Writing Week Day #3: Be Yourself but Be Your Best Self

cartoon by By Rubén Hernández Herrera

Be Yourself but Be Your Best Self.

Good writing requires your heart and soul but it may also require your name if you write online. In this age of increasing distance and anonymity online, it’s also increasingly important to let people connect not only to what you write but the person who is writing it. There are some notable exceptions but anonymous blogs generally don’t last long and are much more prone to harsh responses. If I had only two words of advice I could give to the aspiring blogger they would be: “Be Real.”

Now again, there’s a warning that goes along with this bit of wisdom: share too much or too quickly and you’ll end up with a diary instead of a blog. We want to know that you are a human being. We want to see the topic you write about through the filter of your hopes and dreams and fears and follies. We’d rather not know that you pick your nose in the car unless your topic specifically calls for that bit of information. Also be aware that your boss, your mom, and the lady down the street can read what you write and the Internet is forever.

One other key is that the process of being your authentic self in your writing means also that sometimes you’ll have to backtrack, change your mind, or apologize. People grow and mature. The “you” that you presented last year may not be the same person who is writing now. It requires courage to take other people along with you during a transformation process because (and this may come as a shock) not everybody will be happy to see you change.

Along with the challenges, however, there is also a great opportunity: making yourself vulnerable through your writing can be a great motivator towards better behavior, more careful thought, and a little more empathy. In short, it can make you live more intentionally and therefore live better. Sometimes the written word can be your conscience. That’s not always pleasant but it can help make us our best selves if we’re willing to listen.

15 thoughts on “Writing Week Day #3: Be Yourself but Be Your Best Self”

  1. It kind of depends on why you’re writing though. If you want a professional blog with a lot of followers, yeah. If you want to share your experiences with a small group of people who ‘get it’, anonymity might be fine.

    Back when I was a fundy homeschooler, I had a family blog. I didn’t use real names because I wanted to protect my kids’ identity, and that was acceptable in the blog group I was with. I ended up with a few followers. Had to stop when life turned pear shape though.

    1. Exactly.

      I have a satire blog, and because of the subject matter, I absolutely do not want my name attached to it.

      If I had a personal blog, I also wouldn’t want my name attached.

  2. The problem with jodhpurs is that they don’t look good with a decent hat, just those silly helmets. I picture my best self in a vest and either a Greek fisherman’s hat or a derby. (As I proof-read this, I realized I should add pants, shirt, and shoes also)

    I agree that you do need to be honest in your writing, but your admonition to remember who can view it is a good one. I once commented on a not very flattering comment I read on a blog only to be told that I had entered a community I hadn’t been invited too. Both people involved were well known to me. If you don’t want the comments seen, then don’t post them publicly.

  3. Just out of curiosity, are you going to address setting up the blog, or choosing the platform? I’ve had a blogspot blog for a while. It’s been several months since I’ve posted, and since I originally started the blog for a project three years ago, I’ve toyed with restarting it. I’m curious how people go about *setting up* blogs these days.

    1. SFL started as a WordPress.com blog but it soon became obvious that if I wanted to do the kinds of things I had in mind that I would need to move to hosting my own and getting a domain name.

      There are a bunch of reasons for this involving how you monetize (answer: not incredibly well) and being able to own your brand.

    2. But if you are not familiar with code, Blogger seems like the easiest way to make a really killer blog and monetize, imho. I use blogger because it is free and my blog is not worth any additional effort, although to be fair, I created my own template, background and header images, etc.

  4. “Also be aware that your boss, your mom, and the lady down the street can read what you write and the Internet is forever.”

    Realizing this has made me more careful what I say in writing, and the habit has carried over into my daily conversations in the real world. That’s been a change for the better in my case.

  5. But sometimes you just have to tell about the look on the little old lady’s face when you were stopped at the traffic light and she caught you with your digit buried to the second joint, digging for the elusive crustie one. Then, how you had to call for emergency services when she sped off into the busy intersection after you did the finger switcharoo and licked your middle finger clean for her benefit. 😈

    Now I have a song from Disney’s Snow White album stuck in my head, ♫ We dig-dig, dig-dig, dig-dig, dig-dig, dig the whole day through… ♫ 😉

    *as a child I had a 33 1/3 LP with all the songs from the movie. At one time I had them memorized. Now only snipets and flash-backs.

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