Rachel Held Evans observes:It’s no secret that blogging requires thick skin.
Each post subjects your ideas, interests, and feelings to the scrutiny of other people, who through the anonymity of the internet are more likely to tell you exactly what they think. A single post might lead some to call you a hero and others to question your humanity.
I used to be incredibly sensitive to criticism. So one of the many reasons I love blogging is that it has forced me into a healthier relationships with feedback.
I’ve started owning what I have to say and I’ve stopped taking criticism so personally. I’ve become less swayed by the reaction of other people, less vulnerable to the ups and downs of public opinion.
In short, I’ve grown thicker skin.
Reading her post, I reflected that very personal blogging—shared with tout le monde— on a daily basis, as Anne Jackson did in Flower Dust is an unprecedented experiment in the history of mankind. It requires considerable nervous energy—to not only come up with a thought worth sharing, but cast it into a form worth sharing, and then put it out there for the world’s admiration (or secret contempt or pity). And then do it again, the very next day. And again!!
Every now and again, you witness a blogger you follow, Anne Jackson, in the now deleted Flower Dust, temporarily fragment, go through a very, very dark and rough patch—while they keep blogging and facebooking about it—and you read with the grim and horrified fascination of one watching a car crash in slow motion.
And even if one does try to project a favourable image to the world, any personal blogger ends up making witting or unwitting revelations about her character, and blind spots….
Read enough blogs, and you will realize which posts don’t quite ring true—mainly those in which the blogger attempts to project an image to the world which is more favourable than the reality or attempts to preach, rather than share her struggles.
There is nothing like blogging to toughen one up.
It definitely forces one to grow up and, as Rachel says, own what you have to say.
We are all probably born with an innate desire for approval; it’s probably a biological survival instinct.
However, nobody, not even Jesus (who had a perfect character, except that his outspokenness would be considered a flaw by many) won everyone’s approval.
If one blogs every day—as I try to, while at home—one will inevitably write the occasional trite, boring, poorly written post, and one has to make peace with it.
Additionally, you open yourself and your ideas up to the world, and are guaranteed to sometimes disappoint.
I realize that some of my posts will disappoint readers who seeking inspiration—and I myself often read many blogs looking for just that: reminders and encouragement to continue on the narrow road of discipleship.
Some will disappoint those seeking distraction or stimulation, originality or cleverness –and I too read some blogs simply because they make me think.
I have, a couple of times, mentioned the one issue on which I depart from evangelical orthodoxy, and have known my more conservative friends would disapprove if they read it—and they did, and did!
My (on the whole) evangelical orthodoxy probably annoys some of my liberal friends.
And, it’s struck me, that I haven’t yet begun blogging on the whole charismatic side of my faith, though I have been a charismatic with a small c for as long as I have been a Christian.
While, theologically, I am an orthodox evangelical, I am politically rather left-wing, and viscerally opposed to much of American foreign policy, which probably annoys some of my American readers.
Some posts don’t have much to them, and probably disappoint everyone!!
Blogging teaches one to be oneself—knowing that no one will like all your posts or ideas; but all the same, it is important to own them.
I remember an axiom while I was doing a Masters in Creative Writing—one has to write the bad poems, and get them out of the way to get to the good poems.
It’s the same with blog posts. It’s sometimes good to write down an idea that keeps recurring to you, even if it seems unpromising. Perhaps it is calling out to be explored in greater detail; perhaps it needs to be written down so that you think it through more clearly.
Interestingly, the discipline of writing my ideas down and publishing daily has made me more outspoken and self-confident in real life, and far more willing to express my own ideas with quiet confidence, and to own them.