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Your Story Is In The Gaps

Your Story Is In The Gaps

I like it when bloggers share pictures, especially the ones who aren’t known for their photography.

Not because I’m a connoisseur of photography. The truth is that I cannot ordinarily even tell the difference between legitimately good photography and photography that has been processed within an inch of its life.

What I like about pictures on a blog is not even at the center of the photograph — it’s usually around the edges. It’s in the background. It’s the stuff that is not really supposed to be in the picture at all, and maybe wouldn’t be, if the blogger had looked more carefully at the picture before it was posted on the website.

I like the stuff that shows up unedited, that makes it past the editor by mistake. Or else, the stuff that makes it past the editor because the editor is so used to looking at it that he or she cannot see it anymore, and has ceased to think of it as something worthy of changing.

That kind of realism — the background (or backstory) that develops when you read a blog regularly — is the primary appeal of reading any kind of blog with one consistent narrative voice. Even if it’s not a personal blog per se, a blog written by one person is shaped by psychology in intriguing ways, particularly in the moments when the self-conscious editor is not completely on his or her “game,” so to speak.

I refer to those moments as “the gaps.”

You will know you are in the gaps when you are a little afraid to publish a post. Or when you get a little nervous at the response to a post. Or when you realize you have posted something that reveals a little more than you have intended.

You might feel a little sick in the gaps. They are not something you will necessarily want to deal with every day. But your story also emerges in them, and the best bloggers know that they are essential to creating an intriguing blog.

Don’t be afraid of the gaps — just don’t let them totally trip you up.

Comments (8)

  1. Jan 26, 2011

    I love watching the background too. Looking to see what is laying on the floor, or stacked on the bookshelves.

  2. I feel the same way- about what I percieve in others, and what I publish myself.

    Steph

  3. Jan 26, 2011

    I hope you are right about this, having just been in the gaps a couple posts ago. I really didn’t anticipate what happened, but I learned my lesson.

  4. Jan 26, 2011

    This is just what I needed to hear today.

  5. Jan 26, 2011

    I love the photograph analogy. The whole idea of what else is there that someone else can see that we may not be calling our main story. It’s a really compelling idea–both as a reader, and, in a heart-quickening way, as a blogger. What in the background might I be willing to explore…intriguing!

  6. Jan 26, 2011

    Great post. I’ve made a conscious effort to write more in the gaps this year. We’ll see how it works out for me.

  7. Jan 26, 2011

    That’s interesting, because that’s what I look for when I am researching people…the stuff that didn’t make it into the bio or the obit. I like the snapshots better than the portraits, always.

    But I hadn’t considered it as it relates to living people. You’re right, though. In blogging (and in real-life relationships), that’s the parts that matter. In fact, they might be the only parts that matter.

  8. Jan 27, 2011

    Oh, Anna.
    Yes. Yes to all of it.
    This is a great post.

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