I often receive messages from people who are contemplating starting a blog documenting their own divorce journey. They are usually nervous about discussing such personal detail in a public forum (me too!). And they have questions for me. Sometimes really good concerns, like the ones below.
Here’s my advice for those contemplating a divorce blog. I’m no expert. I screw things up a lot. But I do have several years experience now sharing my personal life with others (Why I Write).
Frankly, I’m kinda nervous to go through my writings and remember things I’m happy to have forgotten.
Yeah, it sucks. I cried a ton while writing the book and I’m still known to cry while writing (or even re-reading) certain blog posts. But it’s cleansing. The writing helps the processing and the repetition helps lessen the sting. We often want to hide from the pain, to pretend we are healed before we really are. If you read it and it still bothers you, you’re still holding on to the pain. The only way to truly heal is to go through it.
I’m nervous about looking pathetic and/or vengeful and/or vindictive
Some people will always read you that way. You should see some of my HuffPost hate mail. I finally realized that it’s their own garbage talking. But most people reading you will be going through their own divorce and they’ll get it. Trust me, we’ve all had some pretty powerful revenge fantasies. Don’t slander but also don’t be afraid to speak the truth of your emotions.
Over-sharing (maybe somewhat related to the above). there are things that divorced people fantasize that I assume would horrify the general public.
Create your own boundaries and stick to them. For example, I’ll share anything about my ex/former marriage (except his identity – read why) but I’m much more careful with my current marriage; much of that is off the table. As for the content, I’m not afraid to speak the brutal, harsh truth. It’s reality sometimes. An important note here – if your divorce is not final, most attorneys will tell you not to share publicly.
Something about letting sleeping dogs lie
I thought about that one myself once I entered into a stable relationship and had done most of the healing. However, I realized that it’s important for those of who have made it through and are willing to share our stories: beginning, middle and hopefully not-the-end.
The possibility that repercussions could involve her posting her own commentary that escalates things in a public forum.
It’s a risk. I don’t worry about that since mine has a felony warrant – it makes a nice “gag order” 🙂 Always assume that anything you write online (even if posted anonymously) can (and most likely will) be found by your ex and his/her family. If you have kids, they may see it too. Keep that in mind.
Since my documentation is almost exclusively emails to various people or gchats or text message, it is very personal and colored with visceral anguish. i wouldn’t know how to turn these into something along the lines of a palatable blog.
Just write. It’ll shape itself over time as you find your voice.
However, going with a “just the facts ma’am” approach, i’d fear being too cut-and-dried/black and white/matter-of-fact/sterile, and where is the catharsis in that?
People respond more to emotion. Let your fingers be a conduit for your feelings.
Getting my facts messed up (he-said-she-said, second-hand communication, etc.)
Don’t worry about it. All memory is fallible.
Writing is one of the most effective strategies for dealing with divorce and loss. Sharing your story add another dimension: dialog with others, the sense of being part of a community and an opportunity to help people in a similar situation. However, sharing is not without risk. Make sure you plan ahead before you hang your dirty laundry out to dry on the internets.