I started my first journal in the winter of my seventh year, but it took me three decades to share my words publicly. It was 2007, and I was in the throes of a decidedly less-than-amicable divorce – a trauma that held my then three year-old daughter in its cruel clutches. I had just discovered an online community called Maya’s Mom and I began to tentatively journal about my experiences with lawyers, mediators, and the court system. A few weeks into the experiment, I received an email from an editor at the site, inviting me to come on board as a paid columnist. They wanted me to continue chronicling my misadventures in a marriage gone wrong.
I hesitated, but only for a moment. I’m a writer.
Three years later, I have over 500 blog posts in orbit around the Web. Some are about business, some are about writing, and some are about personal topics like relationships and being a mom. That first stint – writing on a very personal subject for a very tough audience (my ex and his two sisters were routinely the first to leave comments … and they weren’t kind) – proved to be an excellent training ground for the blogging journey that lay ahead of me.
When you are writing about personal topics, it really is a little like being naked for all the world to see. If you want to connect with people, you need to get to the heart of the thing – whatever it is. You need to peel back the façade and get at the juicy bits, the raw bits, and the not-so-pretty bits. If you dress your stories up in politically correct straight jackets, they lose their ability to reach out and grab people.
Even when I’m writing about less personal topics, I run the risk of (more…)