Home   |   LCS Prints Store   |   About Me   |   FAQ   

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Air Brushing





This is the June post for Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group.  The goal is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.  You can find links to more posts here.



There’s been a lot of press lately, about the illusion inherent in social media, that what many people choose to post online represents a sort of a false-positive aspect of life.  It’s like the print magazine airbrush syndrome.  Long before the Internet, woman were bombarded with unblemished images of sylph-like creatures gracing the front page of Elle, Mademoiselle and Vogue. Those of us with freckles and birthmarks and cellulite were left feeling we could never measure up. But now, it seems everyone’s in the airbrushing business.   We create on-line personas, and our readers believe they know us, perhaps failing to recognize they see only the pieces we choose to share.  

I’m no different.   I have always endeavored to keep a degree of privacy here, and so while you read about the parades I attended, or the writing class I took, or my angst as my daughter grew up, you didn’t hear about the bad days at work, the family squabbles or illnesses. 
 
This practice makes things hard when difficult realities are brandishing themselves around me, and it’s time to write a blog post.  The tough stuff is all I can think of, but it’s not fodder for this blog.  So I’ll tell you this.  I’m at a loss right now.  My WIP is out on a visit to a reader.  I don’t have an idea for anything else.  Most mornings I get up and write, but lately, the lack of a manuscript and the things going on in real life have distracted me.  Production is at a five-year low.  Over the last few weeks, I did write a poem that I think is good, but right now, it’s too truthful, and exposes something I can’t put out there, not now anyway.

And so you get this.  A post that wonders.  How much of your real life do you share online?

25 comments:

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

For me, it's about balance. I want to share but still keep a degree of privacy. I am very conscious of TMI = too much information. Even in real life, I don't share everything with everyone. I strive to be positive but still realistic, still real.

Hang in there! Everything will work out.

Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Hope your manuscript returns soon.
I'm very private online. Promised my wife when I started this journey I'd keep our private life private. So I just share what I enjoy and the occasional insecurity.

mshatch said...

Oh boy can I totally relate to this. There's a whole bunch of stuff I don't post on line about how crappy things really are, because honestly, who wants to hear about it? But sometimes it's hard to get up and do what needs to be done precisely because of the crappy stuff.

I hope things get better and a shiny new idea comes into your life soon. Sometimes it helps to have something to pour all bad/sad/mad feelings into.

cleemckenzie said...

I haven't shared too much of the bad stuff. Yet, the one time I broke down and did, I was amazed at how many comforting comments I received.

We all have illness, death, divorce, bad hair days. I guess I'd rather put on a happy face and pretend my life is perfect--at least when I'm blogging.

Arlee Bird said...

I believe what you're saying is true. There is so much on a lot of blogs that I don't believe, while others I don't see any reason people would be making it up.

I do think you have to be careful not just online, but in everyday encounters. There are some things I just avoid voicing my opinion on because if certain people get wind of what's been said they can create real problems. I get opinionated about some things, others I'll approach with a bit of whimsy, and then others I just keep quiet about.

The bad family stuff like squabbles should remain in the home and I get a bit squirmy when I read something like that.

Lee
Tossing It Out

Nick Wilford said...

There is an argument that social media does actually expose people more (ie unflattering pictures of celebs) but us non-celebs can control it more. I do talk about writing insecurities (that's what the IWSG is for, after all), so I believe my blog is real. When it comes to family matters I focus on the positive and good achievements. We all have rubbish days but we should be able to talk them out with our nearest and dearest, I don't think "in public" is the place.

Jenni Enzor said...

I'm the same way, and I don't think it's a bad thing. I like my privacy, especially when it comes to tough things.

I've been where you are though. I do get a little antsy when I don't have a project or an idea right away. But it's also those times when I've taken a break or had some writer's block that something good comes out of it--a new idea I never would've considered otherwise or just new energy for my writing.

It's hard to write when things are not going well, but be gentle with yourself. It will come back.

Robin said...

I think I am the exception to the rule. I throw it all out there. It helps me to get a handle on the crappy stuff. I want the perspective. I truly believe that part of the reason I finally started to get better is that I started blogging. If I hadn't done that and been brutally honest... I am not really sure where I would be. Was it uncomfortable sometimes? Oh, you bet. It still is. I just posted something that made my stomach hurt. And my head. Well, you get the idea...

I guess I live under this idea that if people don't really know you then they can't really like you. We don't like people exclusively for their victories (though we do want those for our friends and we do celebrate them), but we appreciate them more if we understand how FAR they came to get there. How many times have you told me that you can READ the difference in where I was to where I am now? Well, part of that journey is because of encouragement from YOU (among others).

You need not share as much as I do on here, but you don't really know how much people love you until you give them a chance. It's like the teabag analogy. You don't know what will happen until you put it in hot water.

That isn't to say that you should run your blog like mine. Share on here what you feel is right. I will just try to read your mind and figure out psychically what is going on so that I can send you something on Thursday... ha!

Lisa said...

I try to share what I think will matter. Deep or not, real life or as you said, the air-brushed version. Right now my life feels like it's a bit on hold as I recover from an emergency appendectomy. I don't mind sharing that. I don't mind sharing that I'm miserable as well because I need to find out more about one of the main characters in my wip and he's not talking. I'm afraid the book is a total waste of time and will never amount to anything. Just writing this "out loud" is wonderful and I hope will help me relax a bit. Maybe if I comment on enough blogs about this today I'll move the blockage and make some headway. Trying to think positive in the middle of the negative. Hope you do too. As my sister says, This too, shall pass... Advice I've found if I heed, I can breathe easier...

olgagodim said...

I don't share personal stuff on my blog. I don't think I should. I'm not an open person and never felt comfortable sharing the minutiae of my life with anyone. Besides, I think a writer's blog is about her writing, not her family or illnesses. As I write under a pen name, my writing blog is under that name too, so my real name doesn't even appear anywhere, nor is my picture - I use an avatar. I agree that my blog presents a 'fantasy' image of me, like a fairy, but I write fantasy, so why not? If I wanted to share my personal stuff I would've started a blog with my real name, and it would be completely different.
It depends on what your goals are in blogging. I doubt there is one 'true' answer for how much personal details should appear on your blog. Whatever you're willing to share.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I share very little of my personal life online. Sometimes I too have trouble making my blog upbeat when I'm feeling down.

Juneta Key said...

I believe in the laws of attraction. I have also learned from a conscious experiment that being positive does actually draw positive things to you.

I'm unemployed now, and it is tough. However, I am surviving. I am not in the street. I have my health, and I am eating.

The truth is like an old cliche, "Laugh and the world laughs with you; weep and you weep alone."

I decided I wanted to go out laughing, so yeah, I do control what I present. I like being honest, and do not think mentioning problems is taboo---it is human. Whining or spreading a depressed, woe is me state, that is just bad karma, and perpetuates the state. You lose readers too, because the old cliche is true.

I mean when you read a book, do you want a whining hero or one that accepts the problem, and goes on finding a way to deal? I think it is the same in life online.

As the the head of the East India Trading Company from POTC would say, "Its just good business."

The truth is mystery is attractive, so handing out too much can be a killer to your readership, but I think there is a balance. Being human and coping is what we all want to learn to do, so posting about the problems is not the problem. It is all in what you say, how you say it, and how much you reveal. IMHO

Juneta at Writer's Gambit

sydneyaaliyah.com said...

I think we all go through waves of productive and not so productive times. Just ride the wave.

glnroz said...

I wrote a blog once entitled "Writing Neecked" and I think it applies here. I don't. It had nothing to do with clothes but not "holding back". I guess raising three daughters keeps me a little in the tall weeds, but I hoped, I suppose, that my personality and attitude comes between the lines.. Not sure. Only you folks could tell me that,,or not,, lol reckon?

Suzanne Sapsed said...

When I started my blog is was to share the good, the bad, and downright ugly that my life encounters. Partly because it is cathartic and partly for others to know someone else has been through it. But then I always have been the kind of person that wears their heart on their sleeve :)
Sorry life isn't great atm, hope it improves soon xx
Suzanne @ Suzannes-Tribe
xx

Suzanne Sapsed said...

When I started my blog is was to share the good, the bad, and downright ugly that my life encounters. Partly because it is cathartic and partly for others to know someone else has been through it. But then I always have been the kind of person that wears their heart on their sleeve :)
Sorry life isn't great atm, hope it improves soon xx
Suzanne @ Suzannes-Tribe
xx

Michael Di Gesu said...

Life is full of ups and downs, and like you I hold back on certain things. But showing some is good for the soul as long as we spin it to helping others who may be experiencing the same loss....

Don't worry. You muse maybe on hiatus, but she'll be back soon....

Misha Gericke said...

I actually do try to share the good, bad and the ugly on my blog, since I wanted to go for an authentic experience from the start.

The only thing I tend to avoid is specifics about my day-job, as that would be unprofessional.

Now, if I may be so bold as to advise you on your wonderings:

If you're done with a project (WELL DONE!) and there isn't anything clamoring for your attention...

Take a break! Really, you are allowed to. Usually the radio silence from your muse means it's time to refill those creative wells of yours. So do some other stuff you never get time for. And if you feel you must write, why not do random writing prompts or write silly poems for fun? It sounds weird, but all of that does help.

Hope you find some clarity on what you should be doing, soon. :-)

~Sia McKye~ said...

I'm selective with what I share. That's not to say I don't share negatives, I do, and most of the time with humor. I don't rant, moan, and groan constantly--of course I don't do that in real life either. I've never been a share all things person. Not my style. But the few rants or crappy writing moments or related issues are shared with my writing group.

There, I can be me and be a little more...open. It's a closed group and most of them I've known for 6 or 7 years and met many of them personally.

On my blog...I'm still careful but my life isn't a Pollyanna life--who has one of those? I do think twice about sharing certain aspects of things and if I do share, it's done in a certain manner and with thought.

I'm always at a loss when I finish a story. Kinda wander around aimlessly, lol! But I get involved with my life and surprise! There is always a new idea. They like to sneak up on you, you know, and bounce. They've been watching my cats, lol!

Sia McKye Over Coffee

Jennifer Shirk said...

I don't share the bad stuff unless it's writing related. (although there really isn't THAT much bad stuff)

Jan Morrison said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jan Morrison said...

Yes. I go back and forth on this. I find that there is an encouragement to share and a lot of stroking goes on when anyone is feeling bad but most of it isn't really satisfying. That is to say that it is like grazing on low nutrition grasses when what you need is protein so one is constantly checking the blog or fb to see if anyone has noticed. That's why I dumped facebook - felt like I was at the mall. Find the slowness of bloglandia much more to my taste. Sometimes I share the emotion but not the content. I might put a poem or a post that folks realize is me being blue, lonely, scared or whatever but I don't put the why of it. I guess this is to say - thanks for saying what you did. I think there is a way to be authentic and not air-brushed and private too. It takes some finessing but I think you actually do that in spades.

emaginette said...

I've gone through similar bouts. Some days feel too raw to share. All I can say is it will pass & hang in until it does.

Anna from Shout with Emaginette

Yvonne Osborne said...

With a manuscript done, and nothing new in the making, there is a definite low. So write a short story or a poem or just keep your journal going. I agree with what you say about "air brushing". Very astute of you to nail that bad boy in the head. Sometime I get so weary of social media.

Lisa said...

To tell the truth, I don't know. I'd have to go back and look, but I know I have shared good times and bad. I've shared silly stories and serious ones. I don't really "try" for balance or anything, just whatever needs to be written at the time I write it. Thoughtful post...