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!
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.
This is me. I am silly. If you don’t like it, that’s okay.
The only person who needs to be okay 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.