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Monday, June 27, 2011

Be Careful What You Put In Writing!

TMI.  Also called “Too Much Information.”  It’s a bad habit of mine.  I tend to say too much.

When you’re a writer and your life appears on a blog, you need to be careful of TMI.  Or so I’ve learned.

I was recently at my nephew’s graduation party, and I met a guy who reads my blog.  (Pretty cool, huh, that even tough guys read Lawyer Mommy?)  He even has a name for me.  He calls me Stinky.

After all, I’ve written about the fact that showers are overrated.  I’ve openly admitted I don’t wash my hair every day.  And he couldn’t quite get that sordid imagine out of his brain.  Stinky.  Stinky Woman.  Stinky Lawyer Woman.  If the shoe fits, wear it!  (In this case, the shoe stinks.)
I wonder, have I lost my mind?  Why does a grown, professional women put her weaknesses on paper (not to mention on a public blog)?  Especially stinky ones.  Do I have to be so vulnerable?  Couldn’t my readers do without the smelly talk? 

Maybe I should just write about my “perfect” life in Lawyer Mommy Land.  You know, I have the perfect marriage.  My kids never break the rules.   I never doubt God.  I never doubt myself.  And I shower three times a day.  Does that smell better?

Despite the fact that you probably wouldn’t believe it, you probably wouldn’t read it.  Who wants to read about someone who never makes mistakes, has it all figured out, and never skips a shower?

Not me!

That’s what I love about grace.  God takes us just as we are.  Treasures in jars of clay.  Broken.  Even stinky. 

But my nickname is also a sober reminder that sometimes we need to guard our words.  It’s one thing to make fun at our own mistakes, but what if I told you my husband was stinky?  That my kids were incorrigible?  That my boss was unfair?

Would that be TMI?


Richard Mabry said...

Susan, Although I've learned to be careful about what I reveal regarding myself on Twitter, Facebook, and my blog, I love reading what you and others tell about yourselves. If that gets to be TMI, I'll let you know.

It reminds me of the old saying, "If you can't say something nice about someone, come and sit here next to my good ear."

Ashby Lawton Jones said...

There are plenty of blogs about perfect women dressing their perfect children in beautiful perfect clothing. Bring on more stinky I say!!


Jenn said...

It's all about the balance I guess….real is so important, but It truly is a good idea to remember people, anybody can read what you write!

Haha sticky, I sometimes think showers are overrated too. Love it. Definitely not TMI...


I am very fond of authentic blogs. But I do think it is good for all of us to remember that real people actually read our blogs. At least that is our goal, eh?


Amy Sullivan said...

And this is a struggle for me, big time.

I am a private person, and then, I blog.

I force myself to blog for writing purposes, but sharing real details from my life is a struggle. Yes, I want to be real, but I remember about a month ago, when a friend showed up at my door and questioned a sarcastic comment she read (didn't know she even read my blog). Ugh.

So, it's a balance. People don't want perfect and they don't want to read about it, but finding the right amount to share is still something I'm working on.

Oh, and I think showers are totally overrated too.

Your stinky friend,

Heidiopia said...

I think it's such a fine line ~ we all want to connect with our readers and authenticity is the key to that. I always feel I'm walking a tightrope!
Personally, I prefer the "real" even if it's "stinky" :)

Susan DiMickele said...

I am SO glad to have stinky blogging friends. You are the best!

Laura said...

Oh, Susan, this is de-light! I've been one to impart TMI and learn, I always say. But these things (you know, the stinky) they are what make you real to me (and other stinky bloggy friends). Because, after all, I've been stinky too! :) Can't wait to swap stories. Even stinky ones.

mrsgleffter said...

I just read about showers being overrated in your book (which is blessing me beyond belief), but would never dream of calling you Stinky. TMI is a risk, but it is also your blog, so I guess balance it probably the right word. Keep it up Susan - you keep me thinking!! Blessings!

Charming's Mama said...

Wow, lots to think about and something I have often pondered, which always brings me back to Proverbs 15:1 so I try to keep things on the up and up, but life is messy and sometimes we need to vent. So like everyone else has already said, finding the right balance is key.

your stinky friend,

Michelle DeRusha@Graceful said...

I'm always late to the party, and everyone has already made all the relevant points. But I just want to reiterate the importance of being real, authentic and vulnerable. I know I put a lot out there on the blog (too much sometimes, I'm sure), but the risks are worth it to me if my stories, even the difficult-to-hear ones, help someone else answer a question, or feel less alone, or move closer to God.

That said, I have to think twice sometimes about what I write about my husband and kids. I need to protect their privacy ... but as for me, I'm an open book!

Marcus Goodyear said...

Stinky is always more interesting. The problem is people who love to stink.

I don't think you are one of those people, right?

Sharing vulnerabilities and failures is a lot different than accepting vulnerabilities and failures and never trying to become a better person.

Anonymous said...

I think this is why so many people are drawn to blogging - they are sick and tired of the super-sanitized versions of life that clog up the media (especially Christian) and want to get real. Life is hard. Life stinks sometimes. We struggle. We doubt. Thank God for the human experience, and that we don't have to live up to someone else's unrealistic oppressive ideal for faith. Thank God for grace.

And keep blogging about it!

Connie@raise your eyes said...

Ha! Love the comments this generated. One of my favorite quotes is from Betsy Ten Boom. "We're all trash."

The sooner people know that about us and themselves, the sooner they might begin to know about GOD's Grace.

All for GOD,

Deidra said...

There's just too much perfect out there, and we know it's not all real. I'd rather have the stinky any day. It's the stinky that we all really live even though some pretend otherwise, and it's the stinky that we learn from. We just have to be careful about how much stinky we let out, and that's a fine line, indeed. Thanks!