Writing For Myself First, Others Second On My Blog

Gossip. Linkbait.  Breaking news.  Politics.

All these things draw big traffic to the top websites listed on Technorati.

monthly
Creative Commons License photo credit: jorel314

Yesterday I read a wonderful post over at the BlogHer website, Getting Over My Insecurities and Writing Through It which caused this to be my 4th blog post in less than 12 hours!

I want to write.

I want to write something that will make you laugh. I want to write something that will make you cry. I want to write something that will make you nod your head in agreement. I want to write something that will make you shake your fist at your computer monitor in anger. I want to make something that will make you think. I want to write something that will make you appreciate what you have a little bit more.

I want to write something that will make you jealous. I want to write something that will make you want to be my friend. I want to write something that will make you hate me just a little bit. I want to write something that will make you pick up the phone to call someone to tell them you love them. I want to write something that will make you want to hug someone. I want to write something that will make you want to turn on your music and dance all by yourself. I want to write something that makes you wish you were a kid again. I want to write something that makes you want to grow old.

It was really very touching to me because it spoke about what I want to do when I write but sometimes feel like i’m not the best storyteller.  As I write this post, I have 95 posts that have never left draft mode.  I am very thankful that my blog has done well, earning a Google Page Rank of 6 and even got a linkback from Lifehacker for an article on Google Voice a few months back.  The ongoing challenge is making my blogging as free flying as my words, thoughts and actions.

I used to self filter a lot in real life.  I would think of something I wanted to say but hold back for fear of being judged.  It felt like a form of paralysis.  Each time I could tell I  had made the wrong choice because I would dwell on not speaking up.  Sometimes the situations would anger me, other times annoy but any way you cut it, I was not expressing myself to my own satisfaction.  I was able to overcome this by doing things that helped me break free including:

  • Improv comedy classes
  • Practice saying things before I said them to someoneJ
  • Journaling situations I had experienced
  • Getting advice from more outspoken people

In 2006, I finally broke free of my life-long, self imposed censorship.  Unfortunately, I realize it has simply manifested in a digital form!  I first noticed it with Lifehacker.
livehacker comment invite

Lifehacker used to require approval before you could leave comments.  I’d found out about it in 2005/2006 and began to follow the delicious ideas of how to use technology to save time.  The concept was entirely new to me and eventually led me to David Allen’s book, “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress Free Productivity” otherwise known as GTD.  Finally, I worked up the courage to apply to be a commenter and got the above invitation April 13th, 2006.  Boy was I excited!  I was going to be a part of the Lifehacker inner circle!

Guess what?  I got comment stage fright.  That’s right.  I wasn’t even writing the main meat and potatoes blog post and over-analyzed my potential comments to the point where I decided against commenting.  I just didn’t feel what I had to say would add that much value.  Later, I was to learn this is called “Lurking”.  Lurking can be done on:

  • email lists
  • forums
  • blogs
  • social networks like Twitter

Back in they days of party lines where multiple homes would share a single line, I’m sure there were lurkers just listening in and not talking.  See I think if I were a guy it would be creepy but since I’m a girl it’s more geeky uncomfortable than creepy.
Get it off
Creative Commons License photo credit: kungfootv
Why is this a problem?  Because part of me wants to engage, to be considered entertaining and funny but other parts want to avoid the spotlight and being noticed.  Twitter has been hugely helpful in helping me.  With a commitment to be transparent on my blog and Twitter, I’ve openly shared thoughts, ideas, goals and intents that I normally would have kept private.  Thankfully, by sharing this information, it has helped me move forward.  People have been supportive, have been able to identify with my struggles and have given good feedback.

I will always be an introvert who prefers to spend time alone but I feel compelled to be more social and over the last two years, I’ve made gigantic leaps as if I were running an Introvert marathon!

Now face face when I’m talking to one other person? I’m golden.  We can laugh, chat, discuss, brainstorm or just sit quietly.

Add a person and now my brain get a bit tangled.  Who to talk to first?  Am I making enough eye contact with the second person?

Add a group and now I actually change from my seemingly outgoing and friendly self into “Super Introvert” where I take the role of listener.  Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing because then I ask a lot more questions and make note of who I want to talk to one to one later on.

  • How do you deal with small groups vs big groups?

Thankfully, I have some really good friends and folks in my life who are just fine with how I am.  Plus, it has become so much easier than it was a few years ago.  I get frustrated because it’s hard to control my reversion to Introvertism.  It’s sort of like having the hiccups in church.  Some of my friends are real charmers like Brad.  He can walk into a room not knowing anyone and 12 minutes later have a group gathered around him while he and several of them are bellowing with laughter.  He has a true gift.  Hope to connect with him in Las Vegas while I’m there for Blogworld!

And for Lifehacker?  It took me almost a year to post my first comment and made about 30 over 3 years:
my first lifehacker comment
That’s it.  That’s my piece.  I’m going to continue efforts to not self censor when writing and continue to read other blogs for inspiration!

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This entry was posted in About Adria on by .

About Adria Richards

Adria Richards is a developer and entrepreneur focused on digital equality. She has been involved in more than 35 hackathon events in the Bay Area and abroad. Embracing her inner nerd, Adria moved moved to San Francisco in 2010 to pursue her passion for technology. Previously she has worked in technical and training roles for enterprise, nonprofits and startups; from Apple to Zendesk. Adria has been teaching technology and developing curriculum since 2007.Adria is a popular speaker at major tech conferences including SXSW, O’Reilly Web 2.0, Launch, The Lean Startup Conference and TEDx. She speaks at startups and coding boot camps about culture, communication and diversity. Adria has attended TED, LeWeb and MLOVE.In her free time, Adria enjoys snowboarding, yoga and bacon; not necessarily at that order. Her Twitter account is followed by President @BarackObama. She blogs at ButYoureAGirl.com and is a YouTube Content Creator.

8 thoughts on “Writing For Myself First, Others Second On My Blog

  1. Stephanie Elie

    I just came over from the BlogHer site saw you as a presenter and wanted to come and check out the site. Thanks for sharing this post – I'm the same way a total introvert but being online has helped a little bit. Hope to run into you at blogher.

  2. Sherri

    Hi
    found your blog from another site. all the things that are above in gray are exactly why I wanted to start a blog. I'm new at this whole thing and I wonder if I really have anything valuable to say after all.
    enjoyed my visit here.
    now following you
    tSherri

  3. adriarichards

    Stephanie,

    Thanks! Yes, I'll be presenting on a panel about how to utilize your web
    traffic and embrace your value.

    I also have 95 drafts which have never seen the light that I would love to
    share but for one reason or another, I changed my mind halfway through!
    There are some blogs which have a “post your drafts” day and you must flush
    them all out onto your blog, finished or not! The thought scares me but I
    did make a commitment to transparency and the promise of progress helps me
    overcome my fears and doubt.

    If you see my fluffy hair, come on over and say hello!

  4. adriarichards

    Sherri,

    You know? Reading the post, I kept saying to myself, “Yes. Yes. Yes”.

    I much prefer talking to typing. Emails to people are easy while blog posts
    are difficult.
    I've talked with a few bloggers who push out a ton of posts to get insight
    but in the end, I think writing is just a more natural outlet for some
    folks.

    Keep trying!

  5. TransAlchemy

    I split myself in two,
    My professional blog
    and my say whatever the F%$& I want personal blog…

    It's best this way as I let out steam on my personal blog before I go trashing my readers in my professional blog… LOL

  6. Cathy

    Just like you I am also a blogger. I used to self filter anxious I am giving away too much of myself but just as you said “I was not expressing myself to my own satisfaction. The platform we’re working on is too impersonal we need to sprinkle emotions to capture our readers.

    For would be bloggers don’t deprieve people from being encouraged and inspired with what’s on your mind. Write passionately.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Cathy:)

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