I run an instructional blog for fiction writers. To be honest — a risk here — I like to think of it as an instructional resource, avoiding the term “blog” altogether.
Not that there’s anything remotely wrong with the word. Heck, that’s precisely what happens on my site. I blog my ass off five times a week, and am proud of it. But that word… it sounds like something that ends up on the business end of a handkerchief after a round of coughing.
It’s just that, perhaps like some readers, I can’t quite let go of the early perception of blogging as a sort of diary-like activity, similar to what some users are doing on Twitter, ad nauseum.
Been here, doing that, thought you’d like to know. Well, not so much.
But every once in a while I use my site to go deep. To get intensely personal. To confess. To show my vulnerable side, which is actually right there on my sleeve most of the time (one of the nice things about being online is that few can see our sleeves).
This happens with about one in ten posts, the others being an intense study of story architecture, thematic resonance, the six core competencies of storytelling, and other stuff so heavy on the how-to it could come from a transcript of a grad course on creative writing.
Or not. God, I hope not.
It’s that one in ten post that I want to share with you today. Up close and personal. Because it’s those one-in-ten highly personal posts that result in the best reader responses.
I’ve given a lot of thought as to why this is so. I think it’s because readers like to know they’re reading the words of a peer, someone who feels their fear, their pain, shares their ambitions and has something to offer on all those fronts.
There’s something magical about vulnerability.
It’s true in relationships, and the fact that it’s true in blogging is no coincidence. Because successful blogging is nothing if not relationship-driven.
Of course, it’s easy to get too much of a good thing — that also is true in relationships — which is why I stick to the one-in-ten ratio for posts that bleed and commiserate. The heart and soul of blogging — especially instructional blogging — will always be content, and it shouldn’t be soggy in any way.
I had another technically-oriented post planned for today, but I shifted gears because today was my one-in-ten gushing on the page day on my site. If you care to see a sample of how raw you go and still relate, maybe give it a go. If not, what you’re reading now is on that path, too.
Which means, my next nine posts here had better toe the instructional line. But for now, I’ll bask in the warm fuzziness of it all, and hope I’ve made you reflect.
We’ll think together next time.