The joys and pains of writing personal essays for Offbeat Bride

Screen shot 2011-04-04 at 12.20.48 PMIn five minutes from now, another one of my personal posts will be going live on Offbeat Bride.

Normally I write posts like 17 wedding bouquet alternatives for fearless brides, Rock ‘n’ roll wedding favors to match your kick-ass wedding or geeky wedding cakes. These allow me to do my faovrite things which is to write, connect with people and (hopefully) help others. Invariably, my favorite posts are the personal ones though; No, he doesn’t wear a ring, Romance and marriage and this newest one The F word. But these are also the most frightening ones I ever write.

I often let them sit in the queue for months and months, afraid to put them up for review, because I know that once they go live, it’s like my soul is bared and has become carrion for our readers to pick apart, devour or spit out if they don’t like those particular pieces of soul meat that are my personal views. I can’t tell you how awful it felt when I posted about my husband’s choice to not wear a ring, thinking that the post would be a platform for other people to say “I don’t wear a ring either, and I don’t think I should be judged!” Instead, I got comments like, “I wouldn’t trust a man who doesn’t wear his ring,” “that doesn’t seem right,” etc, etc. Until it culminated in a public breakdown at the YMCA, where I’m pretty sure I scared the crap out of a little boy and his mother who were just trying to sign him up for a summer camp, and I had to just stop reading the comments.

And there’s always the fact that I will more than likely insult someone to their very core. I have a habit of being the most “offending” writer in the Empire. My sense of humor often rubs people the wrong way. Hell, even when I right light posts like an offbeat venue roundup, I somehow manage to upset people.

By now the post has gone live and the first few comments have not only been very supportive. But this one was downright AWESOME:

“I totally get what you mean when people don’t know how to react to you not saying that damned word but hey, you’re fu@king Offbeat Megan! You do whatever you DAMN please!”

And THAT my friends, THAT is why I love writing those personal posts.

However, I’m still taking bets on what will insult someone this time… I’m going with: “ARE YOU SAYING THAT PEOPLE WHO USE THE WORD FIANCE ARE BEING SNOBBY!? I SAY FIANCE. I’M OUTRAGED AT YOUR ACCUSATION MADAM!”

I guess it’s like anything in life — a give and take. By putting myself out there, I can connect with others who are like me, and I can also piss people off who aren’t like me, and vice versa. Either way, I love my job. The ups and downs of the roller coaster that is writing for Offbeat Bride is, at the least, never boring! 🙂

11 thoughts on “The joys and pains of writing personal essays for Offbeat Bride

  1. Ariel

    It makes me sort of sad that I don’t feel comfortable writing personally revealing posts on my own fucking websites (especially Offbeat Mama — I am just too thin-skinned to take the parenting heat!) but I commend you on your bravery, Padawan.

    1. meganfinley

      Yeah, I can imagine the parenting heat is WAY different (and more painful) than any of the silly wedding heat we get. But still, personal shtuff is still personal shtuff and we’re thensthitive about it. 😉

  2. Stephanie

    I’m always surprised when I do write something that I just KNOW someone is going to be mean to me about, and most people aren’t. It makes me braver! Positive reinforcement!

    I will say I’m in the middle of an online identity crisis, so to speak. I’m kind of scaling back the amount of info that I’m willing to put out there on blogs, closing down Casa and shifting it to another, not-only-child-focused blog, etc. It’s a process.

    1. meganfinley

      I’m actually getting to the point where I’m shocked if NO ONE gets angry with me in the comments! And so far, no one has today! Ah, but the day is young. 😉

  3. Taryn

    I hear ya ladies! I’ve been on a rampage lately against the f-ing ridiculous judgement that goes on in the wedding industry. Especially un-deserved evilness against bloggers with fresh opinions and couples who are simply trying to do their own thing. I hate that I always reconsider publishing a personal-opinion post about 400 times before clicking ‘go.’ (I wrote one supporting McWeddings that literally caused me to shake with anxiety.) But in the end, we have to put those opinions out there – even if there are lots of hateful, judgmental responses, the fact that your personal thoughts may strike a chord with just one person who’s struggling with the issue themselves makes it totally worth it.

    Write on ladies, write on! The WIC world NEEDS awesome peeps like you.

    1. meganfinley

      You know, if you let the fear overwhelm you, then your writing gets toothless and bland and who the fuck wants to read bland shit? But then again, you can’t be TOO extreme with it, you risk alienating your audience and that’s no good either. It’s a fine line, but when it pays off the result is better than anything you can imagine.

  4. Ken Napzok

    Megs… if you were to stop baring your soul you’d suffer a fate worse than public scorn: personal censorship. In my years of writing, and my former career as morning show DJ, I have learned that you reach the silent majority you a lot more than you offend the cantankerous minority. Keep at it.

    1. meganfinley

      Totally, but damn that cantankerous minority — why do THEY stand out the most? That’s what gets to me. But you’re right, I hardly think about all the people that DON’T say “yay! what you said!” but are still thinking it to themselves. I should remember that more often. thanks ken!

  5. Lauren

    a) That is THE cutest picture of you.
    b) I got so paranoid writing about myself or even anything I felt strongly about on the internet that I quit… and no one had even said anything bad yet. Granted, it was a highly stressful time and so that may have had more to do with the paranoia than the writing, but still putting yourself out there on the internet: it takes Courage, more than it would initially appear.
    c) Some people srsly need to chill, I mean really.
    d) you have made many excellent points that make me feel better about things (my husband wears a ring… sometimes… and it’s whatevs especially after I read your post, I was like: I should just be relaxed about this like how Megan is. also f the f word… i never used that shit, i would just say “this is Aidan” and then grab his ass to get the point across)

    1. meganfinley

      a) That was taken, like, four (five? I can’t do the math) years ago — one of those “totally showing off the new ring, but trying not to look like you’re showing off the ring/just got engaged” shots. Classic.

      b) If you’re not comfortable with that shit, then it’s best to not put it out there. I’m sloooooowly developing a thick skin, but the feeling you get when someone (even a stupid stranger) rejects you is AWFUL.

      c) Amen sister.

      d) I laughed the hell out loud when I pictured that. you are so amazing.

  6. Ang

    Oh Honey, people are sad pathetic little shit monkeys sometimes and there’s nothing you can do about it. I love when you write personal stuff, and I usually don’t comment because it would be a lot of “ZOMG me too!!!”

    To be honest, I am kind of the opposite of you… I like when people go after me, because I like shutting them up. (BRING IT ON BI-ATCH!!!!) Unfortunately my posts garner the opposite reaction and everyone is all loverly and happy. Cept that one time, which I was all giddy about.

    You know you’ve hit the big time when you have haters.

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