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The Publish Button

Is it just me or does the publish button seem to hold a mysterious power?

There are plenty of posts that I write that never see the light-of-screen (which I guess is the blogging equivalent of never seeing the light-of-day).  But the hugely emotional ones?  The ones I grapple with?  The ones that take me forever to write because I am so invested in the words?  Those only feel complete once I hit the publish button.

Is it because blogging sometimes feels closely related to therapy?

Therapists often just sit there, listening, and honestly, their prompting sometimes just sounds like a polite reminder that they’re listening.  Yes, their questions can guide the conversation and their assessment can bring new light to an old problem, but a vast majority of therapy is simply talking, putting words to a situation, pondering it, crying about it.  It’s more that a person let’s go and talks most honestly with their therapist since they’re unencumbered with worrying about the listener’s feelings.  They’re not censoring themselves to spare the other person.

But in that regard, why isn’t writing in a journal or talking to the wall in your living room just as productive as therapy?  Is it really the questions or the brief assessment at the end of the session?  Or do we only really let go of unhelpful or useless thoughts and feelings when we know that someone else has collected them?

Do we need to know that someone else is sharing the burden of our thoughts?

Back to blogging, where is the line?  Do we just need to know the post is out there to get that release?  Do we need to know that people have read it?  Do we only start feeling like we can let go of those words and not let them have a hold of us once people comment (to either let us know that they heard or to let us know a “me too!”)  Or do we only get the release we feel from therapy when someone starts guiding our process by asking questions or giving advice or telling us how they hear our words?

What do you need to have happen to feel like posting it was worth it?  That posting it needed to happen so you could let go?

Or are you okay with not hitting the publish button?  Can you get the same release by leaving your words in the draft folder?


1 Mina { 10.18.11 at 7:54 am }

Only a very few posts I write do not get published. I am talking about mostly venting posts, which I find too silly or pointless after I write them to hit the publish button. It is certainly therapy for me. I always figure things through when I talk or write. Thinking for myself gets me nowhere, as pathetic as that may sound.

Hitting the publish button is therapeutical every time. Not hitting it only means that even I realise how daft I am sometimes. I can remember only one time when I did not publish a post because it was too mean, even though I still think those things. Yes, they are still mean, but I am not a saint, and they still bother me. But writing them made me accept them and me as a less-than-perfect being. Not publishing them makes me like myself better, I mean, there is still a chance for me to get over them, right?

2 jodifur { 10.18.11 at 8:10 am }

I struggled about posting my post today. It is about letting go of friendships, and even though I’m posting about people I don’t talk to anymore, I felt like I had loyalty towards them. I think publish does have power, because the written word can hurt people.

3 Becky { 10.18.11 at 8:29 am }

I pretty much always publish if I’ve written it completely. Sometimes I’ll schedule it to publish for several days out, I guess to kind of give myself some time to make sure I’m sure. But I always (as far as I can remember) end up publishing it. And I do think, for me at least, that the pubblishing of it allows me to let go of it. I don’t guess I’d ever connected those 2 things though, so thanks for that insight 🙂

4 Chickenpig { 10.18.11 at 9:15 am }

I have several unpublished posts. I was venting at the moment, and didn’t publish because I didn’t want what was happening to become real. One was in the middle of my son’s long, undiagnosed illness (he may still be sick, he goes back to the doctor’s every 6 months because they think he has a difficult to diagnose syndrome…one that can be fatal if not diagnosed properly. nice. ). I was so afraid at the time, and hitting publish just seemed to give validation to my fears. I can’t even stand to read the draft, I couldn’t see publishing it. It would have been different if I had a diagnosis, because then I would be seeking help from people in my situation. It did feel better to write it, though, so sometimes writing can be its own therapy, for me at least.

5 amy { 10.18.11 at 12:40 pm }

I always have the hubby read them through if they are iffy. Just because the iffy ones are almost always about his family, and I try not to rock the boat too much.

6 It Is What It Is { 10.18.11 at 1:05 pm }

I enjoy the catharsis that writing brings. Not just the mechanics of getting thoughts formed into sentences, but the word-smithing, creating sentence structure, etc. That said, I publish almost all of my posts. There are some, though, that needed to be written and since they would be viewed as potentially hurtful should their subjects uncover them, I have not posted them. That feels disingenuous to me, so eventually I will publish them. I think it is akin to writing a poison pen letter to a soon-to-be ex and never sending it. Sometimes just the organizing of thoughts and getting them down IS what matters, not whether anyone else reads them.

7 Annie { 10.18.11 at 1:29 pm }

For me just knowing people were reading helped. And the “me too” also helps. That’s why reading and commenting on other people’s blogs is also so helpful. I’ll still do that but have decided to shut my own blog down. And getting only one comment on my most recent post certainly confirms this decision. Do stop by next week, though as I’m giving away some fun prizes as a sort of “thank you” for the support & comments (not a single mean one in 2+ years!) that helped me in some very dark times.

8 Justine { 10.18.11 at 3:37 pm }

I waffle on this one … sometimes hitting “publish” feels good … but sometimes it’s just too hard. The post I wrote about my loss, the very graphic one, was actually published once and unpublished before I got the guts to leave it up there. In fact, Esperanza commented on it in the few minutes it was live the first time, and then her long, thoughtful comment was lost … and boy, was she ticked. 🙂 In general, I try to write what I’m going to publish. But I also want people to see the “real” me. And then again, I also want to write things worth reading.

Funny how loaded one little button can be, isn’t it?

9 Mo { 10.18.11 at 7:12 pm }

I rarely keep a post in the drafts. The only times I have are when a post was particularly angry or ranty. As in – more than usual. Sometimes it’s enough to just get things written up. Most of the time, I’ve got to hit that publish button.

10 Lori Lavender Luz { 10.18.11 at 10:23 pm }

Not so OK with not hitting Publish. To me, that’s wasted effort. I don’t like waste.

For me to feel like the Publish was worth it I need some sort of feedback, either comments or readers. When I get few of either, I feel like I missed the mark.

I suppose at this stage I am fairly externally oriented, although there are a few posts that are therapeutic (such as http://writemindopenheart.com/2008/03/youre-so-vain-you-probably-think-this-post-is-about-you-2.html, which you wisely told me to write up).

11 md { 10.19.11 at 2:56 am }

for me, there are different levels to writing. the most basic level is just to get the words out (i.e. into my journal, the draft folder), that is definitely therapeutic in itself. the next level is to publish the post, to have it out there, for people to see and hopefully comment. the last (and best) level is to get some feedback, some connection..

you know, just yesterday, i quoted your fifth blogoversary post regarding popping your bubble and making connections in a post i wrote. huh!


12 St. Elsewhere { 10.19.11 at 7:41 am }

I am mostly a write and publish kind of blogger. Even if it is a rant, I will write and publish it.

However, I do think twice before publishing if I am writing something too personal, or if I am involving a very intimate issue with someone I know.

There have been rare moments where I have drafted and thought of publishing, but never did. I found that sharing it would not serve me anymore than just writing it down.

13 magpie { 10.19.11 at 10:33 am }

I hit publish because I have to. There are ideas floating around in my head, and once they’re published, they’re exorcised. Sitting around in the drafts folder, they just mock me.

14 loribeth { 10.19.11 at 9:10 pm }

I currently have 8 unpublished posts in my drafts folder. Most of them are memes that I want to get around to doing someday — maybe saving them for a rainy day, lol. I do sometimes take awhile to get a post done to the point that I want to hit publish — but most of them do eventually see the light. : )

15 Bea { 11.07.11 at 8:33 am }

I know I am waaaay late to the party on this one but never too late to comment, right?

I think it depends. Sometimes just writing things down helps finalise the thoughts in your head. But more often you need to have them *assessed* by somebody – maybe someone in particular, an authority whose opinion you trust (whether formally qualified or not), maybe by a range of people to gauge the general consensus (in this case the more the merrier). Usually (with me, anyway) there is enough uncertainty over my conclusions to want them “signed off” by someone or other. Or refuted, whichever is the correct course under the circumstances.


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