So, I encourage anyone who is gay and Mormon to consider blogging as a therapeutic way to think about and work through this issue.
At the same time, I do have a few tips and tricks for the novice blogger. I've learned a few things the hard way and maybe by offering some advice I can save others from the same mistakes. Keep in mind, these are just the thoughts of me, one random blogger, and they may have no benefit or relevance at all. But here they are in case they do:
- Be anonymous. This is disputable, certainly, as plenty of folks are either not anonymous or semi-anonymous and seem to be doing just fine. But I've found clear benefit in the freedom to discuss anything I want, including, for example, my struggles with pornography--something I don't want Mom and Dad reading about regularly.
----a) The first corollary to #1 is that you can't include personally identifiable biographical information in your blog--even if it seems vague. I've seen at least three gay Mormon bloggers decide on a moment's notice to delete their entire blog because of anonymity issues. I've also seen at least two anonymous bloggers recognized by members of their ward. Why would these ward members be frequenting gay Mormon blogs? Who knows!? But they apparently do! So, be careful and save yourself the angst.
----b) The second corollary to #1 is that if you have another blog that is not anonymous and you post to both from the same computer, you might want to use different browsers for the different identities. I've, unfortunately, posted comments on gay Mormon blogs as my true identity and posted comments on various family blogs as -L-. Not cool. So now I always use FireFox for one identity and IE for the other. You might even consider Opera if you hate Microsoft as much as I do.
----c) Third corollary to #1: you may eventually get to know and love other bloggers, but don't be too hasty to out yourself. After chatting enough with folks outside the blogs, I've outed myself to various people with mixed results. I've made some close friends that are very supportive and I now have the benefit of having a "normal" friendship with them that isn't exclusively focused on sexual and religious issues. But I've also outed myself to some people I wish I hadn't. I finally decided that as a rule of thumb, my wife has to give me permission to out myself to someone. That gives me an excuse not to if I don't want to, and keeps me from doing so hastily if I want to too much. Hope that makes sense. Come up with a system that works for you.
- Don't wait for something earth-shattering to say to post or comment. Get comfortable with the crowd.
- When you've finally got the blog going in a good rhythm, think about the potential of being a bit more structured in your approach. I like to post whatever random thing I'm thinking about on a given day, but for those times when I've got nothing, but want to think through some issue to get that catharsis, I have some backups always on reserve. For example, I'm doing the 12 steps of addiction recovery. It's a workbook and has a million questions to think through. I'm not rushing it, and I can always post on those topics if I want something to think about. I also have made the habit of reading books and reviewing them on my blog. But the reviews aren't really assessing the work itself, they're more of an exploration of my own response. It gives me a chance to decide what I think about stuff deliberately. Make a list of what you want to figure out. Then figure it out over time on the blog.
- Don't be afraid to write about something someone else has already covered. That's the beauty of blogging--it's a personal journey and what's on your mind is perfectly legit, no matter who has already done a PhD in that topic and blogged it.
- You can always write posts for yourself that are super personal and just keep them in draft status. I have a few of those. It's all the benefits of a journal with a peanut gallery only when I want it. ;-)
- Be nice even if you are really, really cranky. Cyber people are real people even when they're stupid. (I've been cranky way too often--many apologies to all!)
- Let me know if you start a blog so I can read it. Don't make me do the work of finding you on my own.
- Don't follow the rules. I'm just saying what I do, and if it's helpful to you in doing your own thing... great!