Last week, I launched a fiction writing blog. It’s off to a slow start, but I’m looking forward to working out the kinks and having it come together. For a long time, I considered having a professional blog under my full name, since at some point, I hope to be published with my offline work. I was concerned, though. Writing is challenging enough for an amateur without worrying if I’m revealing information about the people in my life that they would not want publicized or if I’m opening myself or my family up to any security issues.
When thinking it through, I read a lot of articles that all pretty much said the same thing about social media. There was the don’t do it crowd (weirdly enough, mostly family issue organizations) and the delusional if I don’t use my name but give every other detail about my life, I’ll be safe crowd. There were very few moderate approaches about safety and blogging which is frustrating for someone who seeks moderation.
Much like the trolls I’ve referenced in prior posts, who have the freedom to write whatever awful things pop into their heads, there is an aspect to anonymous blogging that is freeing. I have written about personal and family issues to some extent, trying to be discrete with details. I’m no fool. If somebody wants to find you or figure out who you are, it’s not that difficult. I take comfort in the fact that there are so many of us and I am, for the most part, an average person in a sea of averages.
“All human beings have three lives: public, private, and secret.”
― Gabriel García Márquez, Gabriel García Márquez: a Life
My family of origin is not particularly interested in my writing, except to express concern that I might be writing about them. My mother is deeply concerned about this aspect, fearing that I’m headed towards Mommie Dearest territory. I comfort her by saying “well, at least you never hit me with a hanger.” I can be pretty mean when disappointed. I have chosen not to talk about a few of my strained familial relationships, because it’s painful and they’re still in play. And someday, one of them might actually get a computer and learn how to look at a website. Statistically speaking, it’s more likely I’ll catch a stalker hiding outside in our juniper bushes.
I did an interview with another writer (coming soon) where I was asked about why I’ve chosen not to have a narrow focus for this blog. I don’t have an axe to grind. I’m not an expert at anything. I’m not a good photographer or poet or housewife with great domestic tips. I’m a mother, but I was a lot of other things before that happened. I have an interest and curiosity about almost everything except fashion and celebrities (I’m beginning to like that I can’t recognize most of them anymore). To write about one subject does not suit my restless mind. So I’m trying to gain interest from readers through my specific voice. A voice I would not have found in my writing unless I, you guessed it, actually wrote.
This blog is more of a personal essay blog. I have written about a lot of my life, just not all aspects of it. I don’t think anyone who knows me and reads this blog is particularly surprised by anything I’ve written. I try to remain as authentic and real and honest as I possibly can, without invading the privacy of the people in my lives. If I reference my husband or daughter in a post, I talk it over with them before publishing it. I discuss safety issues with my husband, who is a techie and who is much more circumspect about online information.
My point is that the choice to be discreet, to not out the difficult relationships in my life, to think about topics from all angles, to not shoot off angry missives, is a very deliberate choice suited to my needs, my point in life and where I am at in terms of developing a writing career (getting the writing bit down). I continue to read a wide range of blogs that fall many places along that spectrum, some of them very brave or foolish, depending on your perspective. I continue to review this issue prior to each post and am interested in what other bloggers have experienced.
What is your approach to safety and blogging?
Have you had on or offline issues related to what you have revealed in your blog?