TMI? 11 Ways to Make Sure Your Writing Isn’t Too Personal
“What if the very pain you’re afraid to share is exactly the thing that will change someone’s life?” Laura Di Franco
Yeah, I said that in a recent workshop. This blog is going to be about moving through your fear and sharing that thing you’re called to share. I’m going to tell you there’s no TMI. And here’s eleven ways to move through the fear that your blog is sharing too much, too vulnerable, or too personal for your readers.
“That’s what happens when you share about your divorce on Facebook,” a friend recently scolded me. I laughed at him and said, “Yeah, I guess so. Oh well.” This was immediately after I confided in him that an old (very old) boyfriend had just “found” me there.
Was I surprised I was found out? No. Curious? Totally.
The online world is big and brutal. If you want to play big these days in terms of your message you’re going to have to open your heart, practice fierce boundaries, and allow the energy to bounce off of your armor.
Armor that you then must take down before you write your next blog.
There are a small percentage of us who can do this; be vulnerable enough to share our authentic healing stories with the world and then carry on like it’s nothing.
Only it’s not nothing. It’s totally a big something. We’re the ones called right now to share. We’re the ones who will redefine TMI. We are warriors.
Our ability to be real, raw, and a little too much; it’s how we heal ourselves and the world. TMI? I can’t think of any.
If it happened to you, chances are it’s happened to someone else. If you’ve thought of it, believed it, experienced it and/or survived it, chances are someone needs to hear your story so they can move through their own wound without feeling so alone.
TMI is about the receiver being unable to handle/process/hold a loving, healing, non-judgmental space for the sharer. It’s also about old, outdated, unhelpful rules you were taught that you’re following now, even though they don’t serve you anymore.
I’m out to wake people up to this; awareness, authenticity and courage is what we all need right now. If something is TMI for you, then push it aside for now. Explore how you feel about it first, before you fire off your judgment.
“You better not publish that!” A family member fired that one off to me after reading parts of a book I’d written a few years ago talking about my childhood wounds.
“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If they wanted you to write warmly about them, they should’ve behaved better.” Anne Lamott
I’ve used this quote so many times recently — to many a head nod, I might add — that I’ve memorized it. But here’s where I get caught up now. Just maybe, at the time of their “bad behavior,” they were just a stupid, unconscious kid. So what’s a healer to do when compassion has taken over and she’s learned how to forgive? Do I still share?
Because it’s what’s going to heal us and the world.
And here are 11 ways to help you move through the fear:
- Stop thinking and start feeling.
- Write from this feeling place
- Write from your own perspective
- Write without blaming
- Write the facts from a place of forgiveness
6. Write with the intention of healing
7. Write with the energy of gratitude and love
8. Write with the goal of helping
9. Show us, don’t tell us
10. Write without the expectation of publishing first
11. Get feedback (if you must)
Here’s a brief breakdown of each and how it will help. Mostly, this’s about your awareness, your intuition and your mission in the world as a healer right now. This’s about learning a way to write and share your stories that feels good, authentic and brave, but that will also move people. Sharing a “sort of” personal story that others can tell you’re holding back on? I’m not sure it’s going to get you the response you really want.
Time to be brave.
- When you realize you’re over-analyzing, over-thinking and adding baggage to your already heavy baggage, you need to stop. Clear your mind, drop into your body and start feeling. Try connecting with the breath, your body and your intuition, which will give different messages than your mind. Practice reconnecting to that place often.
- The writing we’re aching to shares comes from the heart and soul, not the brain. As soon as you’re following old rules about what’s right, appropriate and professional, you’ll lose the feel and the writing will sound cold, robotic and boring. Write from an energetic, feeling state. You have to practice getting into this state before you write and practice staying in it during the writing.
- When you write from your experience, perspective, and opinion, what’s too much? It’s yours. Go back and read that Anne Lamott quote again. If you’re saying you’re too much, you’re telling us that too. When you own your stories and share the facts of them, you’re being authentic and we can trust you.
- Take responsibility in your writing for everything in your life. As soon as you start blaming others the story takes on a different energy and will be misconstrued. Talk about how you felt, instead. Talk about what happened inside of you when the event took place. If you follow the words of the book Radical Forgiveness by Colin Tipping, that everything is spiritual perfection, you don’t need to blame anyone for anything.
- Carrying on with the forgiveness topic, when you write from a place of forgiveness you’re giving yourself (and the reader) that gift. You’ve heard it a million times, forgiving is not for the wrong-doer, it’s for you, so that you can live free. Write from that place too and what you share will give others permission and courage to forgive as well.
- When you share a story, you’re healing yourself and your reader at the same time. So as you begin to write, ask yourself: What would be the most healing thing I could share here? And write from that intention and energy.
- Energy’s everything when it comes to everything! So when you write your story the energy you’re feeling while you’re writing matters. Not feeling inspired today? Or worse, feel downright pissy? Then hold off. When you’re writing that story you’ve been afraid to write, or worried you might be sharing too much of yourself, your energy will be the thing that helps you get over your fear and be authentic and brave. Practice vibing higher.
- Similar to the energy conversation, what’s your intention with the writing? You want to help others, right? Explore this a little. When you sit down to write you can ask yourself the question: How can I best help others by sharing this story? What angle should I take on this piece that’ll be the most helpful? Then connect to your body and intuition and write from that feeling space.
- When you tell us, instead of show us, you’re going to sound bossy, stiff and unemotional. So show us instead. Use scenes and dialogue to help guide us into your story. Give us perspective, suggestion, and feeling. When you show us we will feel it, and when we feel it we begin to heal.
- This is my favorite go-to for when I’m scared. I pull out my journal and write just to Feng Shui my soul. I write every possible detail, just the way I want to write it, and then I can go back and decide if it’s the story I want to share, or if there’s another version ready to flow out of me. In other words; just sit down and write. Don’t censor yourself. If the thing you write isn’t for sharing, that’s okay. It might be the clearing you need to do so that the story you’ll share moves through you. Just write.
- Read your piece out loud to someone you trust and get some feedback. The most helpful feedback I get is in my writing group online. I post things I’m afraid to share otherwise and ask for feedback. I have a safe space where I can share my most vulnerable things and I trust those ladies to be real with me. This kind of community is priceless. One note of caution about feedback. Don’t allow the feedback to overrule your intuition about anything. Use it to validate your feelings. If it doesn’t resonate, learn how to say, “Thanks,”and move on.
We’re all human. There’s no TMI. If you’re a professional following confidentiality rules with your clients, I’m encouraging you to share stories you feel good about, not stories that compromise what you do as a professional. There’s a way to do this.
The most important thing about sharing our stories is the idea that everyone is on the same playing field as a human being in this world, all living our lives, exploring what it means to be alive and in connection with others, and seeking understanding about what brings us health and happiness. We’re all one. We’re all equal.
When you think about life, and your role in it, if you’re inspired to share, there’s a reason. Follow that ache. Be brave and let’s heal together. Let’s start a movement. How about instead of TMI we use MIP (More information please!)?
Join me in the comments; what’s the thing keeping you from sharing your personal story right now?
Laura Di Franco, MPT is the owner of Brave Healer Productions and a powerhouse who writes to Feng Shui her soul. She’s the author of Brave Healing, a Guide for Your Journey, her sixth book to help inspire your fiercely alive whole self. Join her and write words that build your business and heal the world. The Write Habit online writing club is now open at www.BraveHealer.com