Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What? Me, blog???

This month's Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog question comes from me:

Outside of your writing friends, do other people (work, family, friends) know you blog? What do they think of it? Have you ever been hit with a "Hey! I read your blog today!" from someone you never thought would read it?

So this question came from this oozy, uncomfortable place in my life I've been navigating since I started writing fiction and poetry.

One the one hand, I'm a doctor. Serious. Careful. Professional. White-coat clad, stethoscope-wielding. It pays the bills. I get to help people, which is beyond amazing. I get to use my scientific mind. Let's metaphorize this and call my day job BREAD.

Then there's the poetry and writing. It's pretty wow. I love having eyes to another entire world, by way of imagination. So let's call this part of my life, the EYES.

Then there is the blogging. Oh, the fun! The journey! Interacting with people across the globe! Being silly, funny, drawing doodles. Discussing querying, and writing, the joys of loving children's literature and the insanity of trying to get published. Oh my! It's like the YELLOW BRICK ROAD.

What happens when you combine them? Well. You get this:


Or this:


Yeah, they don't seem to go together that well.

Most of my blogging life, I kept these compartments separate. Even much of my writing life was separate from my blogging (until my book deal, I never disclosed the plot lines of my books). But lately, they've been bumping together a lot. My patients have remarked on my book deal. A recent student said they'd read my blog, and wasn't I funny! A colleague told me she lurks on my blog but doesn't comment.

At first, all of this made me SO uncomfortable. I thought I was being judged. And who knows? Maybe I am being judged, the details of which I prefer not to know. But I realized I can't keep hiding pieces of myself from the world. It's not about the separation of facets.

It's about me, just being me.

Nowadays, I'm okay with having facets. I'm not embarrassed about it anymore.

How did it happen? 

I never stopped writing, I never stopped practicing medicine, and I never stopped blogging. I knew the collision was going to happen. It was inevitable. My acceptance came from rather passive-aggressive act of letting the collision happen, instead of avoiding it.

And so, here I am. In one peace. Oops, I meant piece. ;)


How about you? Has your blogging life collided with your non-blogging life?
Please take a moment to visit Laura's blog for last week's answer, and stay tuned for Sarah Fine's and Deb Salisbury's answers in the upcoming weeks!

70 comments:

Charity Bradford said...

Yep, originally I started my blog as a journal. It was just for me really and I didn't care about followers or anything. And then something weird happened.

Followers found me. And that was exciting.

Then one day I'm at church and a friend comes up to me and says, "Name (her daughter who wants to be a writer) was reading your blog today and thought..."

And it happened a couple of times. What!? All these teens and tweens from my church who want to be writers were following my blog and I didn't even know it.

Oh, the pressure! I didn't expect to become a role model, but it actually kept me working hard even when I wanted to quit. I tell them all the time not to quit because they can do anything--So I couldn't quit, and it's finally paying off.

Shelly said...

I've tried to keep my blog a big secret. Why, I don't really know, but only two people I know in real life even know I have a blog. I suspect my collision, though, is coming soon.

Loved your sandwich metaphor- too funny!

Nick Wilford said...

Most people I know in real life don't know I have a blog. It hasn't really come up, but I did tell a couple of people at a party and was faintly embarrassed, which I know I shouldn't be. "What do you do?" "I'm a writer." "Do you have any books out?" "No, but, erm, I've got a blog." "Oh."

I just think people outside the blogosphere can't understand how amazing it is. And they expect writers to have success overnight. So it's sort of a secret for now, but I'm glad you're getting comfortable with parts of your life overlapping!

Mark K said...

I find it generally falls into two categories - those you tell, read one post and never look at it ever again. And those who find out in passing and seem surprised and slightly hurt that you didn't tell them about it - but still don't read the bloody thing!

I say that last bit with a smile, believe me. I'm getting to the point of really not caring who reads my blog any more.

Initially I was excited to be meeting folks who have these amazing blogs and are followed by hundreds of people who post comment, after comment. I thought, 'Yes! People will be able to read my writing and tell me what is good, bad or indifferent about it!'

But no - I now know that half the folks following are just transients in the blogoverse, who collect followers like game tokens, and in turn follow blogs to gain more followers. They take and never give.
Then there are those you follow, comment on and read through, but the owner doesn't even acknowledge your presence, either on your comments or on your own blog.

So right about now, I'm at a sort of 'meh' place. I write, but do not consider myself a writer. I blog, but at this stage, I wonder for how much longer? I've enjoyed writing my short stories, but I'm of the opinion that I might as well shut down my blog and just write in private and not concern myself about blogger approval.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I'm like you. I have 3 hats-the attorney job, the writing, and the blogging. My work hasn't really collided with the blogging. Some of my clients know I write but that's about it. And my co-workers and friends and family who know I blog don't really check it out. At least right now. But I'm careful what I write in case an employer or family or friend were to stop by.

Theresa Milstein said...

Glad you found your way! We all need different outlets for different interests. But I don't have anything seemingly different in my life as medicine and writing!

Old Kitty said...

Yay for finding the glue to keep all these bits and pieces together!! That's brilliant!!

I like being Old Kitty so keep lots of things separate from my blog and if people really want to know - they can just look up my stories to find my real name and what I look like! LOL!

take care
x

Gabriella Hewitt said...

I thoroughly enjoyed your blog post and loved the accompanying illustrations. I'm an associate professor at a Japanese university. My colleagues know I have published and that I have a website. I write romantic suspense and paranormal romance. One of my colleagues writes experimental (literary) fiction. I've invited him to take a look when I've had a topic that I think would interest him, but I don't expect people to pay attention. It can be weird when they do or when someone I know online writes to say she's reading my book. But I think you can keep the degrees of separation for only so long. As your name or brand becomes recognizable, the harder it is to maintain that separation.

Thank you for a thought-provoking post.

Louise Bates said...

I don't care so much about people reading my blog now. Back when I was keeping up on a personal blog, it got a little awkward - I'd be having a particularly rough day or week, and then my mother-in-law or someone would say "oh hey, I read your last post," and that was MAJORLY uncomfortable.

But now that I don't really blog much about anything tremendously personal, it doesn't bother me to have people from all parts of my life reading.

Bryan Russell said...

Can I have a yellow-brick sandwich to go? Is there some sort of combo deal with fries and a drink?

Some people know I blog. I don't tell everyone about it, but I don't really hide it, either. It is what it is. Gotta be comfortable in your own skin.

Katy Anders said...

I always write as though I assume my blogs are little messages in bottles, thrown anonymously out to sea...

They're not.

In the old days, i'd never even tell the person I was dating about my blog (different blog, different world). They'd always find out, and then either tell me or not tell me they knew.

Now, i assume everyone knows.

It limits what I say, a little. But it's safer than hearing your blog quoted back to you by someone you never wanted to see it.

storyqueen said...

This is a great question. Sometimes, my life feels a bit like the eyeball, brick road sandwich. The collision of all aspects is indeed, inevitable.

Shelley

Stephen Tremp said...

They collide often. I blog when I shouldn't be. My To Do List is large and I need to step away today and get stuff done. Wait. Just one more blog to visit. Just one more. And that's it. I can quit any time.

Connie Keller said...

Oh, yes, I've had the collision happen too. I've realized that only a very small percentage of my blog followers are actually "followers." Instead, they're just lurkers who never comment. And sometimes I meet them. And it's kind of creepy/weird--the eyeball/yellow-road sandwich. But like you, I've decided not to worry about it--it's who I am.

J. A. Bennett said...

What a great question! I have all my blog post automatically show up on facebook and I get quite a few clicks from friends who don't leave comments. I'm always surprised when one of them says, "I've been reading your blog." But it flatters me as well :)

Bathwater said...

I have found few people close to me that find my blog interesting. I do know of a couple of acquaintances that used to read or still read it regularly and find it very interesting.

Most people close to me would probably just be MORE upset with me.

Slamdunk said...

As anonymous blogger who gives opinions on subject that can be controversial, I try to keep the worlds separate. Some in my family and a few friends know that I blog, but have no interest in reading. Which is ok.

Clarissa Draper said...

I am VERY secretive about my writing/blogging life with those outside my writing/blogging circles. Even in my parents don't know I write. I would feel extremely awkward if people want to talk about my writing with me, especially if I knew them from when I was younger. Totally relate to this post. Thank you.

E. Arroyo said...

I finally came out and proclaimed "I'm a writer" at a recent leadership training. I was very welcomed and folks around me congratulated me. I did follow up with those that asked for my blog and published short story info but silence from them is not all that bad. =)

Julie Dao said...

We're on the same wavelength! I've been thinking about this a lot recently. I have a science writing blog that I put on my resume, so inevitably my colleagues/boss could find my creative writing blog since they're linked. But I realized - there's nothing wrong with that. I'm always professional and not ashamed of anything I write online, so why not let them get another look at me being me!? Great post, food for thought!

Jaye Robin Brown said...

I keep my blogging life separate from my working life. No one has told me they've stumbled upon it yet. But I can imagine it would feel awkward and a little skeevy at first. Mostly because there are aspects of my self that I keep on the down low at work. On my blog, I choose to be open about my home life. At work, not so much.

lbdiamond said...

LOVE this!!!!!

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

I am always startled and uneasy when someone unexpected mentions the he or she has read or reads my blog. I'm not sure why this unnerves me, but it does. So, I try not to think about this while I'm writing posts. : )

Barbara Watson said...

The blog and life juncture is a weird thing. Reasons I blog are to make connections, share what I love, and ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS (to learn!). And it's a bit unnerving when I bump into someone who's read my blog because then I wonder, "I wonder how they took what they read?" It's weird, yes, but I'm okay with it.

mooderino said...

Very interesting. I wonder if anyone I know reads my blog, never really thought about it. Until now. (rushes off to delete foul language and embarrassing stories)

mood

Critique Sisters said...

It certainly has for us sisters. The first time it happens is a bit of a shock but that wears off eventually and it becomes part of who we are.

Carrie Butler said...

Hah! Oh, I love the illustrations--especially the angry sandwich! :)

Not many "outsiders" know about my blog. It's mostly because I hate having the "So, you're a writer..." conversation. It always accompanies the "Why aren't you published?" conversation. Then my eye starts twitching, and the whole thing turns awkward. *Grins*

Kimberlee Turley said...

I have a few close friends who will stop by my blog, but we never talk about the things I write in real life.

To be honest, I get surprised when someone I've only seen briefly in passing at my work calls me by name. It's like-- Wait! How do you know my name when I don't know yours!

Carol Kilgore said...

I collided a while back. It sort of happened when i wasn't paying attention.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Occasionally they collide, but the overlap wasn't as bad as I thought. And outside of my blogger buddies, I think only my wife and one friend read my blog.

Deb Salisbury said...

I love the look on that sandwich's face! LOL!

Krispy said...

It's weird because all my online activity & blogging in the past was all just an extension of my interactions with my Real Life friends. My LJ was mostly a journal, and my friends knew about the writing and fanfictiony things I did. They were basically the ONLY people I interacted with online.

Once I started blogging in this sphere - as a reader and writer, it was so weird to me to connect with so many other people & enter this whole different social circle that was purely in cyberspace. Few of my Real Life friends comment on the blog, but I certainly haven't kept it secret from them. But it always weird me out a bit when they ask about it or comment on something I posted (either online or to me in person). For whatever reason, I always forget it's out there for them to see.

I don't mind, but it is weird. Haha. I do wonder what they think of my "blogging" self/voice, but I like to think I sound mostly the same. :)

Ghenet Myrthil said...

I told my parents and some friends about my blog when I first started, but not anyone at work. But then a couple of people at work found it somehow and told me! At first I was nervous but have since let it go. Like you said, the various parts of my life collide. I'm just glad I've kept my blog pretty professional!

Carol Riggs said...

How fun to read of your conundrum. LOL Yep, now that you're getting more recognized for your writing, your 2 lives have to mesh! :) I love your French bread mountains too!

Phoenix said...

I would say that most highly intelligent people (ahem: looking at you) have different aspects to their personality. One left-brained and organized, but maybe another that loves to get creative and expressive. It's ALL you! You get to express all of your personality traits in various ways! How cool is that?!

And if people judge you for having different sides to you... then they don't understand humanity very well.

Katy said...

Love the French bread mountains. :)

It took me about three years of serious writing and about a year of blogging before I was ready to go "public" with the people in my real life. It's still a weird feeling when the two world collide, but I'm getting used to it. And hey... When the time comes for me to start marketing my future novels, I'll be happy to have so many people rooting for me, hopefully spreading the word. :)

Great post, Lydia!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Lydia, be sure you stop by tomorrow!!

Liza said...

I was tickled to find out a friend of my sister's in Australia reads my blog. I think I have a fair few quiet readers...sometimes I wish they'd up and comment, but once in a while they give me an in person comment, so I know they are there. I do always keep in mind that quiet audience when I write...to make sure I don't include anything I don't want EVERYONE to know.

DL Hammons said...

This month...during A to Z...my blogging life is colliding with EVERYTHING!!! :)

Christie Wright Wild said...

Lots of great discussion going on here. My blogging and writing life definitely go hand in hand.

As far as the BREAD goes though? Family, friends, and coworkers DO know that I blog, but none have ever stopped by. They aren't interested in writing, so they don't feel the need to visit my blog, since it's mostly about writing.

I have recently been wondering if I should include more about my personal and/or spiritual life in my posts. Maybe then my family and friends might show more of an interest. But if I'm not writing for me, then it's almost kind of pointless. I mean you have to write for some kind of audience, sure. But first and foremost, you have to write for yourself.

Stephanie Thornton said...

First of all, I love your drawings. They make me happy.

And second, I do have friends and a family member who read my blog. It made me feel a little weird at first, but I got over it. It will be even more weird if my books get published--there are some scenes I don't know if I want my dad and grandma reading!

Cynthia said...

Hi Lydia, I found your blog because Alex C. recommended it today. I think it's great that you are excelling in both your careers. While I can see why you want to keep your blog separate from your day job, I think those who know about what you do on the side will probably think that's so cool.

Shelley Munro said...

I starting blogging after I sold my first book, so it was more with promo in mind. My family and friends aren't really blog readers.

Laura Pauling said...

After two years of blogging, they are starting to collide. Not a lot but enough. It was weird at first but I'm getting used to it.

kmckendry said...

Great post!!! Most of my colleagues still don't know that I'm a writer and only a few of my close friends know. It's a little scary but I'm prepared for my worlds to collide eventually.

Congrats on your book!

Gloria Richard said...

I've had acquaintances tell me they read my blog and reference one they enjoyed.

SO blessed no one has (yet) chimed in with "that last one sucked."

Blogging is good from an network and voice standpoint. My challenge is time. When revisions to my blog are finished, my tagline will be: Being myself; everyone else is taken.

I saw it on Natalie Hartford's site and she graciously agreed to let me steal it.

Matthew MacNish said...

I haven't been here in ages. I blame A to Z.

Anyway, my family knows I blog, but they don't read it (except when I force my kids to get involved, like reviewing books), and we don't talk about it much. I'm sure they think I'm a dork.

icedgurl said...

trekking your blog!!! found your blog from alex.

cheers!
..TREK..

A Lady's Life said...

I find it useful to blog You get to say things, express views on what happens in the news and in your life.
It is sorta like a diary of your daily life, what you thought about and if people come to you its wonderful cause they also have something to say worth reading and sharing.:) If you need a break that is possible as well.

catherinemjohnson.wordpress.com said...

That's fabulous! I was surprised recently by a friend I hardly ever see saying she reads my blog, so fun!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Great post! And yes, I've had that collision experience when an acquaintance mentions reading my blog, or asks me about my writing, or even compliments me on a poem I've written. Once, at a church leadership meeting I was asked by a friend to recite a poem I had published . . .no way. I don't recite my own poetry-that's just too weird and pompous.

Angela Ackerman said...

I started out keeping the blog a secret from my 'real life'. I mean, I thought, Who's going to want to read about writing stuff, anyway?

The funny thing is, a lot of people have found me anyway. Some, because my husband is proud of what I've grown the blog into, so he tells people about it. Mostly though, it's because at the heart of a lot of people, there's a writer. Who knew so many people I interact with have writerly dreams? I guess it's been too long since I came out as a writer for me to remember how it was in those silent days when I didn't dare tell people what my dream was.

Now it adds another layer of closeness that we share this interest!

Angela

Mark Noce said...

I try to share my blog with everyone, but I know what you mean about trying to keep personal and professional separated. However, I've found that even in my professional life my co-workers usually like my blog:)

Coleen Patrick said...

I blog under my maiden name--both my first and last names are now different. So at first I was happily incognito. Then a friend from middle school found me, then a friend of my mom's and so on. I also don't like that judge-y feeling, but I realized blogging feels almost normal for me now. I never realized how much I "talked" in my head--now that talking gets turned into blog posts. :)

Ann Best said...

Before and then after my memoir was published, blogging CONSUMED my life. But I have a life outside of blogging, as you also do (very impressive too that you're a doctor), and I recently had to slow down on the blogging because family is priority. But as you will learn when your YA novel is published, if you want to sell it you've got to spend time promoting. Word of mouth is great, which you most likely will optimize as people have already, as you say, found your blog. You're found out, woman!
Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror & Other Memoirs

Jay Noel said...

I've used an alias for years. And for five years, I never showed a real pic of me. But I figured, what the heck...just let it all out!

Patricia Stoltey said...

My worlds are more connected, I guess, so I haven't had too many surprises. Even so, I'm sometimes uncomfortable because I have non-writing life friends reading my blog but never leaving comments. I just don't know what they're thinking.

Patricia Stoltey

Gail said...

Alex sent me...you'll never get rid of me now.

Kristy Shen said...

Yay for doodles! What drawing program do you use? I use Sketchbook Pro but I'm wondering if there are other better drawing apps out there.

I love the bread, eyes and yellow brick road analogy. No wonder you snagged an agent, you brilliant woman you!

Spacerguy said...

Spacerguy reporting in for duty.

I'm a doctor not a moon shuttle conductor!

Sandra Tyler said...

found you via the challenge as you are the subject of another K! nice to meet you are clearly an interesting mix!

Ella said...

Nice to meet you!~ Yes, it happens. I noticed my SIL made a remark. She didn't like something I posted. My Mom thinks I should post more about my brother, huh?! He can have his own blog ;D There is a weird factor, but being authentic is the best way to be~
I love the yellow brick road analogy, too

Congrats on your book!

Rachna Chhabria said...

My family, close friends and students know that I blog. They all say they love it.

I love everything about your blog, the topics, medical mondays and the amazing illustrations.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

My blog is the best kept secret in the blogverse! There are cobwebs in all the corners! As for my co-workers, they see me as Jimmy Stewart in that ancient comedy HARVEY ... except I have the ghost cat, Gypsy.

Your posts always make me feel better for having visited. Stay at peace with your dreams, Roland

Catherine Stine said...

You know what? Kudos to letting it all go. I've been in that place where I'm carefully catalogued, and it's uncomfortable and neurotic. It's not as if you're selling opium on the black market, you know? You're publishing and blogging and it's all glorious.

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Casey L. Clark said...

thank you for writing this... I know what you mean. I have also felt uneasy when people from my "real" life crossed over into my "writing"or "online" life... i cannot say exactly why. I like that "me being me" outlook! :)

Great post!

Casey L. Clark said...

lol! blogger posted my comment so many times! sorry...technical difficulties! ;P

 
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