Thursday, February 26, 2009

What Not to Write About

If we have a conscience, we mom writers have so much we feel can’t write about that it is amazing we are able to write at all!

When I sit down to write, there is a whole host of people sitting before me in my mind, judging what I am thinking about putting down in black and white. Some of them are shaking their heads, saying, “No, you can’t write about that, Elizabeth.”

Family – while most of us write about our families, every family has its own unwritten rules about what will be kept private. When one is consumed with a problem that falls into the “private” domain, it can become almost impossible to write! And so much of our experience falls under the family domain. It’s hard to talk about your own childhood without admitting that your family isn’t perfect.

Friends – If we are writing something flattering, we usually don’t have any qualms about mentioning a friend by name. However, sometimes I want to touch on an experience that has to do with a friend and I wonder, will she mind if I talk about this?

Former Friends – I have no negative feelings toward people classified as “former friends”. I still pray for them. If the relationship was not meant to continue, there was probably a good reason for that. Sometimes I wonder if they ever read my blog, and I think about the topics they were sensitive about. If they were touchy about those subjects, others will be too. This helps me to speak about those things in a more sensitive fashion.

Teachers and Other Moms at School – I often write about things that affect me and my children at the school they attend. While I never mention the name of the school and don’t even know if anyone there knows I write a blog, I sometimes wonder how they would feel about some general criticisms I have made of the school. If people seem stand-offish with me, I ask myself if it’s possible they read about, and recognized, themselves in my blog.

God – I always hope that what I am writing is pleasing to God. He gave me the give of writing and I want to use it to glorify Him.

Last but not least: Ourselves – Whenever we write, we bare our souls. To what degree are we able to do that?

So, when I sit down to write, how do I keep all these voices at bay? I don’t. Every post is an act of courage. When I finally hit “Publish”, or put a manuscript in the mailbox, I feel like I can breath again.


Loren Christie said...

Oh wow, that picture in this post is stunning. I want that lady's gown, and red coat. Alas, I have no place to wear such finery.
You know I can relate to this post...Some of my writing makes me feel like I'm walking in Pathmark, completely topless, especially when I get responses from people I went to college with, or see in town on the blog.

Leticia said...

I identify with this, in fact I think my personal blog is the hardest to write for that reason. said...

Found this post from "Best Posts of the Week" - I do not have an anonymous blog and I use my blog as a semi-diary. These are all things I have to consider as well. I have a general rule to never mention negative things about people or even to discuss any of their negative behaviors or actions. It's hard though sometimes because I'd really like to vent ... but I figure the golden rule applies to blogs too. :)