You Can’t Say That On TOL
Written by , Posted in writing
I think because TOL is a place to say what you often can’t elsewhere, a lot of the guest post submissions I get are either very vulnerable or very boundary-pushing. Posts like these can be wonderful because vulnerability allows for community and connection, and pushing boundaries can create more space to think and grow.
You can see that I do a lot of this in my own writing, but what you may not see is that I take a lot of care to walk an often thin and tremulous line between saying everything that I think and saying everything that I think is beneficial. When people call me “unfiltered,” I sometimes think, If you only knew…
So when I get submissions that go too far, I don’t use them, but I think it might be helpful for my fellow bloggers and writers to understand how I come to decide what can and can’t be said here, not necessarily so that you might have a successful guest post for me (though that would be lovely), but so that it might help you decide how to go about determining your own boundaries in blogging and writing.
When you consider using words, images, or stories that have clear potential to shock, you have to be really honest with yourself about not only your intentions but also the ramifications for your readers. You can have the deepest, most life-changing thought, but if you present it in a way that turns people off, they will have a hard time letting your good message sink in. So when you re-read what you’ve written, you need to see if you can comfortably square it with how you want to present your thoughts and yourself to your audience.
Try running these questions by your very most honest self:
- Do you want to shake them up so they’ll really have to consider something differently, or do you just want to shake them up so that you can grab their attention?
- Are you making them uncomfortable only out of necessity?
- Is there a more gracious way to approach?
- How will the shocking elements affect the trust/rapport you’ve built with your audience?
What advice would you add for determining boundaries in writing? Do you struggle more with letting your writing be a little risky or with reining it in?