My journey into personal writing.
I do think we live in an era of oversharing, but I think you're approaching it from your style and perspective has found a perfect balance.
This is a perfect article, (Ramona, I can hear you laughing and thinking there is no such thing). I say this because it's timely and you have the experience both professionally and personally to be able to talk about personal sharing from a few different angles and, of course because we are all wondering! Where is that line, what do we want to do with this and how do we do it well?
Like you, I never write about my marriage and rarely about my family. I don't feel comfortable involving a loved one's intimate story in my writing because they may not be okay with it. Then there's the oversharing of our current culture to the point that we are immune to what Joe on the other side of the world had for breakfast. And yet...there is that human aspect, the archetypes that play out whether we are aware of them or not. We want to hear about those because it is inspiring, healing, or helps us be a better human.
There is no right answer, and everyone needs to do what fits them best, but I must say I like it when I get a little peek at what's going on on the inside.
Thank you! I have been guilty of “oversharing” with a lot of things. There are other things which I have learned in the last few years that I have not been able to even approach. Things I was sure I knew- which turned out to be false memories from a childhood so innocent I could not bring myself to accept .
What you have written is touching, but also tells me I do not HAVE to tell anyone- unless I choose to do so.
Thank you for sharing 💖
Hi, I agree with your point that each person makes his or her own decision about what feels right to share. I also am a very private person, but have found that writing has been a way to express the pain in my heart and helped me "soldier on."
This piece gave me so much to contemplate. 🙂 I think we’ve confused what is meant for publishing and what is meant for creative extraction—a process that is necessarily messy, confessional, confusing, swirling, illogical and so forth. So do we tell writers to stop oversharing? I’m not so sure. Because I often get the sense that writers heed this advice and assume good writing is the kind that skips over the messy part ... and then they only let themselves ever write something neat and tidy. And then of course that writing is quite boring. So I guess all that to say is: it’s a delicate matter. ;)
I think what you have really sharpened in your writing toolbox is the fact that you write honestly and then you edit, hone and sharpen for publication. Reading between the lines of your piece, I think you alluded to that editing process—and you're able to be honest about some pieces not being ready for publishing, for myriad reasons. That intentionality really is a good gut check on whether this is writing that’s called to be published, or if it’s meant to serve some other offline or relational or private modality. It does take a bit of practice, though. If only we had some online place to share our writing and hone our craft. 😉
This piece was quite moving, and quite helpful. Nice work!
This was such a wonderful post, Ramona. It’s something I’m wrestling with right now, too. Thank you for sharing and I’m looking forward to reading more of your words and wisdom. Blessed to hear from you today!
I remain in awe of your ability to read my mind. A beloved sister's sudden passing four years ago still weighs heavily and I've yet to express it on paper. So heavy is my heart but soon enough, like you, I shall. Your experience motivates. Thank you.
I've wondered my entire life when we humans are going to figure out Balance.
Appreciate your thoughts and process in this post! When I joined the grief club a few years ago, I read all the memoirs I could find, from CS Lewis to Joan Didion to Jayson Greene. That feeling of not being alone but not having to be with people was essential.
Writing about grief myself comes and goes - it was easier to be open in the initial shock, now I tend to allude to it sideways and look at it out of the corner of my eye. But that may well change again.
This is a beautifully written, honest and brave piece, Ramona. Thanks so much for sharing it.
I've felt quite similarly about my own writing, and I've come to similar conclusions over the decades. Peeling back the curtain a little and letting folks walk alongside me, instead of speaking at them, has been huge. It's not easy, though! I struggle with it constantly.
I'm a private person as well, and an introvert, in spite of playing someone different online some of the time.
This truly moved me. Your candor is admirable.
Well-written article. Inspiring. I want to say more but am afraid of overstepping boundaries. I enjoy substack and am looking forward to learning as I go along on my writing journey
I've been digesting this post for a few days, appreciating the willingness, or courage, it took to share this part of your journey and wondering if I should have held back more often than I have. Then, reading comments and recognizing the individuality of it all, rather than the rightness or wrongness of any one style.
I appreciate learning from you and others here about why some subject matter may always feel like it needs to stay protected, and that makes total sense to me. That said, I don't feel I could write authentically if I were walling off big parts of my life. I suppose I'm too much of a heart-on-my-sleeve kind of girl for that, but I admire those who can and do it well.