One thing that I have learned since I started blogging is that for every post telling you not to do something, there is just as many posts telling you to go for it. There are posts telling you to lighten up and posts telling you to write with more feeling. There are posts telling you to stop writing for free, and there are posts telling you that accepting payment is the worst thing you can do. Then there is everyone in between who is just trying to make sense of it all. A few weeks ago a post did the rounds which said that all Mommy blogs sucked. This isn’t a new thing. Traditional media hates on digital media, including blogs on a regular basis. This post in particular though stung a little too much. Maybe it stung a little too much because it came from inside the ranks. Or just maybe it stung a little too much because the writer used her own experience to tar an entire blogging community.
The conversation around this post got quite heated. Her message got lost amongst all of the generalisations when the post seemed to be talking more about her personal journey and her own regrets. Maybe the post wouldn’t have hit such a sore spot if she framed it more personally and less at an entire group of women.
Not everyone thought that the post was pointed at any one person though. They seemed to believe that people who took offense had shortcomings and that maybe the post had forced them to look at their failings. Or maybe people identified as a Mommy Blogger and so were hurt when a post told them that Mommy Bloggers suck? You don’t get to decide if someone is hurt by your words.
The hard part about writing on the internet is that there are going to be people who misunderstand your words and the message you are trying to relay. There are going to be people who read your words for the first time and don’t understand the pain behind them, or the journey that led to you writing them. There are going to be people who feel hurt when they read those words, and you don’t get to decide that they don’t feel that pain.
However, the best part about the internet is that when words become too painful, we can find different ones. Sometimes we may feel the need to talk about the pain that those words caused, and sometimes it is best to simply leave via the back door. As a writer it’s important to understand that a disagreement, an admission of pain, does not mean an attack on you.
Through these disagreements, I truly believe that we grow. How can we learn if we simply read the same opinions, the same stories and the same words on the page? How can we expect to grow when we refuse to enter discussion from a different viewpoint? Are we all so arrogant as to believe that only our experiences are the truth?
Have you had someone tell you your writing upset them?
How did you respond?
Linking up with Jess for IBOT!
I think the written word has as much to do with the mindset of the reader as it does with the intentions of the writer.
I’m out of the loop with the Mommy Blogger post. I’d better get up to speed! Thanks for cluing me in.
I don’t think I’ve ever hurt anyone with my words, though a lighthearted post where I referred to OCD did anger someone once because I apparently trivialised it, though that was never my intention. I read the post you refer to and took it on the chin because this was coming from an American blogger and their blogging community ‘mommy bloggers’ are so much different to ours. Not all but the way many of them go about it compared to the things we write about is chalk and cheese. You’re right though, I’m sure my words have unintentionally hurt people outside of my blog without meaning to.
I have to say, I really didn’t like that post. She could have made her point so much mor effectively without being nasty, divisive and generalising. But watching the two follow up posts she’s written, I think we can safely say she’s doing nothing but burning her bridges for clickbait. The page views will die off and hopefully she will find something more constructive to say.
Ooh, I haven’t read the follow-ups. I’m trying to resist, but… who am I kidding? Resistance is futile.
I don’t think enough people read me to be upset by what I write – but I have had friends say pissy things on fb that have upset other friends (even though it was aimed at me – I just ignore that stuff) I have also written comments that read really badly and I have to go back after posting to say I’m actually asking the question, not being a sarcastic git…so there’s all that bundled in there too…
That post – so much went on around that post!
Personally, I thought it was quite funny and took no offense whatsoever. In fact, in several places I laughed out loud! For me personally, I thought much of what she said was true. I am not sure why people became so heated by it.
Feedback on anything personal can always sting. But unless it’s direct feedback, I think it says a lot more about the author than anyone else.
I think that sometimes too much is read into words. But I know the post you are talking about, and I honestly think it was out of line. I’m not hurt by it personally because I don’t identify with it. But I think it was unnecessary, and I think her defence of the post since has been downright awful.
Oh god, my writing upsets people all the time and I write tongue-in-cheek garbage about utter nonsense. I’m not surprised by the reaction to that Mummy Blogger carve-up. The tone of the responses perfectly matched the tone of the original piece, and I’m not sure why some people were surprised by that. It was aggressive, demeaning, dismissive and rude. It was never going to be met with patient smiles and polite pats on the head.
I have been told my words have hurt people and it really effected my spirit in writing. It still does some days. I read that post I done of what she said was so true but other stuff was simply because she has made her money and maybe feels a little guilty
Fantastic post. I haven’t read that post in question, but I totally agree with you that writing is a medium in which to get a point across. Especially on the internet where people ‘react’ immediately rather than letting it sit with them and think objectively.
I saw the post on mummy blogging but hadn’t seen the follow-ups. I’m not a mummy blogger… not a mummy at all but am a personal blogger (as well as book reviewer) so can kinda relate.
My book reviews are only ever my opinion and my other posts (about my weight or whatever) are usually just about my feelings. Rather than advice-based… so I can see some might think of it as self indulgent navel gazing. But it helps me and – occasionally – someone else says it’s helped them to know they’re not alone in their feelings, so I appreciate that.
I should mention I’ve got a lot of half-written venting posts which I’ve shelved cos I think people in my life would recognise themselves in them and not be happy about me posting them!
I started reading that post but gave up. I knew I didn’t want to read what was written or bother with the arguments in the comments. You’re exactly right. It’s very easy for people to misunderstand things in writing. We can’t know what sort of mood they’ll be in when they read it or how they will take it. Fortunately, I don’t think I’ve ever upset anyone with my blog. I keep things fairly vanilla 🙂
Regardless of people’s intentions I think you’ve made a really good point- we don’t get to decide what hurts others and need to respect feelings full stop.
We are all different and i have to say that some of the things people AREN’T upset about shock me and vice versa. The internet sure has a lot to answer for, and not all good. Sometimes I just want to crawl into a hole!
I once wrote a book review that got one woman very upset because apparently the author had once said some not nice things about children with autism. I wasn’t aware of this at the time and just wanted to share what I thought was a good read. I was absolutely roasted by this woman (who was also a blogger) and then roasted by her friends, who she got to come by and comment to, all because I didn’t do a background search for every comment the author had ever made before I dared write my review. It really upset me as some of the comments were really personal towards me, and accused me of having no idea what it’s like to live with someone with autism and sharing the views of the author towards kids with autism.
The rub? My brother has autism, but it’s not something I write about on my blog because it’s not my story to share, and I don’t want to compromise his right to privacy. This blogger then went on to write a scathing post of her own about the author of the book and myself for reviewing it. It almost made me stop blogging, as I’d only been blogging for a few months at this stage. I didn’t get defensive about it, though I could have. I simply apologised for any pain my post had inadvertently bought up and then walked away from it all. I know that her pain and words came from her personal experience and in the end really, had nothing to do with me, but it took a few days to stop feeling like the worst person in the world.
I think sometimes reading words that provoke a strong reaction in us can actually be a good thing. After the initial knee-jerk reaction we then have a chance to sit and examine why it is that those words provoked such strong feelings in us, and whether it’s something we can personally address within ourselves. Sometimes our reactions have nothing to do with the original author/speaker and much more to do with how we ourselves feel, and sometimes, the opinions expressed are just ignorant and that’s when it’s time to move on and find new words to read.
Great post, Tegan, you’ve really got me thinking.
Tegan, your words always make me think and this post is no exception. I did read that post. I did read some of the ‘feedback’ but I also think, these days everyone who has a computer and is connected to the internet has an opinion…on everything!! There are some nasty people who leave personal conversations alone to have on-line ones instead. In terms of your writing, not that you are asking, but I find your work is always an excellent and thought-provoking read. Thank you Denyse
I do think people just need to be kinder and more thoughtful online in general. I wasn’t offended by the piece you mentioned, I just didn’t identify with it at all. It seemed like the joy she found in blogging had been taken from her and she was on mission to steal everyone else’s.
One of my favourite things about blogging is that it causes me to look at different points of view. Some I disagree with wholeheartedly, but if I hadn’t read it, I wouldn’t even know someone thought like that. By working through why we disagree, we can formulate our own opinions better and then articulate them with more grace than just assuming everyone thinks the same as we do.
Great post Tegan!
I don’t think I have upset anyone with my blogs. But then I don’t actually think enough people read my writing to upset them. Frankly, most of my writing is about my own journey and personal experience so I would be sad if I did upset someone. Though I do try to limit as much as I can to writing about me and not the rest of the family etc.
I did find out the other day that someone I dearly love had one of their “friends” on fb defriend them because of something that I said. My dear friend said that it was all good though because I was the rational one in that discussion.
Righto now that you have mentioned this “other” post I am off to discover what I am missing out on being so out of the loop!