This is a brief post on how to tell your story on any blog. In this post you learn of the reasons why you should, and shouldn’t. What is publishable? Also be careful there are a lot of people who are opportunists out there as well. This is a post I have been meaning to do for a couple of years.
“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”
“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
“If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.”
National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.
This is a post that I have been meaning to do for the last couple of years and I never got around to doing it. Today is the day to get this completed and offer some insight based on what I have learned over the last several years. Today I am going to explain how to tell your story on a blog should you desire to do so.
You Should Have Complete Control
When it comes to your story you should have complete control over what you want to say, how you say it and if you want to tell it. From the beginning to the end you should be in the driver seat and the blogger you are dealing with should submit entirely to your wishes and desires. The blog should exist to serve you, you do not exist for the blog. Some people forget about this and I will explain why you need to be cautious about this below. If you are starting to work with a blogger and then you change your mind, that is your right. The blogger should understand that and respect you. The blogger should understand how personal and intimate these stories can be. They involve family, friends, acquaintances and people you know well. If the blogger is not someone who respects your desires and wishes then I would leave that blogger. But during the entire process you should be the dominant voice. You should have the right to edit, or take down material if you so desire. If you are working with someone and you decide that you want to eliminate details and more; then you have that right. A healthy blogger will put you in the driver seat and allow you to drive the story. Plus if you want you can tell your story anonymously as well. You can hide your identity. People do that all the time.
Reasons Why You Should Tell Your Story
These are reasons why you should tell your story. It varies and can be diverse. In some cases you may want to blow the whistle on a church or ministry that is corrupt, engaged in illegal activity or has serious problems. Maybe you want to talk about a negative experience in an organization and let other people know so they can be spared of the pain. Other reasons include being able to get something off your chest and share. People who do that realize that it is not them but the organization instead. I do believe and I am willing to discuss this with you but if you have knowledge of a corrupt church that is hurting people then I think you also have a moral imperative to go public (even anonymously). Another benefit that also happens is that people sometimes can get connected through blogs. Former church members can be re-united. So for example former members of a church can get together and share experiences and that can be helpful for them. On the flip side you may also be involved in a church or organization that did something amazing. And you tire of all he negative stories and want people to know a positive aspect. That is important also and I will touch on that below.
Reasons Why You Should Not Tell Your Story
There is another perspective that you should consider and its this fact. Maybe you should not tell your story. Maybe telling it will lead to more conflict, pain, heartache and more. Some of these stories can be deeply difficult. Maybe the story deals with your husband, a lost son or daughter, or it involves a workplace that can create problems for you. Think long and hard about it and contemplate it. If you have a child or relative stuck in a cult like organization and you are losing them, telling your story can lead to more friction and tension. For me this blog is a lot of work and I use it to research and write about religion, faith, atheism and more. But I will tell you that I will also give you feedback based on doing this for a few years. If I think you are going to hurt yourself and make a bad situation worse then I will speak up. I like to engage and discuss with people. A blogger should also understand that not every story will be told. And a good blogger will understand and have you best wishes in mind.
Not Every Story Has to be Scandal
There is another point that I want to emphasize as well. There are some blogs that become so focused on scandal that is all they have become. They develop a tunnel vision and can become so cynical and jaded over the course of time. There are a lot of positive stories that should also be featured. Maybe you are in an organization that does something neat. And you think to yourself, “I’d like to tell this, but its not a scandal.” That is fine. A blog should be well rounded and positive stories are also important as well. This point I don’t think is pushed enough. Negativity sells, and its important to write about scandal and problems, But that is not the only issues going on. So I look around for positive stories as well and I write about those as they deserve to be mentioned.
Be Aware of Opportunists and Narcissists
Consider this section to be a warning. The internet is broad and filled with a lot of people. I have met some interesting people over the years going back to my time in college and grad school. One thing you need to be mindful of its that there are a lot of narcissists and opportunists that exist. There are people who view their blog or social media platform as a means to advance themself. They use your story to propel their blog. They are not interested in you, just the right to tell your story. Also walk away from someone who begs to tell your story as that is not right either. That is not right, as that is not what this should be about. On the flip side this is another point you should ask. Is the person who wants to tell your story have they written about their own story? Have they gone through something difficult, and have they written about it? There are some people out there who want to tell stories but who have not told their own. That is an issue and something that needs to be discussed in the blogosphere and social media platform. For example I have told about my brush with Redeemer Arlington which this blog writes about. I was a whistle blower to a dangerous situation at Fairfax Community Church. And I have written about my experience in McLean Bible. One other point is that a writer should also know their limits. They should recognize that while they know some things well there are things that they do not know. That is important as well.
Writing can be an adventure. Writing can open a doorway to learning and developing. If you want to tell your story this blog would be honored to let you tell it. And if not, I am happy to listen and talk and share my knowledge. This is a post that I have wanted to do for years and I keep telling myself I will get this done. It only took two years 🙂 So I hope this clears up a subject that is murky sometimes and allows you to think about things in a way that is clear. That is it guys, know that you are loved.