How much self disclosure is too much?
Some is essential, because readers need a degree of background information, and not only on the facts and logistics of a non-personal issue. As long as I want to communicate why I care, there will be times when I’ll need to reveal myself.
I worry that speaking too much from my “me” place might turn off readers, for two main reasons:
- Readers would be bored as hell. Why would someone who wants me to get back to my WordPress walkabout (or whatever) want to read stories about my feelings?
- Too much of the wrong information is a distraction. Once I start getting naked, every layer of disclosure presents new questions about how much is too much, and too much is… LOL… well, let’s move along.
Getting Into Trouble
There is such a thing as not enough of a good thing. Just to the not-far-enough side of self indulgence I would get into trouble with myself if I did not dig into own voice, for two main reasons:
- I’d be bored as hell. It’s not only about the reader. I’ve got to be engaged, too, you know.
- The guilt would not be inspiring. I’d feel like a spammer, adding more junk to the heap of what’s online.
Writing For An Audience Greater Than Three
For those of you who don’t have magical insight to my thought process, an audience greater than three is anyone more than me, myself and I.
One good thing talking to myself is that I already, hopefully, understand my own frame of reference. If not, that frame of reference may be too loosey goosey to hold together in sentences and paragraphs. It may be like a half-finished sculpture that needs to be rolled down a hill to knock off the a few problematic parts. I won’t know until I take a chance on turning it over a few times.
Sometimes I find out what I’m really thinking after I start to write.
The minute I write something down I’ve got issues. Grammar and the “spellchucker” vie for attention like wild toddler twins playing trampoline on someone else’s bed, while just around the corner the imagined “someone else” lurks, wondering what’s going on and how long it will last.
If I try to placate the lurker I lose the idea.
Some ideas remind me of my uncle attempting to wink charmingly while saying to my aunt, “your baby needs changing.”
Herding The Feral Idea Virus
No, I didn’t know what I was going to write after that heading. It just popped out somehow, and then there was a little feeling of spark. Good spark. I can work with good spark, and, like compost, it doesn’t have to smell good to lead to something good.
I may not want to share the sources or products of all my good sparks, but if I can avoid getting sidetracked into too much personal information, letting *some* of my personal crap out to play can help get the writing rolling. If I am willing to expose myself to the elements I can start on no spark, stir the compost and watch for signs of rebirth amongst the afterbirth.
Sign: this is what might happen next.
Sign: honey, you’re not going to say that in public.
Sign: *why* you’re not going to say that in public is… excuse me…
Sign: *why* is. Is is is.
Written with a pair of “compost” kickers and ten gallon tip of the hat to Jonathan Fields Strip Blogging: how naked will you go?, and a grinning honorific to my talented friend Miriam and her encouragement for my writing.