Thursday, September 15, 2011

What's okay for us to say, as writers?

This question's for all of us who are trying to make it as writers.  What's okay for us to say on our blogs and Twitters?  I'm not talking about bashing other writers, or publishers, or even the ZOMG-Let's-Not-Go-There-Again book review debacle that washed over blogs & Twitter a while ago.

I've been pretty open about my recent life issues on this blog, though I haven't posted half the posts I've written.  I worry that an agent won't want to sign someone who sounds, well, miserable (For the record, I am still really normal in person. Well, my version of normal. I will never call you up and cry wordlessly into the phone, even if you send me a rejection letter, promise).

We always try to be so happy and upbeat about writing and publishing, even though sometimes the industry drives us nuts, doesn't it? So does that just apply to when we talk about writing and publishing specifically, or should we keep relationship woes, illnesses and general suckage out of our blogs -- even though those are the very things that can inform our writing?

I have no idea. I'd love to hear what you guys think.


Tere Kirkland said...

I don't usually say much about my private life on my blog, just because I'm a private person. But my tweets and emails to friends are where I vent my (many) neuroses. Ask my crit partners, lol. One second I'm all doom and gloom, the next I'm crazy in love with my writing again.

On my blog, I tend to write about my experiences and what I've learned from them, mostly writing related, of course. :P

I like the twist your post took on a subject that, like you said, has been discussed to death. Kudos!

Lynn Colt said...

I will vouch for you that you're not crazy in person!

I think we all try to be upbeat online to come off as professional and cheerful, both qualities that people like to work with. But talking about real-life problems can create opportunities to reach out to others and bond. I think, as with most things in life, it's just about striking a balance :)

Janet Johnson said...

This is a hard one, because we're all guess what others read into what we write. I try to aim for the positive and while sharing bits about my life, nothing too personal.

But I'm no expert. Just muddling my way through like everyone else. :)

Old Kitty said...

Jane Kennedy Sutton - she blogged only on Mondays - very long posts but restricted her posts to all things writerly - eg what was going on in the publishing world, opinions about articles re the publishing industry, some deconstruction on the art of writing etc. Then she announced she was taking a blog break. A month later her husband put up a post on her blog that she passed away from cancer. Now in all that time I read her blog, she never ever ever so much as hinted she was ill. She kept her blog purely professional. I can only imagine what she must have endured in her private life all that time she was blogging. But she never let on. It was such a shock to me. I cried. It was really weird.

The thing is her posts were so well written and very very lively and always provoked debate. I truly looked forward to her Monday posts even if I knew it was going to be a long post!

In retrospect I know that my shock at the news of her death was because she never let on. I never knew. But was it any of my business?! This was probably something so personal to her and her family and friends. I'm guessing she had a very strong network of support from real people ( I hope!) to help her during her illness.So I also thoroughly understand why she never let on with her blog.

It's difficult really. I think blogging is ultimately a social thing. You are "meeting people" even if it's in virtual land.

I really don't know what the correct balance is for professional/private stuff on writerly blogs. Truly.

I hope you find your own writerly blogging equilibrium!! Take care

Anonymous said...

I write memoir. Memoir is intensely personal. So I do write about "personal" things on my blog. For one thing, I love to share pictures of my adorable grandchildren (he he) and do this occasionally. I do think, though, that "personal" blogs shouldn't be whiny, complaining, doom and gloom. Personal "experiences"? Yes. I think this is appropriate. Life experiences. Writing experience. I think together they can be powerful. I love personal experience stories. That's the way I am. But we each have to decide what we want to share with the "public."
Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I do write a lot about my personal life on my blog, but like you, there is a lot that I don't blog about. Even though most of the people in my life don't know about my blog, I think about what they would think if they read it. So I am careful not to reveal anything too personal about other people I know.

Michelle said...

Old Kitty's post about Jane Kennedy Sutton is really interesting. I try not to write too much about my family, but aside from that I try to strike a balance between writing about my professional life as a novelist and my personal life. But the two are so intertwined, it's difficult to keep them apart. Of course, my books have so many little details of my life in them, it's probably pointless for me to try to hide anything this late in the game! Thanks for a thought-provoking question

Jennifer Brown Banks said...

Good topic. I say "moderation in all things."

widdershins said...

Just read your story on Daily Science Fiction. A sweet take on the end of the world! ...

... As public figures - and don't think for a minute that you, and I, and the rest of the blogistas aren't - we strive to engage with our readers, and at the same time not reveal too much of our private world ... the line is a very wide one and different for everyone ... there's only one golden rule I suspect ... don't be boring!