These tips for personal blogging and emotional healing are from a blogger who survived depression and a serious head injury. Steffani Cameron spoke at Mental Health Camp at UBC in Vancouver; she’s been blogging since 2004.

blogging for emotional healingWhy is it better than okay to share your personal trauma and drama with the masses? “The good writing of any age has always been the product of someone’s neurosis, and we’d have a mighty dull literature if all the writers that came along were a bunch of happy chuckleheads.” ~ William Styron, Writers at Work, 1958. As I explain in How I Became a Blogger – Laurie’s Story, we’re definitely not a bunch of happy chuckleheads here on Blossom.

Fellow bloggers, you could change your readers’ lives by sharing your neuroses. However, you must not spew willy nilly! Carefully choose what to share with your readers. Here are Steff’s tips for personal blogging and emotional healing…

Ripping the Scab Off Through Writing

“Secrecy prevents healing,” says Steff. “If writing hurts, leaves me nauseous at the prospect of publishing, I know it’s what others need to read.”

Her blog chronicles her dramatic reversal of writers’ block and going into and coming out of depression. “Blogging’s cheaper than therapy, lasts longer than mastu***tion. What’s not to love?”

Steff’s goal is to help readers understand the why and how of her emotional healing. And, she wants readers to reach for that same type of healing through their own personal blogging.

1. Expect critical comments from readers

“The as*holes are on the Internet – and they’re anonymous,” says Steff. “They want to redeem themselves for their $8 an hour job by dumping on you. If you make yourself vulnerable on the web, you need to be prepared that you will be attacked sooner or later.” Personal bloggers need a thick skin, and have to be prepared to take criticism.

2. Look for the nuggets of gold in readers’ criticisms

Steff encourages bloggers to look for validity in readers’ statements, and learn from criticism. “Once you get past the negativity, the reward is that you gain a new perspective on your life,” she says.

3. Be aware that emotional healing can be compromised by blogging too much, too early

If you’re not ready to face your issues, you can damage yourself by going too deep with your personal writing. If you bury a memory and if you go into a deep place with your blogging, it can bring things out that you forgot that was there. It could be a fantastic catharsis, or it can be traumatic. So, if you are blogging for emotional healing, walk softly. Don’t forget your big stick.

4. Focus on big themes when you first start writing

You don’t need specific details to express yourself through writing. Write on big themes (eg, love, disappointment, human fears, etc) – experiences that most readers can identify with. Avoid the heavy specific topics (eg, severe depression, antidepressants, suicidal thoughts). Big general themes allow you to develop your blogger’s voice and protect you from readers’ negative comments.

5. Remember that it takes time and effort to build a blog readership

If you build it, readers will come….right? Wrong. Steff says, “Just because you write it doesn’t mean they’ll read it.”

6. Be aware of the great irony of blogging and social media

Social media can do the opposite of creating community! Friends assume they know how you’re doing because of your Facebook and Twitter status, and your blog posts of course. So they may not call or email you…and they don’t really know how you’re doing (though they think they do!). The price of blogging your life is that people take it for granted.

7. Balance emotional healing with your readers’ needs and interests

Look at your problems as a way to share with and help other people. What is relevant for your readers?

blogging emotional healing

7 Tips for Blogging and Emotional Healing

“Someone somewhere is weaker than you and has farther to travel,” says Steff. “Your story could give them strength.” She encourages bloggers not to blog just for the sake of hearing the sound of their own voices.

Since Steff is working towards self-employment, I couldn’t help but ask…”Have you thought about monetizing your blog?”

“That f***ed me up good,” she said. At a low point in her life, she started monetizing her blog and making t-shirts. At the time she was also trying to be an anonymous blogger, which created more problems. She worried too much about advertising, and stopped being true to her journey. She stopped writing authentically, and lost her motivation. As a bonus, she lost 95% of her traffic.

“Monetizing your blog changes your content, and changes you,” she says.

Fellow scribes, are you a “personal blogger” – and does your blog affect your emotional healing? I welcome your comments and questions below.

If you are interested in making money as a blogger, read How Bloggers Make Money – From Ads to eBooks.

To learn more about this blogger, visit Steffani Cameron or follow her on Twitter at @SmuttySteff.

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8 thoughts on “7 Tips for Blogging and Emotional Healing”

  1. Really good advice. I for one know it is too easy to jump into blogging right after something has happened. But what I have found is if you do take the time like you recommend, you end up understanding the situation better. Many times my breakthroughs and things that would be beneficial to readers come after I have spent quite time contemplating it.

  2. 1. Expect critical comments from readers –that’s a good one. It’s hard sometimes for writers, I think, to expect the attacks when we feel so passionately about our work. I happen to think everything I’ve posted is pretty amazing, but that’s just after I hit the publish button. When the excitement wears off, the mood fades and I reread my masterpiece, I’m usually able to look at it differently and see the other side of things. The key is to expect attacks and maybe even accept them. Sometimes that jerk behind the keyboard has a teeny point that will inspire a new thought…or blog post. I have to learn to get out of my own way sometimes.

  3. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Daree ~ That’s great that you’ve received such positive responses from readers. I wish all personal bloggers would receive support like that, especially at the beginning of their blogging journey.

    Elle ~ Wow, it sounds like blogging really helped you deal with your husband’s betrayal! The ‘net can be such a source of comfort and support…I’m so glad it worked for you. I bet you’re a source of inspiration and support to others going through what you did.

    Thanks for being here!


  4. After surviving my husband’s affair…and struggling to find my voice in the isolation and loneliness that frequently followed betrayal…I began a blog to help me heal and to create a sense of community with others going through the same agony. It’s not something most of talk about with our neighbour’s as we weed our gardens (“How’re things?” “Well, I just discovered my husband is banging his secretary. How’re things with you?”…) or, if we do talk to friends and family, we’re often offered less than useful or meaningful advice. It helps to share with those who’ve walked the same road.
    It has been enormously healing for me. It allows me to feel like something good has come out of this mess – a chance to turn my pain into wisdom to share with others.
    And that’s the beauty of blogging – it offers the chance to create community with others we might never encounter in real life. To share our pain and lighten our load.

  5. People really value honesty. Sharing your insights is a great equalizer, and can give people hope. In my early years of personal essay writing, I sometimes had to take a deep breath before hitting “Publish now” but I always get great feedback from the most unexpected readers–even if they don’t want to leave a comment on the blog itself.

  6. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hi Jessie,

    I had to look solipsistic up! According to Wikipedia, solipsism is the philosophical idea that only one’s mind is sure to exist….so in this case, does it mean personal blogging is too focused ont he self?

    Yes, the beauty of blogging is that your blog can be whatever you make of it. Unless of course your blog infringes on other’s rights, or causes or encourages harm in some way.

    As interesting as personal blogging for emotional healing is, I can’t ever see myself doing it. I’d want my healing to be private.

    I like that Steff encouraged bloggers not to blog just for the sake of blogging…..but if it’s your blog, then I think you should feel free to express yourself without overthinking your posts.

    Anyway, thanks for your comments Jessie!


  7. There are some people out there who would think that Steffani’s way is too solipsistic. I am not one of them. Sometimes you have to give to yourself before you can give to others. And if blogging helps you, then go for it. The 7 tips are great because you’re right, not everyone is going to appreciate you. They’ll call you self-absorbed and self-indulgent and they tend to be the people who do not allow one minute of self-reflection for themselves. I’m not saying that’s bad or good. Just different. Even non-writers have neurosises. And if your blog is the way you want to heal yourself – it is up to you. Variety is what’s great about blogging.