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Writing from Unreality House, a hyperfiction project created and edited by Jay Gabler.

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Pros and Cons of Being “Vulnerable” in Your Writing

PROS

You head off criticism. Like when Marie Calloway wrote about searching for her own name on “Jeremy Lin’s” MacBook—if anyone’s going to be like, OMG what a stalker, she can say, “Hey, I’m owning this shit. And here you are still reading my posts, so what’s up, motherfucker?”

You reduce the risk that someone’s going to expose something about you that you haven’t already exposed yourself. Up to and including the shape of your areolas, size of your dick, etc.

You win empathy points from people who think, “Wow, she actually wrote what I’m just thinking! I love her so much!” And sometimes they tell you so, which is cool.

Makes it easier to come up with something to write: you can just say what it is you’re thinking, without agonizing over filtering/what will they think/is this TMI/am I making myself too vulns/etc.

CONS

Makes for awkward moments when someone you hardly know is like, “So wow, that was really a compelling piece you wrote about being self-conscious via your nonexistent areolas.”

Risk of seeming whiny/self-indulgent.

“Vulnerable/honest” is already taken by 5,000,000 other writers as a personal brand.

Sometimes you go back and read things you wrote and it makes you want to stab yourself in the shoulder with a dull #2 pencil.

- Lucy Coleman

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