Showing posts with label blogging. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blogging. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

7 Steps to Writing with Vulnerability - Guest Post

Note from Michelle: I've been looking forward to this post for a while now. Donna Lee Irwin is such a treat in person and on the page. She is navigating the complicated world of young widowhood and shares about it with such authenticity and grace that I know what she shares will speak to your heart and inform your pen. So without further ado.... (and go visit her blog and add it to your favorites list -- you won't regret it)

Writing with vulnerability is no easy task. How do you do it without appearing out of: your mind, control, this world? Well, the first thing would be to consider your audience. Is what your sharing relevant? Does it make sense to write a vulnerable piece on this platform? Or are you divulging the emotional details of your recent divorce on your fashion blog? Make sure that what and where you are publishing makes sense.
Once you have settled on a topic suitable for your targeted audience consider these 7 guidelines. They are ‘rules’ I try to write by which have, so far, served me well.

1.  Get honest with yourself. 

Why are you writing this? Is it because you are passively aggressively using your writing platform to blow off some steam? Are you making a bid for approval or reassurance? Decide what your end goal is and ask yourself what your expectations are as a result of sharing this information. For me, it is to let others know they are not alone. Too many of us keep our stories hidden while we try to impress our peers, contributing to the vicious cycle of trying to keep up appearances with one another. It is my goal to penetrate this mirage with my small contribution of vulnerability and authenticity.

2. Decide how much you want to share. 

And remember, you’re here to tell your story and no one else’s. Sometimes this means getting creative with how we explore our story, sometimes it means leaving some things out. It’s worth it to respect and protect the privacy of others-even if you feel they don’t deserve it.

3.  Be Relevant and Relatable. 

Again, make sure the topic makes sense for your writing platform and, when choosing to write with vulnerability, be relatable! Share you experience but don’t share only the before and after “ta-da! I figured it all out!” moments. Before-and-afters can be helpful in a story but usually people just want to rest assured that they are not the only imperfect/struggling/quirky/etc. humans on the planet. This is not a time to practice or showcase perfection. Your readers will see right through the fa├žade and write you off as inauthentic and suspicious. Share your honest experience, even especially if you’re still in it.

4. Be Clear and Concise. 

Express your feelings on the subject through your experience without drifting. This is usually taken care of in the editing process for me. I like to write freely, pouring all my emotions out into as many words as I feel are needed knowing that when it’s time for editing I can carve my point out of the puzzle of words I’ve laid out to get my message across in a meaningful way. Sometimes it’s useful to share all the gory details and other times it’s TMI. A practice that works great for me is pouring my heart out onto the page and walking away from it for a few days. Sometimes when I do that I end omitting almost everything I wrote, others I’m like, “ya, that’s good. They’ll feel it.” Only you can be the judge.

5.  Be prepared for Criticism and Judgement.  

Expressing or sharing vulnerability is often seen as a weakness when in reality it is actually an incredibly brave and courageous act. Recognize that being vulnerable can trigger uncomfortableness and shame in others. Also, be prepared for people to share their stories or opinions that may be very different from what you have just written. Be respectful and kind if you choose to respond. Otherwise don’t respond at all. On the other hand, for those who are kindly sharing their own vulnerabilities with you, be sure to give them a nod of thanks for opening their hearts.

6. A Word of Caution.

 Make sure if you include names or photos of anyone that isn’t you in your writing to GET PERMISSION first! Preferably in writing. Remember, you’re telling your story, not theirs.  If you’re talking about your kids, again, get their permission, show/read them what you have written/picture you are using and make doubly sure that they are comfortable with it. Don’t assume you know and don’t bully them into compliance. Especially don’t share anything that may prevent you from getting a job, get you sued or cause conflict in a relationship. Again, it can be helpful to step away for a few days and come back with fresh eyes.

7. Lastly, Let Your Art Go. 

Once you hit that publish button…it is finished. And that’s great! Be proud! You took something raw and honest of yourself and shared it with the world. That is a beautiful thing. Whenever we give any gift to someone we accept that it is no longer ours to decide what to do with. Look at it as a gift and feel good about your giving. As Glennon Doyle Melton says in one of her blog posts, “Create! Call it good! Rest!”

Well, there you go! 7 steps to writing with vulnerability in a nutshell. I applaud all you writers out there who are willing to step into the arena of writing with vulnerability and look forward to reading some of your work. Even when we share different views the courage it takes to ‘write naked’ is immense and nothing short of humble bravery! Wishing you luck on you ‘naked writing’ ventures!

Donna’Lee Irwin
Founder & Writer of


*Sidenote: If you really feel passionate or curious about writing a vulnerable piece of work but don’t have the right platform to feature it, follow these guidelines and consider submitting to another platform where it will be more relevant. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

from PB & J to vintage lace

little c takes a page from my "presentation is everything" notes

 post adventurous tea with my editor 2 editors ago (with her adorable baby and toddler in tow hence the adventure) who I copy-edited for on this book. So exciting to see the finished product. which is inspiring, beautiful, and makes one more than a little travel hungry (it covers her and her husband's travels as journalist and photographer respectively pre those beautiful babies as they documented humanitarian efforts around the world)
 working from home as I do in the summer means I can actually sit down with something freshly made at lunchtime and watch real crime video
more babies have been born. among the moms, my editor three editors ago just had a beautiful little boy. a perfect excuse to use up my vintage ribbon stock.

current projects on the go: ebook content wrangling, freelance work paperwork, and a 30 day project. I love those days of focus. Will let you in on details in 29.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

of blogging and unwatched tea pots

It's been almost 2 months since I last blogged. You know who noticed and said something repeatedly about it? My mom. Which I found hilarious (she sees me nearly every Saturday morning when we have tea with my Grandma and sisters) and affirming (cue belated Mother's Day commercial musik) Who needs an impressive readership when you have Mom?

Then there was the scheduling. I tried a couple of times to get to blogging, and took some pics of recent happenings (the two youngest camping outside all last weekend) and the middlest crafting the most amazing bow and arrow with complete with trigger (making it a compound bow I guess which sounds a bit more dangerous) out of branches from the yard and yarn from his knitting collection. They're still sitting on d's phone. Aside from the pics, I was trying to picture when to put the blogging time in when I realized I also have trouble fitting lunch time in (I forget to take it until it's too late -- also the distractionary quality that causes me to boil water for tea a thousand times a day and forget to make it.) It's the working in flow thing, I am sure of it. But now that I know, I plan to combine the two when I can and sit down for a proper blog and a proper lunch. (today might not count -- ketchup chips shoved in my work bag when I was running out the door)

It wasn't until I read some pieces from Penelope Trunk that I realized how much I missed blogging and the reading of blogs. It's up there on my favorites list with peanut butter and jam sandwiches, playing soccer, coming home from soccer to find d starting dinner, and making lists that have random happenings on them.

Profound, I know. That's why it was so missed. ;)
 yes, I bring moss inside ;)
love heart collection from the boys is the best desk decoration.