Spare me the drama dumping

May 10, 2014

yellow pansy artsy

Like everyone else, I’ve got drama in my life.

 I argue with my husband, lose friends, have my feelings hurt. All the usual stuff goes on in my life, like everyone else.

I just don’t write about it all that often.

In the old days, we writers would dump it all out on the page and have time to review the wisdom of sending it out some where.  If we still felt the need to send it out, savvy editors would weed out the pieces that didn’t serve readers and that writing would never see the light of day. And that’s a good thing, because if it had, wewriter could look like an idiot. So thanks to the savvy editors who have saved us from ourselves. And saved their publications from that “Say whaaaa?” reader moment.

Back in the day, we’d call on our closest friends and have long, heart-felt sessions during which we’d give and take feedback, and sometimes even reach a different conclusion that our original one. These would be private “confidences,” not headlines.

That’s not what happens in today’s online world. Today, social media feeds and blogs are the new dumping ground for drama.

 Most of it is  described –and justified– as “how I’m finding my path,” whether it’s through kids that act out, job issues, depression, friendships that end, aging, sex–you name it, it’s out there for all to see.

Some of it DOES serve. It sheds important light on a subject or the writer connects it to a larger issue that others can relate to.

But to be frank, most of it’s just what I call Drama Dumping and a way to justify…whatever. Or to complain.

And since I’m being frank, I should say that unless you and I are good friends–and that can be online as well as off–I am not all that interested in your latest Drama Dump. Because I have my own drama to deal with.

I don’t dump mine on you, and I’m not going to read yours.

It makes me a little…uncomfortable… to hear all these deeply personal revelations.

Now, some people will egg others on because they really love to read the dirt. “What?!  Say more!” and that just encourages more detail.

Hey, I love a good tabloid, too, from time to time.

But famous people are not people I know. There’s a distance between us that we don’t have online –where we really can have friends we’ve never met in person.

Just like I don’t want to envision you with your legs wrapped around your husband’s back, I also don’t want to be privy to those deeply personal matters.

Of course, it’s a judgment call, but I’m seeing a lot of really bad judgment out there and I’m not sure that these writers understand the online image they’re building for themselves.

Because if they did, well, they’d exercise better judgment.

So next time you fight with hubby, your kid has a tantrum or you’ve been done wrong, think twice before tweeting it to the world.

Some information should be shared with limited distribution.

If you know what I mean.

32 comments on “Spare me the drama dumping
  1. Puneet Kumar says:

    Everyone has drama in life and this drama looks so natural and real that we trust it as truth but honestly speaking there is a drama within drama and that drama is known only for the few to know. Fight with husband, kids neighbor, friends is truly a DD – (drama dumping as you said) but fight with loved one is not truly fight -sometimes it is a sweet way to draw attention back upon self. This drawing of attention is sweet and hardly few understand……. mostly we find people fighting, making noise and filling their life with boring stuff. …. but sweet stuff is real and sharing makes it more beautiful.
    Carol, magazine editor just publish what they can sell …………. those things which is not sold – are sometime priceless and very important too. Relationship on net or in real both is close if it holds your attention. Relationship is all about attention.

  2. Doreen McGettigan says:

    You bring up some good points. We do need to senser ourselves and make sure what we are putting out there serves or at least entertains someone besides ourselves.

  3. Ryder Ziebarth says:

    I find in memoir, readers want the “dirt”–the piece isn’t “raw, unflinching and utterly fearless” enough without expose. And I think that is a load of crap. In Dan Menaker’s ” My Mistake”, he simply took care of a flawed marriage with one sentence. ‘ I am a lucky man to have a wife who forgives and forgets.” We imagine what went on, but frankly, it wasn’t key to the story for me. He got boo-ed in the Times for his lack of disclosure. It’s a trend and I agree with you. Sometimes its just too much information.

    • admin says:

      I believe in strategically opening the kimono so that what people see serves them in some way. Often, when people do a complete core dump, it reflects badly on them. People draw conclusions about them that they may or may not like. Often all they are doing is venting. Not interested.

  4. Karen says:

    Hoo boy. If I could give this 10 gold stars I would. Recently I got caught up in watching such a train wreck–it was a bit…okay, a lot like becoming addicted to As the Stomach Turns. And it left me feeling like I needed a shower. Eventually I had to put that person on mute…and vow that I won’t let that happen again.

  5. Oriah says:

    Ah, to discern the difference between using personal stories that connect us all and “drama dumps.” Not always easy- but mostly I find it’s a matter of timing. If I am writing from the middle of current drama my discernment is not likely to be good. If I am writing about something personal that happened awhile ago, I seem to know more about what to leave out or put in. I can tell if enough time has passed by how I write the story- if it mostly sensory facts (about inner or outer experience) that has a bit of sparseness about it, it’s probably okay. If I find myself writing my way into justification or argument. . . . it’s probably too soon.

  6. My husband and I often quote our favorite response to a bad assessment on Antiques Roadshow: “Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. ” One person’s “drama dump” is another person’s deeply felt, well-said cry of pain. The beauty of blogging is that we all get to express ourselves in our own particular way—and we all get to hit delete when we don’t like someone else’s expression. These cri de coeurs have, as long as I’ve been blogging, been some of the most potent pieces of writing we have, both in terms of their sheer value as prose AND in their value as tools that knit us into a group of human beings by virtue of our willingness to share. Life is messy, Carol. Neatening it up so it’s palatable for all is–well, kinda like written Muzak. And that’s my opinion….

    • admin says:

      Thanks, Jane, for presenting a cogent opposing view and progressing the discussion. I’m not so much suggesting neatening it up as I am in exercising better judgment in what is put out there. My bottom line is the same as Oriah’s for my own writing and any writing coach I’ve had has pointed out when things sound like self serving whines. Distance can serve. Of course, not always. Sometimes we hold on to things way too long and will never see it clearly. But that has to do with our own personal development.

  7. Carol Graham says:

    You go girl! I totally agree – one of the reasons I don’t do much on Face book anymore.

  8. Lana says:

    Very interesting. As a brand new blogger finding my writing “voice” I found this post to be very helpful. Have a great weekend!

  9. Mary Buchan says:

    Excellent post! This is great input for navigating the world of social media.

  10. I agree Carol! I didn’t join Facebook or any other Social media sources until this year because I have heard about so much of this. I want to make and keep my online friends they are becoming as important as the writing, but I could not see me sharing intimate relationship facts on my blog or with virtual strangers. I don’t want to tell it or read it.

    • admin says:

      I had a long career in reputation management and what’s clear to me is that people who do the drama dumps don’t really get how this reflects on them. Conclusions are drawn and they can be…well…not so good.

  11. Jay Lickus says:

    Damn Carol,

    Who pissed in your Cheerios? LOL

  12. I think in the old days writers hid their pain behind fiction.

  13. There should be a count-to-ten kind of rule for bloggers who write anything about anyone while they’re angry. Or maybe just a journal.

  14. Jennifer Wilck says:

    You make excellent points here. I do think too much drama isn’t good, although venting occasionally is useful. In my opinion, if it isn’t going to make me laugh, I probably don’t want to read it on someone’s blog.

    • admin says:

      I definitely think that a post that vents but serves the greater good is helpful, even if it doesn’t make me laugh. But that vomiting all emotions, hurt and resentment on the screen just irritates me. 😉

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