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Writers are constantly looking for story ideas and sometimes they are literally right in front of us — when we look into the mirror.

But how much personal information should we reveal? More importantly, what purpose is served by disclosing details about our lives? Will anyone be hurt or embarrassed by our revelations?

I have been pondering those questions for many months. In particular, I have been debating whether to write a follow-up to one of the most popular articles I ever published on my blog. I entered it in the writing contest at Write Stuff and, although I did not win, received complimentary feedback. In The Surprising End of My Innocence, I revealed how, as a naive 21-year-old, I was “played” by a man who claimed to be divorced but was, in reality, very much married.

In telling the story, I omitted many details about myself and other folks, living and now dead. For instance, I did not explain what motivated the main characters and deliberately ended the story without revealing critical events. I have always felt like I “sold out” to some extent because, although I succeeded in explaining how I learned a valuable life lesson, I grew in other ways during that time period and I would like to explore those aspects, as well. Those events impacted me in profound ways and informed many of my subsequent life choices, so I would really like to share some of the details, as much for my own introspective purposes as to entertain or, hopefully, inspire or enlighten my readers — or simply invoke a “me, too” response from some of them.

Unlike many bloggers, I do not write much about day-to-day happenings. In contrast, I tend to write about major occurrences, events, transitions or dilemmas.

What guidelines do you follow with regard to writing about your personal life? Are there topics or areas of interest that are completely off-limits? What factors are most important to you when you consider whether or not to share details about people, places or time periods in your life? And ultimately, how do you decide what and how much to reveal about yourself and the folks you have loved or encountered in your life?


  1. Joanne at frutto della passione

    It’s different for me because I chose to write a niche blog, I write about food. I post recipes, restaurant reviews. I discuss food articles and trends and while I definitely add my personal opinions I don’t talk a lot about my personal life because it isn’t the subject of my blog. Sure, I talk about where I live, because it has a huge influence over what I eat and therefore what I write. I believe in creating a definite line and not crossing it in the blog. What happens in emails and direct contact with other bloggers is different.

    Joanne at frutto della passiones last blog post..Creamy, fruity popsicles

  2. Rob at Kintropy

    We’ve decided to be pretty open when we write about our family on the blog. We do focus more on the humorous side, but I think that is usually more interesting to read.

    There are things we would not share on our blog, but they are probably the same things we would not share with casual acquaintances, either. As we develop relationships with other writers via our blog, we tend to share more with them individually via email than we do publicly on the blog.

    Rob at Kintropys last blog post..Sheepdog and Wolf

  3. Jack at Sports Psychology Degrees

    The good or bad thing about Internet content is that it likely has an expiry date that will far exceed your own. Once you publish something, it is nearly impossible to recall or erase that information from the millions of computers and servers that may have it stored in memory. Some of this memory will be temporary, like cached copies of websites. Other forms of memory are much longer lasting.

    I wouldn’t reveal any information that could be damaging to your reputation. Like, if a future employer did a search for your name and you blogged about things that could seriously affect work opportunities or relationships with new acquaintances. Even if you blog anonymously, once the connection is made between your identity and your postings, your entire work, which may consist of years of entries, are available for scrutiny.

    I realize that some people are much more open than others. Some people are not so concerned with impression management, and have a ‘take it or leave it atittude’. These people are much better suited for blogging about everyday life, intimate details included.

    Communication can be seen as a social transaction. The more you give and the deeper you connect, the more you will get in return. It is up to the individual blogger to decide how much they are willing to risk.

  4. I think it is various how many information you can post about yourself on your blog, but there are some rules it is safer not to cross. You should not try to make emotional relationships on the web, except if you have the opportunity to meet your new friend personally. Secondly you should not post info about your location, workplace and family members. Of course there is a question, about what you can blog then, but believe me, it is just too great a risk.

  5. To reveal something personal may be quite risky – there’s a lot of connections so a lot of people may get lots of information – quite personal! – about U…

  6. I’m not sure if people really want to know that much about my individuality . . .

  7. the best thing to talk in it is NEGATIVE..

    no matter what..it will be a success 🙂

  8. I am pretty open.I do use an aka of CyberCelt. I am old, married and mean, so I do not worry too much about people bothering me in the real, but I do know women that have been stalked using the information on their pages. I would be careful of naming my small children on my blogs, though.

    Stopping by for BYBS.

  9. I wonder if people would buy an autobiography book about an average person. That sounds like a very interesting concept, indeed.


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