You are thinking about sharing something online:
Do you want to share a picture of your family? Awesome. Family is a great thing. Before you hit publish, are you comfortable with that picture? Really comfortable?
All the blogging rules say pictures are important, and people want to see the faces behind the blog, but if you don't feel completely comfortable putting pictures of your kids (or your spouse, or you) on your blog, don't do it. Once you put that picture out there, it is out there forever.
*If you have a picture that involves your kid's poo or vomit - or your poo or vomit - that is called oversharing. Move away from the publish button and delete that picture immediately. Please.
Do you want to write about your children? Awesome. I like stories about your kid (sometimes).
Is it a funny story? Great. Is it funny because your kid did something embarrassing, or something embarrassing happened? Maybe not so great.
I know how tempting it can be write that really funny story. You just know people are going to laugh, and comment, and share, and by the end of the day you will be a world-famous humorist.
But it probably won't happen like that.
The things you write online last forever, so you need to know before you sit at the keyboard if writing that story (that could hurt your kid's feelings when they read it one day) is really worth it for a few laughs and pageviews.
Do you want to write about your childhood? Awesome. Do you have a nice memory about a trip to the beach when your family was having a group hug, and the sun set at just the right time, and then a dolphin went swimming past, and you saw a shooting star? Or you want to share your grandmother's special cookie recipe? Go ahead and publish that now.
Warm and fuzzy memories are always nice, and you have no reason to fear sharing them.
Do you want to talk about dark things in your childhood? Hard things? Write it. Write hard. Then let that post sit in drafts. Think about it, maybe even for a couple of days, or a week (or even longer) - are you ready for the fallout? Are you ready to answer questions, get emails, and possibly have uncomfortable conversations with family members or friends? If you are ready, hit publish (and send me the link so I can support you).
I firmly believe that writing about hard things is healing, sharing those words is even more healing, and touching other people with those words is powerful. Being a little scared, or very scared, to put your words out there is okay. But if you are not ready to deal with what comes with having people read them; don't hit publish.
Please hear my heart on this, if you don't hit publish, you are not a coward! Your blog might not be the place for that story, or this might not be the time to tell it. That is okay. When you are ready to share, you will. Don't pressure yourself to share hard things before the time is right.
Sharing is awesome.And it is much more awesome with boundaries in place. You need to be able to hit publish with confidence, knowing you are completely okay sharing that post, picture, or story.
I know my boundaries. Over my years of writing, some of the boundaries have moved. It is okay to make a new decision about what you will or will not share.
I share pictures of my family. I use my real name (but I didn't in the beginning). I might share embarrassing stories about myself, but when I share a funny story about someone I love, it is never embarrassing. I write about my childhood, the good and the bad (and I change names where appropriate). Although lives intersect, I do my best to not tell other people's stories. I write about my healing journey, the hard days and the victories. I do not share personal details about my marriage.
The balance is not hard at all, if you have your boundaries in place before you sit down to write. If you already know what you are not going to write about, it makes it easier to find something you will write. And for all those other words, you can buy a journal.
What are your blogging boundaries?
This post has been wandering around my mind for a while, but I was inspired to finally write it after reading Strive For The Happy at Sellabit Mum, a really great post about what and how she is going to share online.