I don’t write to people-please. I did enough people-pleasing as a scared, awkward child and a codependent wife to a sociopath. Those days, for me, are numbered. I blog to be honest about myself and the way I see the world. Being completely honest isn’t always easy, and there have been many times I haven’t posted something I really wanted to because I was afraid of how people might react. But my track record is pretty good, and usually my desire to post an opinion or viewpoint that may not be “popular” overrides my fear of angering or upsetting someone. Even if I hesitate before posting an unpopular or controversial opinion, more often than not, I’ll eventually post it anyway and worry about the fallout (if any) later.
Most of the time, I’ve been pleasantly surprised. I’ve had people actually thank me for posting a controversial or unpopular opinion, because as it turns out, there are people who feel the same way I do, but haven’t worked up the courage to admit it in public. They are grateful to know they’re not the only person in the world who feels a particular way. Other than those occasional words of gratitude, posting something controversial or unpopular has usually proved to be no more eventful than posting something that’s completely vanilla and inoffensive.
But occasionally, my posting something controversial has been met with anger and even hatred. I have my share of haters, but fortunately they are relatively few. Because I’ve always been a fairly non-confrontational person and also because I have such low self esteem and hate it when people hate me, at first the reality of having haters was hard to take. The first time I got skewered for posting something people strongly disagreed with, I was tempted to close up shop and stop blogging. My self-esteem and motivation to blog took a nosedive for weeks. I was extra careful to keep my posts as vanilla and bland as possible, so as not to offend anyone.
But being vanilla was boring to me. And I think it bored my readers too. My view count diminished, and after awhile of wondering where I went wrong, I realized that I was boring my readers because I was bored. I wanted 75% dark chocolate with chili powder and sea salt, and so did my readers, but I was giving them tapioca pudding because I was afraid of burning any tongues.
I’m not a shit-stirrer. I don’t write controversial things just to be controversial or to get attention. But I often have opinions that don’t go along with what’s popular or politically correct. Writing about these things, if I feel strongly about them, is exciting to me, because I feel like I’m sharing a point of view too often overlooked that I think deserves to be considered. I feel like I’m educating my readers, and sometimes they tell me my viewpoint was one they never considered before. That always makes me feel good. Telling them something nice and PC and popular doesn’t make anyone think. It doesn’t challenge anyone. It doesn’t rock their world. You can go on Google and find 3,654 other posts saying the exact same thing.
If you write honestly, from your heart, and you’re a thinking human being, you are going to have a few opinions that raise a few eyebrows (or even make a few hands curl into fists). And blogging, good blogging, is about honesty, even when it’s un-PC. Frankness and the courage to speak out about how you really feel is what makes a blog popular, even if the opinions stated always aren’t. As a bonus, you’ll get a lot more traffic too. And while you’ll get a few critics and even a few trolls, most of that boost in traffic will be from people who agree with you.