Thursday, 21 May 2015

Blogging Therapy: Showing or Telling


Whenever I write a blog post, I always wonder if it’s better to show or tell. I mean blog posts aren’t like novels or stories, are they? Honestly, I find it easier to show, meaning that given the chance, I have a lot more fun writing a story as a blog post than finding something stimulating and intelligent to say or writing something witty and thought-provoking that I’ve observed. Writing stories has done that to me, actually.

I used to be a serial journal-keeper. I wrote volumes and volumes of observations and navel-gazes. I spent hours chronicling whatever was going on in my head, whatever I was feeling, whatever I was experiencing. Then I got published the first time and the tectonic plates of my writing mind shifted. Instead of myself and my life, my head was suddenly filled with my characters and their journey from opening pages to HEA. Those characters and their plights became more real, and certainly more interesting to me, than my own navel-gazes. It’s quite possible that fact speaks more of my neuroses than of my skills.

One of the reasons why a writer blogs is so that readers or potential readers can get to know the author. Though I don’t have a lot to hide and I’m very happy to share observations and thoughts along with my personal experiences with readers, I often find myself wondering, do I offer blog readers a better view of this author when I write a post that’s all me, Me, MEEE, of do I offer up more of myself when I give readers a story, a snippet, a character interview? On the other hand, is that sharing of story on a blog maybe just a way of wearing a mask to keep the distance, to protect my soft inner workings? Or is that sharing of story a much deeper view into the person I am than any blog post observation or navel-gaze I could possibly offer up?

As a writer and an introvert, the question for me is always how much exposure do I want and how much of me do I want to hide away? Almost from the beginning, from the very first time I shared a story I’d written with someone, I felt like I was being an exhibitionist. An exhibitionist! Private, shy introverted me? And yet there it is. The story, at least for me, is only half finished until someone reads it. The act of exhibition, of exposing one self is only half an act if there is no one to watch.

I’ve posted a couple of stories on the Brit Babes blog. I love posting stories, and if there were enough hours in my day and I could manage to do it and still keep up with the rest of my writing responsibilities, I’d more than likely fill my own blog and every guest post I ever do with stories. I loved writing the serial, Demon Interrupted, on my blog. It was fantastic to share an on-going story with my readers. And I’ve loved writing all the stories and character interviews I’ve written for my blog or as someone else’s guest.

Honestly, I feel like the very best way for readers to know me is through the stories I tell. But the very best way for me to hide my delicate inner core and keep it safe is also through those stories. What a wonderful contradiction is the writing life. I’m forever exposing myself while hiding myself, doing a veil dance to both distract the reader and draw the reader in. Perhaps that’s just part of the story-teller’s psyche, or perhaps it’s only just a part of my neuroses. In lieu of very expensive psycho-analysis, I write stories and you lot get to read them. There! You’re all
my therapists! That being the case, I feel that I have to be honest with you. And though I write fiction, though I create worlds and characters in my head, the stories must ring true, the stories must come from a place of truth or you, like any good therapist, will know that I lie, and I would find that most humiliating to have come to you with a story to tell and not to have had the courage to tell it honestly.

Since I feel this way, you might just wonder why I’ve chosen to give you a navel-gaze rather than some sizzling flash fiction that I composed at speed. Well, the truth is I would have preferred to do just that, but I got thinking about the why of it. Why is it that I prefer to tell you a story rather than to talk about me, Me, MEEEE!? And the more I thought about it, the more I though it might be worth a little navel-gaze. Just a tiny one. BUT if you really want a story, and you happen to be a therapist who works best on fiction, the links above will take you to some of my story therapy, in which I thoroughly expose myself through characters romping across a plot, racing toward their HEA. Navel-gaze? Story? You get to choose.

3 comments:

  1. Kd - what a wonderful post and so well put! I love this bit "the very first time I shared a story I’d written with someone, I felt like I was being an exhibitionist." I remember feeling the same way, actually shaking as they read what I'd drawn up from my core and put down in words and bared my psych open, I'm still trembly with something new until at least one other person has read it! Thank you so much and I'm so glad that you write, write, write... :)

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  2. Utterly agree with you and Lily - to be such a hidden soul (and I feel most writers are) and then to be compelled to expose it all albeit through fiction is a total paradox! :D :D :D I love this post - thank you for being so generous with this sharing of yourself x x x x

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  3. Brilliant blog - I'm with you guys. The feeling of exposure - the fear of exposure in fact- is huge- and yet.... xxxxxx

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