Why Blogging Your Problems is Good

If you get really creative about it, failure and frustration can be the most engaging part of your blog. Don’t be scared to be human.

On a discussion list, a colleague recently asked for opinions about whether it’s a good idea to sometimes blog about the sucky stuff: Obstacles, frustrations, disappointments, setbacks, etc. Several people on this list responded to say that they only preferred to write — and read — about “successes.”

I can understand the general reluctance to blog about problems: Fear of being vulnerable, or of looking dumb or unprofessional (which is just another kind of vulnerability). It can be difficult to realize that sometimes vulnerability can be your greatest strength — especially in blogging.

Here’s my reply to that thread where I explain why blogging your problems can and probably should be a key part of your blogging strategy…

I wrote:

I think it’s possible to blog constructively about issues like making difficult decisions, making mistakes, facing frustrations and obstacles, etc. To me, blogs that are strictly about successes seem a bit like news from North Korea — “No problems here, everything’s fine!” They simply aren’t credible, when viewed over time.

This is especially crucial in blogs, where readers tend to develop more of an ongoing personal and interactive relationship with the writer.

That said, whining turns most people off. So rather than whine about setbacks or difficulties, use them as an opportunity to engage your community in helping you find solutions. Open yourself up to their ideas. Be willing to be influenced by them — don’t just be “on send” all the time.

Done well, this can be the most effective part of any blogging strategy.

…This fits into my more general philosophy of making your blog part of your process, not just a product. If your goal is to engage people through your blog, posts about process enhance both transparency and authenticity. they also give people more motivation to not just read your blog, but engage with it via comments or inbound link.

I’ve said it many times before, but this medium works best when you treat it as a conversation, not just a publication.

Anyway, that’s my take. What do you think? Please comment below.

5 thoughts on Why Blogging Your Problems is Good

  1. When someone shares through their blog or even a twitter that they are human by expressing their problems, then it shows they are human. No one is perfect. When you are “real” I feel as though you endear yourself to others.

    Just my take! Thanks for the question!

  2. I agree, Amy. I write a blog that is sort of an online journal about the process I’m going through while training my dog to herd sheep (yep, there really is a blog for everything). My blog is written purely for fun, not commercial in any way, and though I get very few comments, I know several members of the local stockdog community often discuss it with and without me. It has helped provide me with mentors, additional training opportunities, and plenty of good advice, so for me my blog is a success. On the other hand, a friend of mine also writes a blog for a different activity. Hers is full of only her success stories. There is nothing about the process, the frustrations, the growth. Just endless victories. Reading it feels hollow and is a bit boring. It’s just not very engaging when you know nothing of the difficulties that have been overcome to reach that success. I am not sure how this relates to a commercial blog (which is why I didn’t share this on-list). But I like hearing about the sometimes messy process, not just the end result–in the end, I feel much more invested in the subject.

  3. I read this post yesterday and have been thinking about it since then. You know what’s funny? I’ve been thinking about the best response I could give. HAH! Makes me laugh as I think about that in regards to what your article is about. Thanks for posting this and giving me something to ponder.

  4. This one really hit a nerve for me, Amy.

    I’ve been debating how much to share on my mainstream blog (I have a “secret” blog) called Secret Evil Twin, which is where I bitch and rant about things that bug me.

    BUT, what to do when my problems involve other people who may recognize themselves and not appreciate what I’m saying. Sometimes I need to whine a little before I’m ready to deal with the situation. Blow off steam, know what I mean?

    It’s one thing to say, “I tried getting Audacity to work and it’s not” versus “I’ve tried working with Brad Client but he’s a total dysfunctional jerk! Let me tell you all the rotten things he did.”

    I’m very interested to see how this topic evolves.

    Nice, provocative post, Amy. Good job.

  5. I don’t write about problems on my personal blog but I bring them up on other ones that are more focused on doing a specific thing.

    Any ideas about handling deer when you’re trying to grow food? I’m asking everybody for ideas.

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