It got me thinking about ways we go about building our brands, making our marks, trying to get ourselves noticed. And how easy it can be to overlook our own flaws when we're blogging or using social media.
Not sure what I mean? Well, in my head, the conversation went something like this:
Voice #1: These Agents and Authors really know what they're talking about. I agree with gusto! Hear hear! Kudos! And all that jazz!
Voice #2: But it doesn't really solve the problem, does it?
Voice #1: Problem? What problem?! I don't do those things. I'm Awesomesauce.
Voice #2: [Rolls theoretical eyes] What about last year when you told everyone your manuscript was 'ready' and gave all the other writers a pep talk about waiting to submit?
Voice #1: Well... yes... it was a mistake. But at least I-
Voice #2: And what about that time earlier this year when you got all hot under the collar about self-publishing TWO MONTHS before the entire industry turned around and started paying attention to independent authors?
Voice #1: Misguided, maybe, but to be fair even the professionals were-
Voice #2: And what about the relationship you buried with an editor by blogging about expensive services at the same time a professional editor was reviewing your book for free?
Voice #1: Shhhh! I haven't told them about that!
Voice #2: [Stares meaningfully]
Voice #1: [Pouts] So what's your point?
Voice #2: My point is, it's easy to overlook your own mistakes because you see it from your point of view. What you meant as an analysis of the writing industry profit-machine could be taken as a rant. What you meant to be an insightful examination of the process of polishing, could be seen as the blind leading the blind, and so on.
Voice #1: So, I shouldn't blog about anything because it might be misconstrued?
Voice #2: That's not what I said.
Voice #1: Can you clarify then, so I can go back to being Awesomesauce?
Voice #2: [Facepalm]
If you didn't catch it, what I'm trying to say is: Sometimes I get it wrong. And sometimes I don't realize I got it wrong until it's too late. And sometimes I see something someone else wrote and think "Uh oh!" - while that person is merrily tapping away, unable to see that what they're saying is unwise.
We all do it because we're terribly biased about our own stuff - even when we're trying not to be.
So I guess I'm encouraging myself (and you) to put aside our pride and excuses, and admit to ourselves (and our alter-egos) that we might need to think twice about what we're putting out there.
The hard part isn't recognizing when something might be 'iffy'. It's not justifying it in your own head. Because when Voice #1 and Voice #2 are the only ones who get to see the conversation, it really isn't helping anyone.
Your Turn: Has there been a time you've blogged, tweeted / social-media'd something that came back to bite you? What did you learn that all of us could benefit from?