The truth about secrets

You guys should be extremely grateful you didn’t have to read the first version of this post, because it was awful.  It was awful because it was way too much like the kind of post I’m about to complain about.

I love you reader friends.  I love that you comment, that you read, and that you almost never tell me “GEEZ, Kat, navel-gaze much?”

I’d love to have a million of you, since for one thing, it doesn’t take any more effort to write for a million folks than it does to write for one.  Although, come to think of it, my web host might not be all that thrilled for me to have a million of you, unless I paid them a lot more for hosting.  But I digress…

"maybeshewill" by Chris Ensell on Flickr.
"maybeshewill" by Chris Ensell on Flickr.

The point I’ve been failing to get to is, so help me God, if I become so convinced of the crushing power of my nonexistent A-list blogger cewebrity status that I start writing posts that amount to a gossip rag’s “Blind Items” about people I know in real life, just shoot me.  Particularly if I don’t even do it well.

I’m trying to spare someone some embarrassment here.  So despite the fact that this post was in fact, prompted by an actual, painfully bad post I read on someone else’s blog, I’m not going to link to the person or the post in question.  Yes, to a certain extent that makes this a blind item.  Which is why I rewrote it.

Because here’s the thing: there was an actual, meaningful blogging lesson in this person’s painfully bad blog post. So I’m sharing it here, with enough detail that my reader friends who are also bloggers or writers can actually learn something potentially useful from it.

When we write, even if it’s a blog that’s intended to be a dumping ground for our random thoughts, we’re asking for people’s attention.   In this day and age, that’s actually an awful lot to ask of a person.  If they give it, we owe it to them to provide something in each post that might conceivably be worth that attention.

Please, please do not write posts that make you recall a note passed in Junior High math class (“a friend of a friend did something which I’m not telling you about that really upset me, and I’m really upset about it…”) and then try to draw some Big Meaningful Life Lesson out of it.

If we don’t provide enough detail for the reader to know even vaguely what kind of situation we’re talking about, and then tack some  all-purpose moral straight out of an episode of The Facts of Life onto the (non)story, the reader is going to feel cheated.

They’ve given you their attention, and all you’ve given them is an attempt to elicit sympathy weakly disguised as a post that was supposed to have actual value to them.  “Here, share in my wisdom.  Except there isn’t any.”  Doesn’t feel like a good trade-off for your time and attention, does it?

I’ve probably written posts like that in the past.  It’s a common newbie blogger mistake.  You’re trying to be all vulnerable, but you’re not actually disclosing any personal information. That’s not being vulnerable, it’s being a drama queen.  There’s a difference.

I’m not a newbie blogger anymore.  If I start doing that now, you all have my permission to pelt me with rotten smelt.

Should you ever run into me in the real world, and happen to have some rotten smelt in your possession at the time.

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