo! If you lived in Texas, you’d have recognized it right away. The armadillo is EVERYwhere in Texas (sadly, often as roadkill). ‘Course, my little friend is just a statue.
      As for belts: oddly enough, I have quite a lot of success at cheap stores. The same thing goes for shoes. ‘Cause cheaper clothes usually are made of synthetics, ya know? I think that particular belt was from a store called Forever 21, here in the US. Oh, and I have been known to poke my own holes in belts before to make them smaller :).

  7. GO KATIE! Im all about the personal plus recipes. Thats what keeps me comin’ back :) I try to do the same on my blog..

  8. Cindy says:

    I was really proud of you and your boobie post. It was fabulous and you started a great conversation!

    I love your advice too and I think it’s spot on! I’ll say this..I’ve had 3 blogs now. One was just a family one, and after 2 years no one was visiting (nice family) haha so I became really deeply hurt and decided to start a new one…the one i have now. I struggled with it too because I gave my link to Uncle Steve and Grandma and (fake names…kinda) and anyway at least with my family…if and when you open your mouth someones feathers get ruffled. BUT NO ONE READ IT ANYWAYS so I dumped it. I needed a blog where I could be ME, write what I wanted too and not be so insecure about it.

    now for topics like your boobie post??? I would if I had the nerve. It’s not that I care what a stranger things about me ( way over that) it’s just not ME. I LOVE that other bloggers have courage or maybe just the vocabulary I don’t. I wouldn’t talk boobs in real life I guess what I am saying is that I have no problems being ME on my silly blog.

    but in general I’m a ninny anyways. haha

    keep doing what you are doing and writing a blog for yourself is the best policy. be true to yourself, be honest and be respectful.

    people will respond (maybe just not Uncle Steve)

    ps…the 3rd blog I mentioned was another attempt at a family blog. yup…no readers. not one. it’s gone too. jeez. haha

    Happy Thursday!!!

    1. Valerie says:

      Ugh ugh your family sounds like mine! I thought it’d be a great idea to start a family blog and post photos of the kiddies, but when I mentioned my great idea to dearest mom, she said, “Don’t waste your time. I am too old to figure out computers!” 😕

      1. Cindy says:

        ugh is right…only mine are very computer savvy.


    2. Aww thanks, Cindy! And hey, if your uncle doesn’t want to read, that’s his loss! 😉
      P.S. Yay for ninnies!!!

  9. Lisa says:

    Normally, I don’t read long posts. I’m impatient and usually skip over the words and just look at peoples’ photos and recipes. But somehow I ALWAYS read your posts fully. They are just st witty and fun. You are a great writer and might even make a good comedian, Katie ;).

  10. VeggieGirl says:

    Here’s to always being real on the blog! You rock, Katie xo

  11. The blogs I like the best talk about real life — they admit to struggles, weaknesses, dreams, goals but also share their strengths.

    I talk about my social anxiety, introvertism, poor body image, etc and as hard as it was, it was very freeing at the same time. My mom reads my blog and I’ve gotten a few phone calls with her crying wondering if there was something she could have done — but in that we’ve gotten closer and it makes me want to share more.

    I think there are many people who benefit from reading REAL posts.

    Keep doing what you’re doing!

    1. Valerie says:

      Wow, that is so sweet of your mom. And I agree with you. People like to read about others’ struggles, I think, because it makes them feel better that they’re struggling and less alone in their struggles.

      1. I know I appreciate reading posts about others’ struggles because it makes me feel less alone and “odd” for having those thoughts and feelings.

        And yes my mom is the best :)

  12. I definitely have a hard time getting personal on my blog. I’ve never been a very open person as far as private matters are concerned, so the idea of broadcasting myself to however many people is pretty freaky to me. What’s even scarier is, like you said, the people reading that know me in person. I just never know what they’ll think, and I admit it’s a bit nerve-wracking. I try hard to not let it bother me, but it’s not always easy. 😛

  13. Namaste Gurl says:

    I love that you’re so honest and genuinely yourself, Katie– first off :) It makes the thousands of readers come back daily to your blog because your so open and natural!

    I try to be as naturally open and myself when blogging– because, well, it is a blog and that’s a main reason I started it. I don’t share every minuet detail, however. There’s super serious things I wouldn’t share, but for the most part, I don’t mind sharing what’s going on in my life currently.

  14. abby says:

    lol to the extreme about the ex boyfriends. if i had a blog, they’d be the last people i’d want to know about it! also, your photo with the armadillo (is that what is is?) is so cute!

    1. Yup, it’s an armadillo (albeit a fake one).

  15. mckella says:

    I’m pretty much an open book on my blog and in real life. I’ll share anything from birth control to my past eating disorder to pictures to off-color sarcasm. I don’t care what strangers think, and anyone who knows me well knows how I am.

    1. Anonymous says:

      i am so thankful to everyone who is brave enough to share on their blog their struggles with eds. it helps people like me more than you’ll ever know!!!

  16. Nicole says:

    Great post, Katie! You mentioned a few scrapbooking blogs you read. I love Becky Higgins and Lisa Bearnsons’ blogs.

    1. I looooove (and subscribe to) Creating Keepsakes :). Oh, and Becky Higgins and I share a last name. I’d like to think we’re related somehow… then maybe I can claim to have some of her creative genius!

  17. Anonymous says:

    You are the most adorable thing on the face of this earth!!!

  18. Um, “cloudy with a chance of meatball porn.” That’s just crazy. Definitely not a movie I’d associate with anything pornographic, but hey, they can make a porn parody out of anything.

    As for gettin’ personal, you know I’m all out there. Nothing is sacred for me. But that’s how I live my real life too. I don’t care much for privacy at all. I do try not to cuss too much in my blog posts because my parents and granny read it daily, though I don’t totally censor that. In real life, I cuss like a sailor. But other than that, I’m an open book on the blog. And my favorite blogs are the kind that do get personal, like yours!

    1. I know, gross, right? And isn’t it a kid movie?? Yet every single day, like 10 or 20 hits come from there. Don’t know how I feel about that… lol

  19. i definitely agree on the getting nervous about posting personal feelings on the blog but not because of strangers but because of family or friends that might know about it!! I got the most views ive ever had on my post about getting over the fear of running and the first thought i had was not “wow woohooo blog readers!” but more of “o crap what did i just do- who the hell is reading this!” and i had an impulse to delete the post right away! its so much easier to write to a bunch of strangers than ppl you know but i also dont want to keep my blog a secret from relatives or friends because it is a big part of who i am!

    1. LOL that’s how I felt about my “not wearing makeup” post! I got so many page views… and I was like, “I kinda wish people WEREN’T clicking on my non-makeup photo to enlarge it!”

  20. Nichole says:

    Fantasic outlook. I recently started my blog and I feel the same way. thanks for your input!

  21. Kiersten says:

    I try not to censor myself on my blog. I love sharing what I’m really thinking/feeling. It’s therapeutic for me.

  22. I really appreciate your honesty, Katie! you’re such a brave and generous person :)

  23. Katie says:

    Thousands of viewers per DAY?!
    That is SO awesome! :)
    I’m lucky if I get that many per month! But maybe I need to be more personal on my own blog. All I offer is recipes. I’m more like the commenter in the beginning of your post. Class presentation projects scare me!

  24. Gina G says:

    your amazing Katie! I agree I only care about what the people that matter to me think, others not so much :)

  25. Inspired says:

    I loved this post! It’s making me think about why I haven’t written anything on my own blog yet. I’m so afraid to share with the world. Once you put it out there and hit publish, you can’t go back. But you’re right that so many people are so brave and share so much, and it helps ME to see it, so I should be brave and do the same. Baby steps, right?

  26. I don’t usually sensor myself that much. I mean, I wont cuss or anything but I don’t do that much in real life anyway so it’s no big deal. There’s not much I have to hide so I don’t feel the need to :) Besides like nude pics or something like that..but that’s obviously a stupid move for anybody to do.

  27. Laura says:

    I bet the person looking for “big boobs covered in chocolate” was thoroughly disappointed!! I LOVE your blog, and you are one of the most exciting and interesting people i “know” on the blog community. love that xx

    1. Aw Laura, right back at you. You are one of the sweetest girls I’m privileged to know through the blogworld.

  28. Fi says:

    Hey Katie,personally I like to read honest open blogs, because I an interested in people! I share myself on my blog and the only time
    I think about my blog readers is when I’m talking About their comments or when I’m
    Trying to explain myself in understandable vocabulary!! But it’s my blog and yea, like u, I’m gonna be ME on MY blog. Xx

  29. Shelby says:

    Just because I search for “big boobs covered in chocolate” doesn’t make me weird!!!! 😉

    I feel the same way about posting on my blog. I really don’t care what complete strangers think of me! It actually took me up until now to let my family read it because I care so much about what they think.

    I may have changed over time on my blog but that is not because of what people think, that’s because I’ve grown as a person…into the weirdly wonderful person that I am (:

    1. Do you know how hilarious you are? Weirdly wonderful, yes. And so funny :).

  30. Good for your for embracing exactly who you are!
    I try not to censor myself because if people don’t like me for me, then I don’t need them reading anyway!

  31. “Pretend you’re writing to only one person—yourself! That’s not to say you should share everything, but you cannot worry about the opinions of others; I guarantee that if you blog long enough, someone will find offense with something you write at some point in time. And you can never predict the content they’ll find offensive; it might be over something you thought was totally innocuous”

    Sorry to quote such a huge chunk but that says it all!

    I wrote a post recently about getting to the bottom of food allergies and tips to do so. As well as tips about going GF. Seriously it was SO HARMLESS I thought. Yet I got blasted by a few people who said i wasnt a dietician, dr., etc. Yes, no sh*t sherlock. I said that in my post, that it was just MY experiences, etc but since I am asked how i figured it out all the time, i posted about it, to refer ppl to the post.

    And yes, you can never please everyone. Two days ago I posted about being a pleaser and asked ppl if they are or arent

    And thx for your comment on blogging as a hobby vs. job. No one ever thinks when they start they will get paid at all, even if it’s 5 cents…it’s more than expected :)

    1. It’s like chocolate icing on the chocolate cake… you’d like the cake anyway, ya know? :) But with the extra chocolate… well, who ever complained about extra chocolate?

  32. Elizabeth says:

    great post! its great that you feel so open with sharing your real life with your readers, i am working on reveling more of my true self. thanks you inspirational blogger!

  33. The only person who needs to be okay with you is YOU . . .

    I need that reminder right now, as I’m applying to colleges!

  34. Great post and great advice! I find myself worrying about what people will think of my posts (even the ones that aren’t personal), especially because I know my mom sometimes reads it. But what you say is so true –the only person who needs to be ok with you is you.

  35. Great post! this is exactly what I’ve been struggling with in my blog. You encourage me to be more personal and maybe even put some pics up of myself.

  36. *Andrea* says:

    “The only person who needs to be ok with you is YOU! ”

    so right!!! if only it was so easy, ugh. for some it is harder than others… anyways, i love your blog because you inspire me : )

    1. Believe me, it’s NOT easy for me either all the time… as I wrote to another commenter, I used to try to seem “perfect” all the time, but I’ve found that people like me better when I’m not! I’m more “relate”able. No one wants to be friends with a perfect person!

  37. ecogrrl says:

    cloudy with a chance of meatballs porn – that is classic, pee my pants laughing quote :)

    1. I just don’t know who would get turned on by meatballs! Really?

      (They’re finding me ’cause of a post I once wrote, entitled “Cloudy with a chance of Food Porn” lol)

  38. BroccoliHut says:

    I don’t censor much–I know that hardly any real-life friends read the blog, so I consider it my space to just say whatever I please. That being said, there are certain things I would not feel comfortable sharing for fear that they may be “triggering.”

  39. Moni'sMeals says:

    Katie, I think the more honest bloggers can be (or anyone for that matter)the better. Who are we to pretend we are all perfect? Absolutley not. It comes down to us loving ourselves first and being happy with ourselves first. :)
    We love you for posts like this and for the pictures you use like this one.:)

    1. And I love you for always being so sweet!!
      I used to feel like I had to be perfect… but ya know what? I’ve found that people like me better when I’m not! I’m more “relate”able. No one wants to be friends with a perfect person!

  40. Albizia says:

    You are right. Worying about what other people may think is a waste of time. Our blogs are the place to express ourselves, not to obsess over every word we write and how it can be interpreted until we kill the feeling that made us start writing. I can’t say I haven’t ever been afraid of people’s reactions but gradually I got used to the thought of my friends reading what I post and now I can show more of who I really am instead of try to please everyone. Who cares about readers who found my blog while googling “how to treat schizophrenia”, “what happens when I mix vodka and pot” or “heartless bitch” anyway? 😀

    1. So what DOES happen when you mix vodka and pot?
      hehe just kidding :)

  41. Justine says:

    I think it is important to open up a little when you’re writing a blog. Most people want to know who is ‘behind the screen’ in a way, and sometimes the ‘about me’ section isn’t enough. The wonderful thing about a blog is that it gives you the impression not that you know some one, but that you are getting to know them. Each day you find out something new about that person, share your thoughts or offer words of wisdom, and they respond. It is certainly a different sort of friendship, but still a friendship none the less. I tend to censor myself on my blog, but more so just the very very personal things. Other than frequent commenters and one family member, I have no idea who all reads my blog or how many visitors. For that reason, I try to keep things pretty low key, but still interesting.

    Fantastic post, Miss Katie. :)

  42. Efi says:

    The visitors’ number is something that a l0t of bloggers lie about. Which is a little bit strange because we have nothing to win from it. There is for example a blogger who says all the time that she has around 5000 visitors per day. The thing is that she must have forgotten that she has a visible to everyone counter, and the number is much much smaller.

    I agree about the personal info thing. And I think you handle it, very well.

    1. I just don’t feel comfortable sharing my stats, because what’s the point? It will only make people feel bad: if they get less than me, they’ll feel bad, and if they get more than me, I’ll feel bad. LOL so why compare? Blogs are different, and we have different audiences. Numbers are just numbers. I’d rather have ten loyal readers than fifty random searchers who happen across my blog, ya know?

  43. Jennifer - jcd says:

    A new post was here, and then it disappeared… ?

    1. Jennifer - jcd says:

      And it’s back again. Perhaps my computer has schizophrenia.

      1. LOLOL! Don’t worry, my computer is in therapy at the moment for anger management issues. Basically, it hates me, and therefore it is in therapy.
        (Hotmail hates me too… but I don’t think there’s any hope for that.)

    2. Hmmm… do you mean the “Whole Foods Hot Guys” post? I can still see it. Can you see that one? Or was there another one? Let me know!

      1. Jennifer - jcd says:

        Yes, that’s the one. but it’s back now. Odd. Or maybe I’m just hallucinating. I wouldn’t put it past me; I had to take Benadryl this morning for a reaction to something and I’m a little foggy.

  44. Katie, you’re the best.

  45. I know this is an old post, but I’ve been looking up blogging tips from other vegan bloggers and was checking them out.

    I do censor myself a little on my blog. I blog about gardening, mainly container and indoor gardening, with vegan perspectives. A lot of folks in the grow-your-own movement advocate keeping chickens, or even goats, so I try to bring the vegan perspective to it without sounding too preachy. I also censor out some vital personal information, such as my last name and school. I talk about my health journey, and even my personal path to veganism.