When blogging gets personal.

When blogging gets personal.

Oct
04

14 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Discussion

This post was inspired by Jamie’s story about the collision of her blogging and personal life.

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This site, although comprised of posts about books, memes and other ramblings, is personal. It’s my space that I choose to share. My posts may not be specifically about me, but they are me nonetheless.  I take the time to read and review the books posted on here.  I read and react and post my thoughts to issues happening in the community or publishing world. This post is personal, too.

But, as personal as this all may be, it’s an estranged, or detached, form of personal. Blogger friends, authors and publishers, while easy to talk to, are not necessarily the same as family or friends you see every day (in person).

For me, The Grammarian’s Reviews is a sort of separate personal life. Yes, my family and some of my friends know about it. But they don’t actively read it, search for it, talk to me about it. It’s more of a “Hey, did you post this on your blog?” or “Hey, you can write about this on your blog!” type of relationship. So when people “in real life” ask about my blog, or find out about it, I’m totally unprepared. And, in all honesty, I become defensive and nervous.

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At the beginning of this semester, on the first day of my media writing class, I had to introduce myself to the class and explain why I’m interested in media (and what aspects of it). Naturally, I blurted out that I’m an advocate of blogging because I run my own website.

“Oh, really? What sort?”

Again, naturally, I said, “A book review site.”

“Oh. Well, you can have a plug. What’s it called?”

I blinked. I shrugged. I stuttered. Then, in a much quieter voice, I said, “It’s called The Grammarian’s Reviews.”

I hoped – I prayed – no one would write it down and find it later. As soon as I got back from work, I logged on and checked my site stats. Sure enough, there was a miniature spike in page views. (What looked like a spike was pretty much just paranoia. But still.) I wondered if I’d receive an anonymous comment, if someone would mention it to me before the next class.

They didn’t.

But what if they had? Why was I so afraid? It’s not like I have anything to be ashamed of. I’m proud of my work, and I’m proud of the YA and book blogging community.  But that’s the thing.

In my world, when people initially discover I’m a blogger, they want to know what kind. “A book blogger,” I’ll tell them. That’s inevitably followed by the question “Oh, what kind of books?”

Which is when it all goes to hell.

“Young Adult,” I’ll say.

“Oh,” they’ll reply. “Like younger books?” Or, sometimes, “Like Harry Potter?”

“No. That’s middle grade.”

I already know it’s a waste of breath because they don’t understand and have already lobbed me into a stereotype.

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Jamie’s story made me not only reflect upon this, but also realize that there’s a major difference. Being thrown into the book blogging community, there’s already an established understanding.  We may not blog about the same genres or same books or same issues, but we all have a mutual respect for what each other reads and thinks about those reads.

“In real life,” there’s no established understanding. When someone stumbles across my blog, they don’t already have a respect for the fact that I read or for what I read or for why I blog. It’s like I have to sell myself using my blog, without warning. It puts me on the spot. Every time. I don’t like it, but I’ll never deny being a book blogger and YA book reader.

I just need to work on my confidence when put on the spot.

Do you ever feel embarrassed talking about your blog “in real life”? How can you overcome it?

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14 Responses to “When blogging gets personal.”

  1. Anne says:

    I hate to admit it but I actively try to keep my blogging life and my real life separate. My parents know about it, and some of my coworkers, but that’s it. I think some of that is because I had a falling out with the group of friends I used to discuss books with and blogging was a way for me to build a new group of reader/friends away from that. I don’t like to tell *anybody* just in case it would get back around to those friends and they would feel justified in invading what I’ve created as a personal reading space. It may be an irrational fear, but there you have it – we’re all irrational sometimes.

    I’m just glad that the blogging community *is* so supportive. We all have common goals and we all have an understanding that YOUR blog is YOUR space. We’re very polite about respecting that (at least everyone I’ve met is, I’ve heard stories, but fingers-crossed none of my blogging friends ever have to experience that). Even among other book lovers in real life you run into difficulty because people feel the need to argue with your opinions if they disagree, instead of politely, respectfully just saying so. On the internet and through text we have to be very careful because of the pitfalls of communication without facial expressions and inflection that we’re naturally just nicer about what we’re saying.

    Sorry for the novel! Great post, Alissa, lots to think about!

    • Alissa says:

      That’s so true. Many readers I know often like to rag on my reading choices, or don’t even bother to try and understand why I read what I read. It can be difficult to build that respect between one another, which is why I think I prefer to keep my book talk on here. The respect is (usually) already there.

  2. I love this post, Alissa! Part of the reason why I love book blogging is that I don’t have to feel odd or ashamed of reading and blogging. I think I also show a side of myself in blogging that people in real life may not see or understand. But I’m working on my own confidence when it comes to not letting people IRL affect my pride in my blog. 🙂

    • Alissa says:

      I love getting to show the side of myself that people in real life don’t understand. It’s one of my favorite parts about blogging, especially because, when I first started, I expected I’d have to limit myself and my voice.

  3. Kris says:

    I think it depends on the intention of your blog. My music blog, for example, is a weird hybrid of the cyber world/creative non-fiction/personal reflection/academic analysis that there is no way I can completely separate my personal life from it. There’s a danger to that though, which I’ve certainly faced.

    For me, the nervousness about talking about my blog “in real life” is a matter of separation of worlds. My friends read my blog – no biggie, thanks for the support. Enemies have read my blog – yeah whatever glad you have nothing better to do with your life. But, if I write it on the internet then I expect it to be a internet thing. As soon as someone casually pulls out the old “Oh hey, I read you blog post recently” in real life, that’s when I flush red and start stuttering….or stay quiet because inside I’m like “ohgodohgodohgod.” It’s not really something I can control though. I write about personal things so I have to get over it sometimes.

    My secret is just to plow through it. It’s not something I can control so why worry about it.

    • Alissa says:

      True. You can’t control anyone’s response.

      I’d like to, at some point, be able to control my own responses though. I don’t want to stutter or stay quiet or feel bad about whatever they’ve seen. I want to stand behind my work, which I don’t think I do well enough.

  4. Annette says:

    Sometimes I like the fact that my IRL friends and family don’t really check on my blog. I always think about that when I post and make comments. You know, “Would they think this is stupid?” Probably…. but it’s not for them….

    • Alissa says:

      I do that, too. I always think about whatever the current, topmost post is and how friends stumbling upon it would interpret it. But that’s really what it comes down – they’re own interpretation and judgment.

  5. We Heart YA says:

    Everything in the last section of this post = big fat yes.

    We’re all part of a community, so we understand how things work. But outside those “walls,” anything goes, and some people will get it, but many others won’t.

    Is that scary? Absolutely.

    But one thing that might be helpful to remember, is that everyone’s got those “walls” in their lives. They’re Gleeks, or they’re into fly fishing, or they volunteer at soup kitchens on the weekends, or they gamble, or whatever. There’s any variety of “clubs” and communities that people belong to that their friends & family just won’t understand.

    They key, as you said, is to be okay with it. To have confidence on the spot.

    And to not feel like we have to justify ourselves to anyone else. Explaining is one thing; justifying is different.

    • Alissa says:

      I love that you used fly fishing as an example.

      Also, you’re right. Justifying versus explaining is a good way to look at it. I’ll be keeping that in mind!

  6. […] Alissa (The Grammarian’s Reviews) builds off Jamie’s post from last week and talks about when we admit to people IRL that we are book bloggers. […]

  7. […] (The Grammarian’s Reviews) wrote a post on blogging versus personal life. It got me thinking about my personal reasons for blogging in a way I haven’t […]

  8. I did for a while, but then I read somewhere that if I’m really passionate about my blog, I should be shouting from the rooftops that I blog and what the address is. My situation is probably a little easier since I focus on sci-fi and fantasy, which, while nerdy, is generally accepted by the real life nerdy community. In fact, once I started telling people that I have a book blog, I started feeling like I had more street cred as a sci-fi/fantasy fan :D. Not everyone that I tell finds their way back to the blog, but a couple of my rl friends read it regularly. It’s crazy to look over their shoulder in class and see one of my posts on their screen!

    For YA bloggers, maybe pre-empting the misunderstanding by saying “Young Adult, so books like the Hunger Games and/or Twilight” or something more eloquent than that. Since THG and Twilight are popular, it could help bridge the gap…. I suspect a lot of those people might have actually read and liked one of those series and will then be excited to hear about more books like them.

    • Alissa says:

      That’s a good idea to keep in mind. I’ve never thought of providing examples. Once I get the dreaded WTF look when I mention YA I tend to shut down, so this could maybe help stop that. Thanks!

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