Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Truthful Tuesday: It's Not All About You

No, really. It's not.

You know I love blogging. I love reading blogs. I like Facebook. I comment and like stuff with the best of them. I'm doing my best to tweet at least a few things every day. So I'm out there, doing my "author branding" thing and whatnot.

And something struck me the other week as I was doing my lunchly blog reading.

We all talk about ourselves on our blogs. It's what a blog is. But some people go on and on about how amazingly awesome they are.

*whispers The Truth* That kinda bugs me.

I want you to SHOW me how amazingly awesome you are by the content of your posts. The way you use words. Your personality. Your sincerity in comments. In Facebook posts. In tweets.

Show, don't tell.

Because I want to decide for myself how amazingly awesome you are. I hate being told. And you come off sounding kind of snooty (okay, more than kind of -- at least for me). And then I'm less likely to go to your blog again, because you've rubbed me the wrong way.

So, friends. Is there something to be said about humility? I mean, obviously we all think we have something valuable to say each day. Something valuable to write. Something we are brass enough to think agents and editors and the general masses will love. But does that mean we should get on our blogs and shout to the world how amazingly awesome we are?

I want my blog, my website, my work, my personality to shout that -- without words.

What about you? Thoughts on this?

49 comments:

Laura Pauling said...

Such a good example of show don't tell. I haven't run across many blogs like that - but you read way more than I do. I probably wouldn't return to that kind of blog either. Total turn off. They probably don't even realize how they are coming across - or I hope not.

Corey Schwartz said...

I don't think I've come across many blogs like that either. I hope I've never posted anything snooty! (If I did, I was probably just joking!)

Valerie Geary said...

I'm with you on this one... I tend to skim over those types of blogs and then maybe or maybe not come back. I just have to take the chance that I didn't miss something important.

Julie said...

I'm going to work on this. I like to ask a lot of questions on my blog and get opinions. Not sure if this is showing or telling more like asking.

Today I posted my contest entry for Nathan Bransford's Teen Diary Contest as a promotion because his blog has been a valuable resource in my own writing journey.

Scott said...

Hey, now . . . kidding! I try to inject something of myself in my posts, and I hope I'm not the one you're referring to, because if I am . . . dang!!

S

Kristi Faith said...

but I am awesome. LOL J/K!!

I have only seen one of those blogs and I didn't choose to follow. I agree that it's a big turnoff. However, I do like to celebrate those awesome moments with other bloggers when they post something like, "I got an agent!" but I don't think that's what you are having issues with.

I think it's a good idea to ask questions and get opinions, then it isn'at all about you

Tere Kirkland said...

What? You mean people don't care about my desire to purchase a heated toilet seat even though I live in Louisiana? ;)

Excellent post, this morning, Elana. You are so right about not coming off as snooty. Now, self-deprecating, that's another story...

Frankie Diane Mallis said...

OMG this is soooo true, though there are a few blogs out there that do this in an ironic or self deprecating way that is funny and I appreciate, but when the writer is just going all balls to the wall, Im the bomb, it gets boring really fast!

Kerri C at CK Farm said...

Oh man Elana you have me all paranoid now! I think everyone has their own style that makes each blog unique. I truly enjoy reading blogs and am one not to look to much into those aspects...but thats just me. Interesting topic!

Tamika: said...

It's always a challenge for me choosing my blog content. I have to remind myself who the audience is and the content that they can relate too. I don't want to run on and on about myself and alienate my readers, but I don't want to give a little of myself.

I hope I never come across snooty!

Suzyhayze said...

I just like to write. SO I write and what comes out is there. I've often wondered about writers who simply write of the industry or the craft (not that those things are unimportant.. I am only where I am because of the knowledge base I gathered from all you smarties...)

BUT.. generally speaking, I need to love what I am writing and I spend time on crafting comments as well as blog posts to reflect WRITING. ha.

Liza said...

Yeow...pause for thought. I hope I'm blogging to better my writing, not bragging. Of course, given there isn't much to brag about, maybe I'm OK? Hmmm. Must ponder. Thanks for a direct reminder...it's not all about us folks. Consider the reader. Oh dear, may have to go back and re-read...

Roni @ FictionGroupie said...

I haven't run across many of these. Although, I sometimes wonder about this when I do my "how to" craft posts because who am I to say how to? But I learn best by summarizing and sharing what I've discovered in my own studying, so hopefully I don't come across as a know-it-all, lol.

ElanaJ said...

I love this discussion. First, I don't think any of YOU are the ones I'm referring to, but it's always good to consider the readership of the blog.

For example, I write for the QT blog, and our readers ARE looking for How-to posts and for us to be the ones to instruct. So I adopt that persona over there. Over here? Ha ha ha ha! Not so much.

Elle Strauss said...

Oh, man, am I one of those? I hope not. Even though I post about what I'm experiencing as a writer, I'm hoping it resonates with the writers who read my blog. Either to empathize with or get inspiration from.

I struggle with the whole author branding thing too. I wish we still lived in the days where all we had to be was a writer, where we didn't have to wear all these other hats that may not fit all that well, if you know what I mean. I'm still trying to figure twitter out...I'm trying to see the point in facebook.

On the up side, I only started blogging because I'd just returned from a conference where all the fingers were pointing, you must start a blog, and it turns out that I really like it. So maybe I'll find love for twitter and facebook someday, too.

BTW, thanks for the follow. (I guess I could read that as a blogpass). :)

Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought said...

I'm attracted to humble people and blogs that maintain humility. I tip my hat to your point.

~ Wendy

~Jamie said...

Um, but what if we sound like an idiot on our blog? I am so screwed.

WindyA said...

Teeheeheee, thanks for getting this out there. Well said. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who feels this way or ends up skimming or completely skipping over posts of the "I am awesome, hear me roar" variety.

I also find myself getting disinterested when all people write about is writing. I LIKE to read about the other facets of people's lives too. It makes them more real. It SHOWS me they are real people with real lives. When these things tie-in with writing, it makes me see them as someone I can relate to. Someone I could call a friend. Someone I would care enough to take whatever limited time of the day I have to make sure ands top by to READ their blog and comment as able.

Thanks for getting this great discussion going!

Nisa said...

I think my blog has the opposite problem. I'm struggling with thinking I actually have anything important to say... :P

You're right though. If a person isn't humble and sincere, it doesn't make me want to spend much time reading about them.

L.T. Elliot said...

Slap me if I come across like that. Seriously. Just slap me.

Authenticity and honesty is something I always strive for. Of course, I have to censor myself because who really wants to hear about my bad day? I don't even want to!

Katie said...

What a great show don't tell example, Elana! I don't have any thought on this right now - too tired. But fascinating post!

Tara McClendon said...

I wonder what it says about me that I'm actually worried this might be me? Food for thought.

If you worry that you might come across wrong, does that mean you should consider changing? Or does the fact that you worry mean you probably take your tone into consideration when you write, providing a nice balance?

Hmm. Interesting thoughts.

Carolyn V. said...

Oh my gosh!!! I hope I'm not snotty.

When I am playing myself up, it's usually because I'm in the dumps. Hopefully I'm not in the dumps too much. =)

Angie said...

Yes. Like yours does!

Danyelle said...

Agreed. I like being able to get to know the person behind the blog without the ego getting in the way. Egos are such fussy things. Fortunately, I think these are few.

*worries a bit*
*surreptitiously shoves her ego in the closet* O:)

You are awesomely Elana both here and on QT. No ego involved. :o)

Angela said...

Yikes! I don't think I've run across a blog that's all, "I AM SO AWESOME!" I hope I dont. Ever.

I also hope I never come across this way online. I mean, we all know my zombie hiakus are awesome, but me? I'm just a chick who likes to hunt and peck on a keyboard. :)

Lisa and Laura said...

I'm shaking in my boots. I hope we NEVER come off sounding like we think we're better than anyone else. Because, um, we're not. I love reading blogs where people put themselves out there--share their writing, their experiences, a piece of their lives. It makes it easier to build friendships. And you are SO right about showing versus telling. It's easy to forget this important rule when blogging. I always need the reminder.

Heather Sunseri said...

Interesting discussion. I, of course, jumped to wondering if "Oh, my, could this be true about me?" But I think one of your commenters is right. If you worry about this being yourself, then, you probably are already aware of the issue when you're writing, so it's probably not you.

PJ Hoover said...

It's like what's needed is a perfect mix between humility and confidence, because both are really important!

Shelli said...

But I'm so fabulous!!!!! ;)

Wendy Morrell (aka Quillfeather). said...

Couldn't agree more.

Egos bore me to death.

Marybeth Poppins said...

I absolutely agree. Sometimes I "mock" that I am awesome, but I rarely mean it. LOL

Travis Erwin said...

I feel the same. Too much ego and I avoid their blog.

storyqueen said...

This is a good post. Sometimes it is difficult to discern the tone of a post (are they being whiney or funny? bragging or sarcastic?)...but we are writers, and we have control over the words we choose.

I don't plan or write my blog posts in advance. I just see what comes out. Sometimes I re-read a post and think, "Sheesh, that doesn't sound like I thought it would...."

Shelley

Southpaw said...

Now you have us all paranoid.

beth said...

LOL @Southpaw--I was thinking the same thing. I actually don't notice this problem very much--we must be reading different blogs?--but then that made me think that it was probably me who does that sort of thing, without even realizing it!

Jemi Fraser said...

I'm with you! Snottiness drives me batty! I think it's pretty easy to spot personality in a blog. And there are some I avoid.

Jessica said...

LOL Now I'm wondering whose blog you read.
And if mine comes across that way, because I know in "real" life I can def. be a know it all, though I'm trying to curb that. Heh.

Most of the blogs I read are wonderful. I love the people who write them because they're sincere and sweet. :-)

Iapetus999 said...

I love those "me me me" blogs because I like to go on there and disagree with the bloggers. And the commenters. And get banned.
But this is why I rarely go to blogs written by established authors...yes there's some good content, but there's also a ton of marketing crap pushing their latest titles. Whatevs.

Mary Campbell said...

I've only noticed this on published authors blogs. I don't know if it's ego, but it does get boring reading about all the awesome things that are happening to them now that they are published. I'm happy for them, but they start posting less and less - which is fine because their busy, but when they do post all they do is post about the newest awesome thing that happened with them or their book. Hope that makes sense. Definitely hope I'm not one with ego. I just write what comes in that moment and if I'm writing about something good that happened it's only because I'm so excited to be apart of this blogging a writing community.

Natalie said...

I'm with you on this one too (and I really hope I never come across snooty!) My favorite blogs and bloggers are the ones that are generous. I like blogs that ask questions and bloggers that are interested in what their readers have to say. I also really appreciate thoughtful comments (though all comments are nice).

Christine Fonseca said...

Yep - I agree! Authenticity is key...always (in my opinion)

lynnrush said...

I came late to this party, but I've enjoyed the comments as well as the post. Fantastic discussion.

Karen said...

**facepalm** Hope I have never done this.

Wait...I've just thought of someone who does this pretty often. Yes...yes, it is annoying.

Good post.

Theresa Milstein said...

This made me laugh out loud (And not too many blogs accomplish that). I've gotten show and not tell comments from manuscripts, but not my blog.

Since blogs are pretty self-centered by nature, it is a common phenomenon. Because my blog is about the fact that I can't get a full-time teaching job, so I'm forced to sub, plus I have yet to be published, how big could my ego possible be?

See? It's all about me. Blah, blah, blah.

Casey McCormick said...

I heart you and your blog, Elana.

: )

Melanie Avila said...

I'm curious who prompted you to say this, because I don't read bloggers who go on and on like that. I might start to read them, but if they're too full of themselves I move on.

sanjeet said...

I tend to skim over those types of blogs and then maybe or maybe not come back. I just have to take the chance that I didn't miss something important.

Work from home India

C.L. Beck, author- MormonMishaps said...

Although I enjoy hearing about people's kids and grandkids, it bothers me when I go to a blog and that's all that's there. There's a place for that type blog, and it's as a family blog, not as a public blog.

'Course it's just my opinion, but a steady diet of news about little Jimmy eating rocks and little Suzy hitting him over the head when he does gets to be a little boring. I seldom go back to those type blogs.

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