I had a knot in my stomach a good chunk of yesterday…
I wasn’t sick or freaked out about anything major. In the scheme of life, it was a blip on a blip. In fact, it was a blog post that was causing the knot to tighten.
Not one written here, but on my “other” blog…Tribal Author.
I tend to write with a stronger voice over there. Dunno why, I just do. And, I’d been trying to provoke a more substantive conversation about book trailers over the last few weeks, but nobody wanted to go that deep. So, I decided to stretch a bit and raise the level of provocation by saying that a particular, stunningly filmed video sucked.
Off to the races. Traffic spiked. And comments flew in. Blogger’s dream, right?
Most realized my proclamation of “suckage” sentence was really more of a conversation starter than a blanket conclusion and agreed with my bigger point. But, a small number of others, well intended, disagreed. Strongly. Some either misconstrued what I said or missed the bigger messages. Others got it, but still disagreed. And, made it known. And, here’s where it gets tough for not only me, but a lot of bloggers I know.
I don’t enjoy the fight.
It doesn’t energize me. In fact, it often empties me out. Even if I believe I’m right (and, on occasion, I actually am, lol). Even though I’ve been at this for a number of years now and have people who’ll almost always rally to my support.
I think it has to do not only with the way I’m drawn, but also with the fact that people tend more easily toward aggression online, because it’s easier to dehumanize those on the other side of the convo when there’s a screen and a few thousand miles between you (Thankfully, btw, this didn’t really happen in yesterday’s exchanges, save being called a turkey, lol).
But, I also know that as a writer, a blogger and someone who hopes to inspire people to in some way illuminate, rethink or move an issue forward, I’ve got to take a stance. To give people something to yes or no to. And, the more passionately I voice that stance, without fail, the stronger the response on both sides of the issue.
It’s great when everyone’s on your side, but at least for me, it’s tough when people vehemently disagree. I’ve never been good at the thick skin thing. And, therein lies one of the biggest conundrums in blogdome.
How do you balance your desire to stretch—knowing that when you do it’s not only good for you, but good for traffic and business—with not wanting to walk around with a knot in your stomach all day.
So, I continue to challenge myself to project a voice that’s as strong as the one in my head. But, truth be told, not infrequently what you guys get is a filtered version.
And I was reminded of this in another context this week…exploring the dark side.
I had the extraordinary pleasure of spending almost two solid hours one-on-one with Robert McKee, the legendary creator of the lecture series and book entitled Story. We actually traded interviews and as we wound down my part of the exchange, he asked,
“What about the dark side? Your blog is very up. I don’t see you write about the dark side on your blog very much and all great stories need to explore that.”
He’s right. There are things I just won’t write about here.
Truth is, I’m pretty blessed. My life is good. I love who I’m with, how I’m building my living and what I do. But, we all have shadows of darkness. We all have struggles. We may call them something else. Challenges, issues, problems, demons. They’re all part of what Zorba called the full catastrophe of life. Part of our stories. Important parts that I know some other bloggers, friends of mine, share in a very public way. And, they’re rewarded with big traffic.
Not so much me, though. In part, because of the knot. In part, because I have this completely unscientific sense that the more I focus on darkness, on struggle, the more I give it life. And I’d rather spend my time feeding the beast that breathes joy. Also because of who I know occasionally reads this blog…my daughter. It’s just a line in the sand I choose to draw. At least for now. At least on this blog. At this time.
So, I continue to work to find that elusive sweet spot between leading with light, joy, compassion, value and engagement, while also staking out strong positions, polarizing, filtering and dipping my toe in the revelation and exposure of yet another piece of who I am, my own dark side.
And I’m curious…what about you?
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