Rules for Writing

Rules for WritingWhen I first started my blog, I didn’t have any rules for writing in place.

Oh sure, I had the standard rules about grammar and spelling (although I violate those from time to time).  But I didn’t have any formal rules about content.

While I’ve never put them down in writing (except the one about not cussing), I do have rules.  They evolved over time, but they are now firmly in place.

My rules for writing

Rule One:  No dishonor.

I won’t write things that would dishonor my husband.  No matter how annoyed I might be at the dirty socks on the floor (or whatever bad habit he may or may not have), my grousing has no place in public.

If you ever meet my husband in real life, I want to you immediately think about an amazing man who does the dishes without nagging.  I want to you chuckle at his obvious Engineering Disease issues.  I want to you see what a great dad he is.

I don’t want you to look at him and think about his dirty socks or toilet seat habits (or whatever).  I don’t want you to look at him and remember that silly thing he said in the heat of an argument last month.

So since I’d rather not burden him with a permanent record of the imaginary (or real) things that annoy me, I don’t document them.  Anything else would be unfair and would be hurtful to my marriage.

Rule Two:  Future Think

I try to remember that my kids won’t always be adorable elementary school kids.  At some point, they’ll be teenagers.  At some point, one of their friends will discover that they have a blogging momma.

The last thing I want for my kids if for some story from my blog to come back and haunt their teen years.  No one needs that.

So there are some really funny stories that will NEVER be told.   I keep potty training stories to a minimum and stay completely away from stories involving normal male curiosity.  No matter how funny they might be, my kids deserve some basic privacy.

Rule Three: No Secrets or Surprises

There is nothing on my blog that isn’t already known by at least some of my friends and family.  The ones who don’t know just haven’t seen me face to face when I had time to tell them.

If it’s something I don’t want my husband, neighbor, mother, or pastor to know about then it shouldn’t be on my blog.

Beyond that, I don’t want my husband or friend to be approached by some total stranger who read something on my blog with some surprise tidbit from my life.  That’s not fair to my husband (or friend or whomever from my real life).

In some cases, I’ve sent a published blog post URL to my hubby and said “oops, forgot to tell you the boys did this.”  I’ve posted stuff on my personal Facebook page so that I could then share it on my blog.    I do my best, but it’s imperfect.

Rule Three:  No Shame

My closest friends and family know that I’ve struggled with depression for years.  They’ve watched me first hand. They’ve prayed me through it.  So it’s not exactly a secret.

But I refrained from writing about it until I was willing to tell the story to strangers face to face.  For a season, I felt shame and wanted to keep it a secret.  I understood that writing about it wasn’t appropriate.  Once I hit the publish button, I have to accept that someone may approach me and want to talk about what I’ve written.

I won’t post what I won’t own.

Rule Four:  No Harm

I do my best not to hurt other people with what I write.  It’s important enough that I cover it in Rules One and Two specifically.  But it goes beyond my family.

There are some juicy tidbits from my remodel fiasco that I’d love to share.  They’re funny.

But I can’t.  The contractor in question is a friend.  He’s in the same small group with us in church.  Telling those stories would potentially hurt him professionally and cause him to lose face with family.  I can’t do that to him or his wife.  Or to my small group.

So the stories remain untold.

Rule Five:  Authenticity, Honesty, Integrity, and Honor

I don’t know how else to say it.  My blog is an honest reflection of who I am.  It reflects my struggles as a mom and a wife.  It’s my journey.  I do my best to be honest.

Rule Six:  Focus

As I’ve continued to blog, I’ve gotten a better sense of what my blog is supposed to be about.

It’s here to encourage you, to give you comfort, to help you with your struggles and to give you hope.  (that part aligns with what I believe to be God’s purpose for my life as a whole.)

Everything I write, whether it’s funny or serious, gets passed through rule six.  If I can’t see how the post will provide encouragement of some form then I don’t post it.

Those are my rules for writing.

Remember when I said up top that I didn’t have them written down? Well… now I do.

If you blog, do you have a filter for what you share?  I’d be curious if your filter is similar to mine.  Or if it’s different, how and why.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://thishappymom.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/DSC_0036.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Houston Mom Blogger Susan Baker has a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood. She has two elementary school boys, one engineering husband, and one cat. She has a strange fascination  for eggs, socks, and books.  She spends far too much time on Social Media and at Target. She is crazy in love with her family.  She serves an amazing God.   She lives an ordinary life filled with wonder. [/author_info] [/author]

 

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Susan Baker
I have a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood and peace in unlikely places. I have two elementary school boys, one nerdy husband, and two cats. I have a strange fascination for bad puns, the color pink, socks, and books. I worry about running out of toilet paper, wine, and chocolate.. I serve an amazing God. I live an ordinary life filled with wonder.
Susan Baker
Susan Baker

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Comments

  1. {Melinda} No wonder I like you! My rules are pretty much identical. In fact, Kathy and I just wrote a blog post for Christine (The Mom Cafe) that talks about the importance of being very careful before we click “Post” or “Send.” Love it.
    Mothering From Scratch recently posted..MOMtor Monday: constant contemplatingMy Profile

  2. Melinda, that’s part of why I like you too (or is that you two? hmm..) I appreciate bloggers who show integrity in their writing. I enjoy following blogs where I know I’m not going to be ambushed by a bad word or lead astray by stuff that shouldn’t have (in my opinion) been published.
    susan recently posted..Rules for WritingMy Profile

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