Kill Your Inner Drama Llama
I’ve been blogging for a long time. Not just since She Moved To Texas’ inception in 2010, but with my first domain (now a professional portfolio site) in 2001. This meant I blogged through high school and college and have made plenty of mistakes along the way.
My biggest takeaway from those mistakes is don’t be a drama llama. With blogs I read going private, standing dormant, or even ending up on Chronicle and then going poof – I can’t help but wonder if the drama llama caught up to them. For what it’s worth, here are the rules I remind myself when blogging so I can be as drama free as possible.
Don’t write anything you wouldn’t say to someone’s face.
People love to hide behind the anonymity of the Internet, and I’ve been guilty of this too but it doesn’t matter how hidden you think your blog is – it will be found. Don’t want that boarder to know she annoys you? Don’t want the farrier to find out you didn’t like the last shoeing? Don’t write it. It doesn’t matter if you use a fake name. It doesn’t matter if you don’t list your location or your barn… It will happen.
True story: my old barn owner’s good friend emailed her my blog because he found a post funny. He has no idea I was her client and she didn’t know I even had a blog until she saw the pictures. This was not a problem because I didn’t write anything I wouldn’t have told her!
Proof read your posts.
Not only will you find grammar or spelling errors, but if you’re fired up about something you can simmer down while you decide if you really want to drop the f bomb that many times on this subject.
A blog is not a journal.
Yes, it is your blog and you are entitled to write whatever you want. In that way, it is similar to a journal… But a journal isn’t published on the web for everyone in the world to access. A journal doesn’t invite comments. When you write something, remember that you are opening up your content to validation from others and that validation can come in a positive or negative form.
Predict how others may interpret your writing.
This is something I got myself in trouble with last year when I wrote this post on boarding which was later posted to Chronicle. They ripped me a new one. I still stand behind the themes in that post, but realize I could have written it much better so that it would not have been taken out of context.
What you write is open to scrutiny.
Some people don’t care about the drama llama – they usually post videos of them jumping 3’6″ without a helmet over a fence made of barbed wire. If that’s how you want to roll, so be it. If you don’t want the drama llama or the backlash to come, just think about your content a little bit before you write it. Being unsafe, being overly critical of professionals, being unfair to your horse or writing about cheating at shows in some way shape or form (yes, this happens) are all asking for people to beat down your blog.
I’m sure my run in with Chronicle won’t be the last time the drama llama visits this blog, but I keep these things in mind when I write posts. It’s important to me to both provide good content for all of you readers and have a good relationship with the real equestrian friends and professionals in my life. Have you had a dance with the drama llama that you’ve learned from on your blog?
33 thoughts on “Kill Your Inner Drama Llama”
I love the list. I’ve tried to keep my blog as drama free as possible, of course, me not wearing a helmet and even TRAIL RIDING has gotten me a few mean comments, but I’ve gotten to wear I really don’t mind them. My blog is public, I invited people to make comments, even if it’s about me not wearing a helmet, which is a preference. I’ve never really cared what other people think of me and as long as they see my horse is being well taken care of and loved and aren’t rude about my three “Pony’s” then it’s all good to me. Hahaha!
Oh, I loved your “How to Piss Off Your Boarder” post! It was spot-on on so many points!
I’ve always been taught to “write for your reader”, and before I got my own miniature drama, I thought I was. I feel like maybe, with my profanity and my snark and my “negativity”, I would lessen the likelihood of pissing people off without changing who I am and how I write, if I were to add a disclaimer that half the crap I write is said in jest and I rarely try to actively stomp toes. Or something.
It’s so hard to figure out what people like or don’t like sometimes. When I wrote that post on boarding, I had NO CLUE anyone would ever be offended by it. Also fyi, I love swearing and snarky 🙂
Since my Trainer and all my friends at the barn + family read my blog, I try to keep everything PG and PC. Even the few small rants I do go off on I keep them way more toned down than I would in real life. I also love to swear/curse, but I keep all of that out of my blog. What is put on the internet stays on the internet and if I become famous one day (it could happen!) I don’t want crazy stuff from my past popping up!
Also I openly admit that I am unfamiliar with certain things and that I enjoy criticism/advice from my readers to help me grow as a person and a horsewoman. At the same time, there are still some things I can choose to do that may endanger myself (but never my horse!) that are entirely my choice and I feel others don’t have to like it but should respect my decisions.
That being said, I too loved your “How to Piss Off Your Boarders” post!
Good post. I’m sure I have written some things I shouldn’t have in my blog. But within the last year or two I have really tried to keep it civil as I have gotten more followers including friends who read it. But yeah, those early years, not really censored. Doh.
I always check in with a couple key blog readers to see if something I posted was sacred or profane.
Yesssssss. I try not to say, even in private, anything if I would not be okay with it going public. Which doesn’t mean I am always as nice as I would like to be! Or that I’m not capable of being embarrassed or caught off-guard; I totally am. But people talk. Not even maliciously; it’s just a thing that we do. So I try hard to keep that in mind and to assume that everybody reads my blog, just in case.
I am amazed not only by what some bloggers routinely put on the interwebs but also by how long some of ’em apparently get away with it trouble-free!
I agree. I am not super nice and I am not without blame, but I try to be as innocent on the internet as possible. And yeah, some things I read I’m like ‘wow if so and so read that you’d be displeased’
I think we’ve all been visited by the drama llama at some point in some way or another. Personally, I am not ashamed of my swearing and shortcomings. 🙂
I loooooooooove your blog. Change nothing. Ever!
You’ve made a lot of good points. I have never been a drama queen in my life or on my blog. ( or I don’t think I have). I usually try to find the humor in whatever subject I’m writing about and keep it light. One other thing that I think is important when you’re writing about what’s going on with the horses in your life is not to sound like a know it all or have your blog try to dictate your ideas or ways of training. There are some very popular blogs that spew a lot of nonsense about how they’re training themselves and their horses. I sometimes find it hard to be upbeat because I can see lots of stuff they’re doing wrong. So I will always try and leave a nice comment that’s sort of noncommittal, if I leave a comment at all. Well, that’s it before this turns into a full blown post.
I once received backlash from a local reader about a post, when she basically didn’t agree with my version of events. And once someone took the time to create a blogger account just to leave me a mocking, mean spirited comment about how I didn’t have a prayer of ever learning to ride.
I try to follow all the guidelines you mentioned, especially the take a break and review before hitting send one. Nonetheless, it’s my blog. My little piece of the interwebs. My place to explore, document, confess and share the occasional triumphs in my journey to become a horseman.
If someone doesn’t like it, doesn’t agree, doesn’t understand – they don’t have to read it. Or, they can leave a comment. If it’s not ignorant or hateful I’ll post it. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and 99% of them rock. The others can kiss my — behind.
(have curbed my inner curse-aholic once I saw the kind of traffic it attracted)
I love the how to poss off your boarders post… seriously it’s legit!
Not down with the drama, hope it stays away!!
Excellent post! I try to keep things light and positive, but occasionally the drama llama rears its ugly head when I talk about Parelli. I am such a big believer in it I think a lot of people assume I am one of those “this is the only right way to do things” people. I am definitely not like that at all; I am very open-minded and firmly believe you have to do whatever works for you. But because people do think of me as a “it’s my way or the highway” kind of person, I think they take a lot of what I say the wrong way. So my challenge has been saying how I go about things without implying that’s the only way to do it. I try to keep my opinions to a minimum, but sometimes I think every post I write needs a disclaimer haha.
On a side note, I see nothing wrong with your boarder post. All of that is so true! I can confirm that as a boarder and a barn manager ;).
I imagine it would be hard with a parelli centered blog to avoid the drama. While I’m not a parelli or natural horsemanship enthusiast, I think good horsemanship is good horsemanship and that comes in many forms.
Good advice for blog writers! Friendly discussion is what I love to see… going ballistic is not.
Agree. We don’t all have to agree, but politeness should always be followed.
Great advice, good to be reminded of. I try to have as little drama as possible on my blog, but sometimes it’s hard to remember that my blog is *not* a journal, especially because I don’t know anyone in real life that knows I have a blog. When I first started out having a blog I made a lot of posts that don’t exactly follow your guidelines and while I’ve considered deleting them, at the same time it shows how far I’ve come as a rider/blogger.
Great advice. There are times where I want to just vent about whatever is wrong in my current life but I always try to step back and check to see if I’m going to ruffle a few feathers. There are times I’ve considered doing it anyway. 🙂
Great post. I know when I feel like venting I just wait several days before posting so that I’m not just spewing my emotions out saying the wrong things.
Well of course I had to look up your How to Piss off Boarders post & see what they said at COTH. Holy shit they are an opinionated bunch!
I saw nothing wrong with the post, I really like your style &, unlike a few of the COTH readers, I can actually see that you are writing tongue in cheek a lot of the time, but I guess some people’s Humour Gland is just a bit deficient.
Anyhoo… this is all good advice, but a lot of the time I rip off a blog post as quick as I can and hit the “publish” button before it’s really ready. That’s why my blog has typos. Oops.
I think we all have our moments, but when I started my blog, I was really just looking for a way to track my own journey with my horse – not actually open it up to the public, which is obviously what a blog is. It’s really not in my nature to have something so public out there, but I enjoy the perks like being able to ask for other’s opinions or tips and tricks that they may know from their own experiences. As a general rule, I’m nervous about people finding it (that I know) and reading it so I try not to say bad things. Although I have no doubt that I have slipped up on more than one occasion.
Great advice! I think I’ve been pretty drama free so far but I find myself occasionally having to delete a post and start all over before publishing. I have enough drama in my life as it is without adding to it from my blog!
And to be honest, I wish readers would have a little more grace, as well. There are just so many people who appear to be just waiting for someone to screw up so they can rip them a new one. I mean, come on! It can be so difficult sometimes to judge the tone of someone’s writing. So when in doubt give them the benefit if you can or at least a more constructive criticism as opposed to just trying to tear them down. (That’s my philosophy anyways.)
I agree with readers needing to give people the benefit of the doubt more. It seems like it’s worse on message boards than blogs, but happens on blogs too.
Dang, girl! I feel like every time I read your blog I learn something—even if it’s just some introspective thinking on my part—but this one takes the cake. I try to avoid the drama llama, and have always followed the “If I wouldn’t say this to their face…” rule, too. I was surprised this week to learn that my new trainer has been reading my blog, which is great—however, my ex-trainer’s wife also reads it so I’m being extra careful these days. I didn’t leave the former trainer on a bad note by any means—just financial/proximity reasons—but I’d hate to step on any toes, especially since this horse world is TINY. Thanks for another great post!
The horse world is very, very tiny and the Internet makes it even smaller.
Great post! I keep my blog private and the only person who knows about it personally is my fiance but he doesn’t even read it, LOL. I created my blog to just document my journey with the horses and what I learn. I don’t really have close friends in real life to talk too and so blogging kind of makes up for that and I can look back at past posts to see how far I have come. I’m trying to remain optimistic on my blog (and hopefully post nothing to offend anyone personally) but last year when I was having difficulty with my ex-trainer, that was a hard time for me and is difficult to remain positive. But when I post pictures, I don’t even post that much and I never post any with anyone in them without their permission (except the horses). I haven’t had any drama at all with my blog but now I’m worried!
P.S. The “How to piss off your boarder” post is great, I don’t see how people would be offended by it and everything you listed should be basic common sense in the horse industry.
I wouldn’t worry! Your blog is very polite and honest about things 🙂
I swear the chronicle forums exist solely to make people miserable.
Some days I agree with you!
Like L I have someone proofread if I am concerned but I try to be more careful with my posts
What a great post! I try to mostly follow these rules, though I know that I have definitely been guilty of the “fired up post” in which I rant about some ridiculous thing going on in my horse life… I’ve been pretty good lately, but I definitely need to be careful because you’re so right, the horse world is tiny and anyone, B.O., trainers, fellow boarders, etc. can and have found my blog.
She wears this hand-me-down badge with honor and look where it got her.
Then add more wintery accents, such as crystal snowflake pendants and perhaps even white fur
wraps for the ceremony, tied with lustrous satin ribbons.
The only drawback is that the dresses cannot be altered, so all of the attendants need to be able to fit into standard sizes.