I’ve blogged on and off for over ten years now, since I started my first live journal blog back in 2004. I’ve never developed a huge readership – I like to think because I don’t promote myself, and because I often move around, rather than because my writing is crap! – and I’ve mostly never told people that I know ‘in real life’ about my blog. I was very guarded about who I added on Twitter, as that’s the platform where I tend to promote my blog (I did add a couple of people who I 100% trust, and I know at least one of them still reads my blog. She knows who she is, so ‘hello’, if you’re reading!!).
It’s funny; I worry that people I know will judge me, I guess because they know me in real life, and although I like to hope I’m fairly authentic in the online world, I find it very hard to ‘write how I speak’, as I imagine most people do. I swear a lot less, for a start, and I’m a bit more ‘proper’, so to speak, in my volcabulary. And to be fair, there are people I know in real life, who I’d much rather never, ever read my blog because they’ll most likely take the piss. Yes, I know I shouldn’t have people like that in my life. But this is a small place, and I do.
I also blog about a lot of things I don’t speak about ‘in real life.’ Like Project 333, like my word for the year. There are opinions I don’t voice in real life, and tips or advice that I don’t offer. Not because I don’t want to, but because they just don’t come up in conversation. But I can make the conversation space for them on here, so it looks like I’m banging on about stuff that I don’t bang on about in real life. Which is true.
There’s also that fact that blogging/vlogging is seen as a bit strange, by folk who aren’t part of that community. I’m writing online about my life, and people who I don’t even know, will read about it. And some of it is pretty personal (although I’ve since removed some of the more personal posts, which is quite telling). Indeed, some of it was more personal that I tended to tell people in real life. And I’m not anonymous on here. I don’t shout about who I am, but there’s a photo of my mug on my ‘about me’ page, and I’ve been able to google myself before, and bring up the blog – yes, I’m that sad. I tried it.
Fear of criticism is there too. I know her, why would anyone want to read about her boring life? Why would anyone want to read anything she writes? But that’s pure narcissism on my part; people have other things going on in their life, they aren’t going to concern themselves about whether I’m a bit up my own arse or not. And if they do, that’s their problem, not mine.
Since moving to wordpress.org, I’ve debated whether I should go ‘public’ in real life about my blogging. I’m self-hosted now, therefore this blog is costing me money, so surely I should make the most of it? And I’ve decided that yes, I should. It’s not some sordid secret (if you’re looking for that type of blog, you’re in the wrong place), it’s simply a creative outlet where I showcase my writing skills, and where I write about topics that are close to my heart.
I’ve worried so much about people thinking I’m trying to be someone I’m not, thinking I’m trying to get some sort of internet glory, thinking my writing is crap. But I know none of that is true, so it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. It’s just a hobby, the same as my fiction writing, my crafting. I don’t hide either of them, so why should I hide this?
So the bottom line is this – I’m now going proper public with my blog. People I know in real life are welcome to read and comment (and judge or criticize, if they so want), the same as complete strangers are. When it comes to keeping your blog secret, I guess it all comes down to content. If you’re being yourself and you’re comfortable with what you’re writing, there’s no reason to keep it a secret. In most cases, the whole point of writing something is so that it gets read.
Is your blog a ‘secret’? Would you be comfortable with people you know ‘in real life’ reading your blog?