I’ve been sharing my writing journey (with hints of my personal journey) for the better part of 12 years now. It’s been a wonderful, enriching experience overall, and through the years there’s been online friends who have grown with me in the process. I thought it would be fun to reflect on the experience and share what the pros and cons are of sharing your journey to encourage and inspire others while building a readership.
People encourage you. I would say my main driving force is to inspire others while living a life that is true to me. It’s the main reason I started writing and why I love blogging and sharing tidbits from my day. The vast majority of the people who react to my posts on the social media spheres are positive. They clap and show respect for the things I’ve done and accomplished. As humans, we all want encouragement sometimes, especially when we’re first starting out.
People can relate to your journey. People will often relate my content to their own journey in some way. It’s one of the best feelings to know you’ve made someone’s experience online happier or that it allowed them the opportunity to share a part of their journey. I used to think I was really strange and almost alien in this world, but connecting with the right people showed there’s a lot who are similar to me and they can relate to some of what I’ve been through.
Sharing can be therapeutic. Social media is a great medium to compose your thoughts and reflect on what you’ve learned, how far you’ve come, what you’ve accomplished. I also love finding those who do the same – it creates a cycle of good energy and it feeds on itself, helping everyone grow.
You can share your struggles, too. Sharing your journey online is also a great way to admit some of the struggles you’ve experienced – past or present – and others can relate to that as well. No matter how happy you are now, no one’s journey is all rainbows and roses. In fact, if you’re struggling with something and actively working to overcome it, others will support you and you can collectively heal and overcome it together. This is a really powerful aspect of connecting with the right people online. Don’t think you can’t ever post anything negative.
Sharing helps your readers connect with you. If you’re an artist or small business owner, sharing your journey can help people connect with you and your work on a deeper level, which adds emotional value to them supporting you.
The worst con of sharing your journey online is unsolicited advice. You’ll share something that has worked really well for you and someone will start firing off advice you didn’t ask for. (I.e. “I’ve found that having a slow morning routine and sticking to a fitness schedule has really helped me maintain a good mood.” Then someone comments “Ah you’re just trying to escape from the emptiness within! You need spirituality in your life!”) *shudder* I don’t think everyone needs to relate to my journey, but if someone shares what makes them happy it’s not a good idea to debate with them or share something that likely won’t be helpful. Unsolicited advice often comes from a lack of respect for others’ autonomy. We are the experts on our own life (Any good mental health worker will tell you this), so we need to decide what is healthy for us and let others do the same.
Not everyone likes to see people thriving. Some people can get offended by encouraging/hype posts. They see people sharing their successes online as gloating when in most cases, they’re just wanting to share good news. I’m against toxic positivity (I.e. Happiness is a choice, stay positive, smile!, etc.), but I’m all for sharing productive thinking that helps people live their best life. I think when people get offended about others’ good news, they’re hurting very deeply. It may be a good idea to unfollow those whose posts are bothersome to you if you’re working on your mental health and feel triggered by others sharing their successes.
Trolls. Need I say more? Some people make it their mission to attack anyone who shares something nice or creative on the Internet. I believe they’re hurting otherwise they’d feel no need to bring others down for fun. They’ll take the simplest, most well-intentioned post and twist it to make it sound like you’re an idiot. It’s best to ignore these types and realize you can’t please everyone.
People can vehemently disagree with you. It’s totally okay to not agree with someone’s ideology or stance on life. You don’t have to like my writing. That’s just a part of being human – and I realize I’m not for everyone. I also think that if you don’t like someone’s style/vibe, it’s best to scroll on past and not engage with those who offend you. If you comment about how wrong or stupid they are, they’re not going to change their mind and at worst it could ruin their mood for a few hours as well as your own, because misery spreads like wildfire.
There are things I disagree with online. Apps like Twitter and Tik tok can be full of misinformation and biases, but I don’t go hunting people down who have different ideologies from me to comment about how much I disagree with them. I’m too happy with my own life to worry about what others are doing with theirs. The one exception is if someone is posting hate speech or racist/sexist/homophobic/transphobic/etc. content – in this case I’d unfollow, call them out, and report them so the app managers can deal with the online abuser.
Overall, I’d say my experience online has been positive and I’m truly grateful. The wonderful thing about sharing your journey is that you can find a great network of like-minded, supportive people who grow with you. Few things are nicer than that. ❤