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.