Where is your line?

Over the years of blogging on a number of sites reaching varying audiences, I’ve been challenged with the question many bloggers have; “What, if anything is too personal to write about?”

My late husband didn’t like me to ever mention him or events around our family life which involved him, so I generally respected this; the closest I may have come was to write observations of a more general view on a topic or theme. But apart from that, not much was sacred.

I have more blogs than I would like to admit, some are kept more up to date than others, and some specifically for a purpose and left to stew for a time. I write under a few names, given the breadth of genres and audiences I have reached in the past. My reasoning siting my wish to market a certain brand of writing under one name and another under another, not wanting to water down or dilute the other should there be misunderstandings in the future. I know I am not alone with this reasoning as I have friends who may publish academic papers or articles under one name and fantasy or erotica (for example) under another.

Under these different blogs, I have shared some pretty personal things, my fears, guilt-ridden decisions, my doubts and my meltdowns. Although I have a thin line separating business and personal, its certainly not as strong, or defined as many others. Who I am, where I have come from, my experiences and all the nobly bits in-between is such a big part of my writing, that its difficult to separate. I do understand that this thought process doesn’t work for everyone and in no way am I suggesting that all writers need to be transparent with every meltdown they have, nor to hide every emotion they experience.

Where is “The Line”

I think I have hit mine, given the traumatic events from last year. I suddenly was unable to write – anything. It has taken me 9 months to feel confident enough to write articles, much less blog posts detailing emotions. Writing fiction seems a distant dream for me at the moment, as I struggle to deal with the raw emotions bubbling to the surface every day.

I’ve seen and read others blog and write about their experiences, whilst not exactly the same as mine, similarly horrific, and similarly heart breaking. I honour their bravery and had always thought I’d be the one to continue blogging and sharing myself; yet faced with the events from last year, I am unable to process and write about them on a private level, much less share it publicly.

I’ve been approached a number of times by various people suggesting that if I wrote my story, it would not only help others and help me in my healing process, but would stand the chance of being one of those great chic lit books many of us dream about publishing. I have no doubt it would break the hearts of readers as they journeyed though the character’s landscape; but I cannot begin to write it. I have hit my line… and I am as surprised as anyone to realise that I had a line.

I would suggest that the line is a personal thing, that there is no hard and fast rule as to what or where it is.  Trust your intuition as to discovering what and what it is and share only what you feel comfortable with.

Clarity and Connection

One of the beautiful things about blogging is the immediacy of connection with readers. Although writing has an intimacy, blogging, coupled with its networking ability provides feedback and best of all clarity

Writing will always be a part of who I am, and I understand that by expressing oneself through text comes strength and wisdom. I just wish I could flick to the end of the book and see if it all turns out ok.

Do you have a line? What or where is your line?  Do you share everything?  What the most weird or deeply personal thing you’ve ever shared on your blog or site with your readers?

Writing at the End of Time

shari_post_galaxyI, the writer, engage in both boringly ordinary and sublimely spectacular moments. Same as those who don’t write. I work for financial compensation and volunteer on behalf of others. I hose down the house and muck up the garden, maintain my aged mode of transportation and renovate our humble abode, bungee jump off bridges and plunge into new experiences, practice a new language and exercise my health routine, spelunk into caverns and hike mountain peaks, sip aged wine and taste new olive oil, celebrate with family and tolerate acquaintances, curse and pray. Same as everybody, I live. (OK, maybe I’ve never bungee jumped off anything, but I’ve hopped off curbs. As for my health routine, well, I routinely think about it.)

After all that living, I, the writer, scratch my brain, crank my imagination, and extend my fingers to write. My daily life shows up in the funhouse mirror of stories. Annoying challenges reflect in the bizarre twists of fantasies. Nagging questions appear as labyrinthine mysteries. How I function in the here and now influences the exceptional world crafted by my pen, bidden by my mind. (And I always say it’s all entirely made up. Well then there’s the bungee jumping…)

I, the writer, make time. Like some nebula nursery gathering clouds of dust and gas to become new stars, I birth time to write. Stolen from housework or bill paying, filched from shopping or TV watching, borrowed from sleep, I make time each day to write. The books I read, those I write, my own blogs, and blogs of other writers get my attention on a regular basis because I make time to participate in the writing world. Whatever the debate about who may call themselves a writer or a wanna be, no one who doesn’t write can claim they do.

Writing is what I do for myself, my indulgence and my passion. It’s the raw nerve that jolts at the touch of a dandelion seed floating past my brow. I write about how that feels so you can experience it without the bruise from the fluff. (See what I take for you, dear Reader?) Writing lets me fulfill my childhood potential, kindling the blaze of glory that the young Sharon Lynne Bonin promised one day to become. Writing reminds me that, bedraggled as I am, I still have the chops to produce something of merit in my life, a legacy to leave my kids, and a story for others to savor. This is true because I live as well as write. I experience as well as observe, act and imagine.

Sometimes life catches up and runs roughshod over my plans. (Best laid plans of mice and men, and all that. Thank you, Robert Burns. I am certainly the wee beastie in a panic as the plow roars my way.) Snuffs opportunities. Routs the resources. Demands more of my percentages than I’ve ever had to post in that imploding red column. So when all that living converged in one big ball of everything happening all at once last month, I found myself as lost as if I’d been swallowed by a black hole. The swirling galaxy wasn’t all bad; it was just logjammed. Star jammed! New family member (adorable and brilliant grandchild,) new job (much good fortune,) more responsibilities (a chance to grow), old obligations resurfacing (blegh)! How the hell do I find time – make time – to write when I can barely find time to eat and sleep? (Of course the sleeping has been much curtailed; the eating – not so much.) Sometimes the only thing I can do is exactly what I did this past month. I ground everything that I normally do to a complete halt and dealt with my new world order. I took off a month of writing because it was the only flexible time I had.

Starting back up has been more difficult than I imagined. I’m trying to build a relationship with an infant who lives 1000 miles away and maintain the relationship with his parents. Over 600 emails throb in boldface in my inbox, most of them blog posts from other writers, and I’ll eventually read all. I’m less prepared for the new job than I expected but excited to grow into it, and hope my employers will be patient while I learn what I should know. I’ve missed a month of articles I should have written for my personal blog and worry that my followers, feeling abandoned, have abandoned me. Three books each need another revision, and I need lots of time for this before I can begin the process that will see them to publication.

Welcome to my expanding solar system. Please hang tight while I figure out the orbital coordinates. Hello old world, hello new.

Be well, friends.