Blogging is by its origin personal however, sometimes we take things to heart and it really hurts. A nasty comment, a blog follower ignoring you for months despite posts that are right up their alley, or no reciprocated sharing of posts on social media. I get it.
I often wonder why not more people share criminal cases as they all claim to be fascinated by DNA. But I cannot let it affect me or else, I might stop writing. So here’s what I do when things tend to get too personal.
1: identify the source.
The source might be a blog follower but may not be part of your target audience. We all have followers and we all follow back people with whom we do not have a tight bond. On social media, you are more inclined to follow back a person when they seem friendly and when they interact with a lot of people we know. But are they part of our target audience?
People can sign up to follow your blog because they are curious, they like your web presence, or because you left a nice comment at one of their blog posts. But they may not be a dedicated reader of your blog simply because it isn’t a good fit. And we need to respect that.
I love to read books but I don’t follow (back) every book reviewer as their favourite genre might not be mine. So, know whether the source is part of your target audience, or not. If not, let it go. If they are, check to see if in essence, they have a point.
2: don’t reply immediately to anything that needs more that a short ‘thank you!’
There are comments and emails than need a more nuanced answer than ‘thanks.’ I learned the hard way, a long time ago, to let those emails sit, simmer, and then calmly prep for answering.
Our initial reaction might be an emotional one defending our topic’s choices, or explaining how hard we worked on a piece, or even defending the topic by giving away too much personal experiences hindering our own privacy.
I get it. When someone tells me “Is that all the information you found?” in a case while I have been digging in several newspaper archives and files for months, I also would like to invite this person to join me in the racks next time a case from the 50s needs researching. But I don’t. I don’t even send a reply anymore. I know that I did my best. This is what I found and I will keep an eye out if more information surfaces.
In short, if my conscious is clear, I either do not reply (serious enquiries will come back to you anyway) or send a generic ‘Thank you for contacting me’ with my best wishes. Nine out of ten times, you never hear from these people again. Case closed.
3: What else is going on.
If you are in the midst of moving or are preparing a report for work, your reaction to a critical comment on your blog can be completely different from when you read it while sitting on the couch with your laptop, good music on, and a nice drink in your hand. You mindset is in a different mode, it makes the thoughts flow in a different pace, and that makes you less likely to quickly judge and take something too personal.
Of course, everything is always easier said than done. I too make mistakes and take some things personal. But then, once I realize that, I take my lesson (if there was any) dust myself off, and I keep going.
Making mistakes, taking things personal, it will always happen. We are not robots. That’s also a good thing. We have hearts and souls. Let’s keep blogging!