Writing freely, giving hope

I didn’t blog much for a while, but more recently I’ve been back into it. I like the sense of writing to an audience, and now that I’ve shaken off some people that I just wasn’t comfortable sharing with, I feel more relaxed about it again. Still, I admire Diana and Loren who write under their real names. I actually started a work-blog about being a writing teacher under my real name, and wrote about five entries, but found myself drawn to the more personal writing I could do here without feeling exposed.

The worry about being exposed started about a year ago, when a friend told a friend about my blog. Then the second friend told a whole bunch of friends and colleagues of mine, and suddenly everything I wrote was under scrutiny. And then I couldn’t write any more. I just froze every time I sat down at the keyboard. I was afraid I’d misspell something, or use a period wrong, and be judged, or that my more personal entries would become the stuff of local gossip. I knew my hard-core atheist reader would be scoffing at my more mystical entries, that my writing friend would be disgusted that I was wasting my time blogging, that my nosy colleague from work would probably tell my ex-husband, who’s a friend of hers, about the blog. And I just didn’t want any of it. Every time I sat down to write, I heard their voices in my mind criticizing, scoffing, laughing. Even though I knew what they thought really didn’t matter, I just couldn’t write freely.

I spent much time deliberating whether or not I wanted to continue blogging. Many times I was a mere second away from writing my farewell post. In the end, I decided to start over, here on WordPress, although initially my decision to move was driven because Blog-City was being so slow and glitchy. I had opened a Members-Only site on BC which wouldn’t work, thus stymieing my efforts to write without being scrutinized. I also didn’t like all the orange in the administration area. So I tried out WordPress, liked it, and then realized that I might be able to move without my colleagues following me.

For a while, I checked the stats religiously, making sure that my nemesis readers hadn’t made the jump. Then I stopped checking at all, because I wanted to write without worrying about readers. And then more recently I started checking again, just out of interest, and I was surprised to discover a few days ago that a few people from other parts of the world, Australia, England, different parts of the U.S., had been checking back on BC periodically. There they were, a string of people who dropped in over and over again to see if I was posting. I don’t think any of them ever commented while I was writing on BC, but clearly they must have been reading–and still are. So I took a chance. I put a little notice on my BC site telling those persistent visitors that I’m here on WordPress. In three weeks, my BC membership expires (BC charges a fee, unlike WordPress), and before that date comes I will delete the blog altogether.

It’s been interesting, though, looking at stats. Apparently a lot of dogs get Rymadil poisoning. The most-read pages on my WordPress site are those describing Sadie’s illness and recovery. I hope those readers searching for information will realize their beloved pets can survive even huge doses of Rymadil with the right care.

On Blog-City, many readers came to my site by way of searches like “How to kill yourself,” which made me quite uncomfortable! On WordPress, they seek information on Johnny Got his Gun and the Grapes of Wrath, on the Cathedral of the Assumption in Louisville, and on Kuan Yin, on breast cancer and breast pain, on akathisia and tardive dyskinesia and twitches in dogs. I find it fun to see what brings people to the site, and to wonder if they’ll return after their initial encounter.

Whether they do or not, I hope they find what they see to be helpful.

5 responses to “Writing freely, giving hope

  1. I love this post and I for one am glad you are still blogging. I’ve got rid of my own stats – too obsession inducing -but I was so interested to read about yours. Very touching that so many people are searching for help for their pets ….. it all brings home how much the internet has changed our lives and our access to information.

    I’m totally with you on the anonymity question. If I couldn’t be anonymous I almost certaintly wouldn’t be blogging though I too admire enormously those who put their real names on their blogs. Even now I hold back from certain disclosures, but that’s as much about a sense of privacy as a fear of exposure.

  2. Ah, ye olde anonymity dilemma… I had a full blown anxiety attack when I thought some friends had found my pseudonymous blog (I keep a more public one under my own name).

    I now “pretend” to myself that my regular readers don’t include my day-to-day acquaintances. I hope I’m right, but I’m not counting on it.

  3. It’s much easier to write under your own name when you’re no longer a public school teacher and really don’t care too much what people think about you.

    I doubt if I would have dared to do so when I was teaching high school, though. The job is already stressful enough without dealing with outraged parents when they find out you’re not their type of “Christian.”

  4. Funny – I was just thinking about the anonymity issue while doing some dishes today.

    For me, it’s all about the fact that I also run a small business, with a website, and really really don’t want my potential clients to be able to find my blog and read it. What I write there is completely irrelevant to them, and frankly none of their business. I’d be very uncomfortable for them to have that side of me available.

  5. Oh my, it does amaze me how stubborn these issues of anonymity, openness, and expression are for me as well. I’m so very grateful you are working with it and being able and willing to share your words, your thoughts, yourself with us. I love reading your blog.

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