Nevermind. Let Me Start Over.

Don't Fall In

I sit down many times and compose entire entries for the blog…only to delete them and start over. This morning I did one discussing whether other SAHMs feel guilty complaining about their job as a Mom for fear that their spouse may think, “Hey…you CHOSE this. If you don’t like it…get a REAL job.” Then I deleted it because I just didn’t feel like the words really conveyed what I was saying and I worried I sounded like a spoiled bitch. Other times I delete things because I just think: OMG. That is so boring. Then rarely, and I mean rarely because I’m not controversial by nature, I delete something because I don’t want to…start anything.

These are all moments when I realize, Hey. I obviously don’t write this blog just for myself.

I don’t check stats. I don’t look at numbers. I stopped doing that several years ago because I found myself trying to curb my writing in the direction of more traffic. I didn’t like that at all. I keep this blog as a way for me to make friends, and document my family’s history. It’s my cathartic outlet and my social circle. It’s my scrapbook. When I focus too much on numbers, or even focus at all on numbers, I lose the organic feeling of this environment.

Yet still…I delete entries. I think that’s because this is my social circle. I don’t want to disrupt it with something that has the wrong voice, or the wrong message. You are all my friends and if I can’t get my thoughts out in a way that makes sense without boring you to death…then I delete it. And I’m okay with that. It’s just something interesting I thought about this morning. Some entries I just stick in draft mode because I do want to write them some day. But often? I just delete. I feel like the message is off from the first word to the last. Or, I feel like it’s something I wont feel in a few days so why stir the pot now?

But – it got me thinking – so many of you are bloggers. Do you ever delete entries? I’ve even been known to publish something and then take it down a few hours later after letting it sink in because, Crap. That entry does not actually say what I was trying to say. I’m betting hardly anyone goes that far. I just find it funny that I don’t look at my stats, my referrals, my visitor numbers: Yet I censor myself. In my head, the only people reading this are the dozen or so that comment. Why do I worry so much about what you guys think? Most of you know me well enough to read between the lines anyway. Or to just skip over a really boring topic and come back tomorrow. Yet still? I delete. And I’m wondering if you do that. Do you get something written and then delete it, or take it down later? Why? Is there anyone who truly writes their blog just for themselves? Because even if you all stopped reading I would be writing for my family. And I don’t want to bore them either. (Although I often do, they’ll attest to that.)

So: What is your DELETE policy on blog entries? Do you ever delete something you’ve finished writing (or come very close)? Or do you just stick it in your draft folder? Do you publish everything you put even a portion of effort into?

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31 Responses

  1. kenandbelly says:

    I do a lot of deleting and rewriting– and, as much as I kick myself for still occasionally allowing myself to publish a post before it says things the way I want them to come across, I do go back and edit and even delete published posts with some frequency. Sometimes, when I’m in the writing moment, I think I’m being clear or funny or clever or my kid did something entertaining and then, after a day or two passes, I reread and realize that my point is not coming across the way I want it to. I feel compelled to post every so often because I know that my social/family circle is disappointed if I go to long between posts. Sometimes I publish before I get it right.

    I love my blog; I’m in a situation where I’m pretty geographically isolated from most of my kindred spirits and from my mom friends. My blog keeps me in touch with them. When I’m writing for myself, I’m writing for them. But, for reasons related to my career aspirations and also just to a blog being public media forum, I need to keep a whole different potential audience in mind as well. When I delete in service of that larger, anonymous audience, I feel like I’m letting myself/my favorite audience down. But I just don’t have time in the day to write things as well as I should or to recognize that I’m not writing them as well as I want to.

  2. erin says:

    I rarely delete entries because hardly anyone reads my blog to begin with. But I have deleted a few that were about specific family members (never got published) and I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. The way I read something may be totally different from the way they read it. It sucks sometimes that I feel like I can’t write exactly what I want but it’s not worth the fall out. So I delete anything that might hurt feelings. Or just don’t write about it at all.

  3. Swistle says:

    Yes, I definitely delete. Or more often, save it as a draft until I feel less frustrated by throwing out work, and then delete it later.

    I delete for the same reasons you do. And, like you, I think of a certain sub-group of readers as if they were my only readers. Sometimes I delete a post if I think it will hurt a blog-friend and if I can’t manage to write it so it won’t. Sometimes I write to vent but then find I don’t need to actually publish it to feel vented, and I don’t actually want to DISCUSS the subject so I don’t post it. Sometimes I think something is a great idea but then the writing feels like work and I can’t get it to come out right and I think “If I’m not enjoying this and it’s not important, why am I still doing it?” Sometimes I write something on a subject, and then that day I read, like, two other posts on the same subject, and I get self-conscious and I worry people will think I’m copycatting or I think “Well, now that subject has been covered,” so I delete it.

    A few times I’ve deleted a post that was already posted. Sometimes it’s because I regret sharing something personal. Sometimes I don’t regret sharing, but now that the discussion is over I don’t want it hanging around permanently in the archives. Sometimes it’s about my mother-in-law and I don’t want it found later. Sometimes I can tell by the comments section that I didn’t say what I wanted to say and in fact inadvertently said something I didn’t want to say.

  4. Heather says:

    I don’t delete entries, but all that means is that I just don’t write them in the first place…

    I would love for you to write about being a SAHM. Since I am, there are a lot of things I feel odd about and would like an outlet for, but I have the same issues. I want to complain sometimes, but I feel like I don’t have the right to. I also have issues when it comes to asking my husband to do things sometimes, again because I feel like I don’t have the right.

    It’s tough. We want to write things for ourselves, we want to write things for the internet community that we’ve come to call friends…. I will say that I WISH I had to worry about traffic, but frankly I just don’t have a whole lot of readers. In some ways, I don’t mind that though because I have a dedicated circle of people who I can count on to read and comment.

  5. Carolyn says:

    I’m one of your readers that comments on occasionally and doesn’t have a blog. I’ve tried multiple times to get one off the ground but I censor myself so much, and the topics I want to write about are so sensitive, that I can’t write at all. That being said, please don’t censor yourself. I truly love it when someone else writes what I”m feeling, especially the little things. Especially those. There is no better feeling than knowing you are not alone in the world and I think that’s what the posts on the mundane things help accomplish.

  6. Cass says:

    I have been writing a lot of stuff lately and just not publishing it. When I go back and look at the posts I didn’t publish I always find myself glad that I didn’t publish them but also grateful that I kept them because it gives me insight into where I was at that day…and after a few weeks or months have passed I can look at it constructively.

    I have not published things because I knew that it would/could offend or hurt someone that I care about. I’ve not published things because its not something I’d want Lexi to find in 15 years. I’ve not published because I decided I didn’t care enough about the problem to talk about it. There are lots of reasons to not publish. I think the important thing is you find things to publish and you express it as only you can.

  7. Karen says:

    I tend to censor myself before it ever gets to the writing phase. Heh. Could be why my blog posting has dropped way down. I’m a little insecure, I guess.

  8. I rarely delete entries or decide not to post them…but then again I don’t post until I feel like I have something to say, even if it’s boring.

    I also don’t have a large readership, and I sort of work with the philosophy that I will write what I want, and if people don’t want to read it…they won’t.

    BUT: I do write with it in mind that it is public and out there for eternity…so while I don’t worry about offending my readers, exactly, I do try not to misrepresent myself or those I know and love, especially IRL.

  9. Fraulein N says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever deleted something that I’ve already published, but I have started many an entry only to scrap it. Usually it’s because I’m worried it’s too boring, or too whiny, or some other way I don’t want to come across. Even though my readership’s not on par with yours, I’m certainly not writing (just) for myself. If that were a case, I’d just keep a little locked diary under my bed.

    I hadn’t even realized it until you mentioned it, but I have checked my blog stats in a while, either. That makes me feel like I’ve matured a little bit as a blogger (not that there’s anything wrong with checking stats!), to the point where what I’m saying is more important than how many people are reading it.

  10. ~ifer says:

    I don’t delete blog posts once they are published, but I often delete them when I am working on them. Like you said, they don’t flow the way they did in my head, or they sound awkward.
    And sometimes, it is a matter of censoring myself, of not writing things that I feel will hurt others, or stir up trouble. But you know something? I censor my words in real life for the exact same reasons. There are a myriad of things that I think and won’t say because it will hurt someone or stir up trouble, so I guess it makes sense that my blog is the same way.

  11. Sarah says:

    Oh I delete. Mainly just when I read over something and just feel it came out wrong… Or is boring. That’s a big one. That some things that are amusing in life just don’t transfer well to print.

    But most of all I censor. Not a lot, but some. Once my in laws and extended family started reading I felt like it was harder to talk about periods or random crap. I don’t talk negatively about family at all. Not that I would, but having everyone reading makes me more aware to be cautious when I am frustrated about anything.

  12. stephanie says:

    There are definitely times where I start to write something, then change my mind and abandon it completely. Usually because it’s so boring, I don’t even think it’s something that I would want to go back and read later on, let alone subject other people too.

    I often think about going back through my archives and deleting posts. I have a lot on there that are basically the equivalent of tweets, just five years before Twitter. But if I went and deleted all the crappy, pointless posts, there’d be little left!

  13. I’ve deleted a few entries because I realized they were a tad too personal to be sharing with the interweb at large after publishing them. Far more often, though, I self-censor and just never write the entry I mean to at all because I don’t want to sound spoiled or like I’m bragging. I hate when people post things like MAH HUSBAND IS THE BEST EVAH, so I often self-censor entries that would have been solely about how awesome my husband is… plus, I figure I’m better off just telling HIM, instead of the internet.

    Anyway, yes, a lot of self-censoring.

  14. Pocklock says:

    I TOTALLY get this. I try not to delete anything. I will save drafts and then revisit them another day when perhaps my perspective is different – or if I have figured out a better way to say things. Some days the words make more sense than others. I feel like deleting is cutting myself off though.

    I completely understand not wanting to lose that “organic” flow and feeling. I never look at stats either (if I did, it would be a great way to get depressed!) and I try to just remember that it doesn’t matter who reads it as long as pushing publish makes me feel good.

  15. stace says:

    IF i blogged, i know that i would end up censoring myself and deleting…

  16. Julie says:

    This post, and the comments, were fascinating to me. I usually just write and publish whenever the mood strikes me, but lately I have been wishing I had a more deliberate process.

    One of the (many) reasons I read and admire your blog is because you do such a good job of posting interesting, personal details without being negative or hurtful.

    So whatever you’re doing to get to that point, keep it up. :)

  17. I think this is more of an issue for you than it is for me because you are not even a little bit anonymous on the Internet, whereas I am pretty secretive. I censor in the sense that there are many details of my life and my family’s life that I do not share. What I put out there is only a partial picture of what goes on behind the scenes. There have been a couple of very personal rants that I’ve never published because it did occur to me that one day the real life people they were about might find my blog and it would hurt their feelings.

    Controversial topics I don’t think I shy away from because I’m no stranger to offending people, even in real life. I’m just a bossy loudmouth, I guess. (Although this is probably why I wimp out of going to BlogHer every year.) Much of the blogosphere/ twitter controversy that takes place I don’t comment on because I generally feel it’s a tempest in a tea pot and it doesn’t interest me beyond its moment.

    As for boring topics and some of the other things that I feel might be too personal to share, I am constantly leaving things in draft. The only things I actually delete are draft posts that are so far past being relevant that it would make no sense for me to publish them now.

    At the moment, I have close to 100 posts languishing in draft. Heh.

  18. Jo says:

    I have a few things drafted that I wrote in fits of emotion… sadness, anger, frustration… that I will probably never post. I don’t like the me I see in them. OR I’m afraid someone from work or my community will stumble across them and get me in trouble… and they just don’t work censored in that way.

  19. Meg says:

    Oh, I do the save-as-draft and force myself not to look at it for a few days! I don’t do it for stats — I’m happy to be small time — but because I’m afraid I might have shared too much about someone (cough, cough, THE IN LAWS!), or I wrote a complaining post that was cathartic to write, but doesn’t need to be shared with everyone.

  20. Heather says:

    I solve this problem by … never posting anymore :P Because my life is boring. Oh look, school! Oh look, depression. Etc etc, ad nauseum.

  21. Lindsey says:

    Not a blogger myself, but loyal reader…and you never bore me! Your standards are a whole heck of a lot higher than mine!

  22. Once something is posted, I very rarely delete. However, there are about 30 unused, mostly complete, text entries sitting in a folder on my desktop, from just the past 2 months alone.

  23. Habbala says:

    I write posts that remain in my draft folder forever. Generally, if they’re emotional, I wait a bit, and come back and reread them before posting.

    Most of the time it’s scary to hit publish, but I know that if I am feeling something– it’s not unique. And maybe my perspective will add something to someone else’s life.

    I have deleted posts, but that has more to do with going from “no one know I have a blog” to “everyone of my friends reads”.

  24. Julie Anne says:

    I don’t really delete anything, but that’s b/c I post so rarely. I do edit (a lot, sometimes). I do very much enjoy your blog, though. Whatever your method, it works!

  25. Jenera says:

    Once a post goes up, it stays. And I have occasions where I write something and as I’m proofing it, I delete it because it is too lame for words. Only a handful of times have i stopped and deleted it because it was almost too private though that doesn’t happen too often.

  26. Maggie says:

    I don’t have a blog but I do often delete my comments rather than submit them because they don’t get my point across properly and I worry about how they will be received/perceived.

  27. Marilyn says:

    I try to have a strict “no delete” policy.. because I want my blog to be a strict, no holds barred, window to me. But.. of course it can’t be, especially when I only post about once a week or whatever. ;) But unless something is truly truly Not Cool, I leave it up.

  28. I do it all. I stick stuff in drafts, then usually delete those. I delete entries I almost published. And sometimes I even go back and delete entries which have been published for a while, when I re-read for whatever reason and realize how rotten I sounded.

    I censor myself a lot, too, because I don’t want to start anything. Or run any potential readers off. Or offend anyone. Or have to qualify or defend something I’ve said.

    I wish I could quit looking at numbers. It only makes me feel bad about myself.

  29. Kathleen says:

    I delete, and my audience is almost all related to my child by blood.. so I’m mostly editing to avoid having my mother-in-law think the kid is suffering at day care (he’s not, but she doesn’t understand how I work) or some such…I can’t imagine what a larger audience would do to my inner censor!

  30. Märia says:

    I delete all the time. It gets boring or depressing or I get busy or I get bored or I’m like, nope no one wants to read this.

  31. Jennifer L. says:

    I do EXACTLY the same thing you do: I don’t look at the numbers, but I censor myself because I think of my (2) readers as my friends. I delete many posts, and some I leave in draft mode. The drafts usually get deleted a couple months later.

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