When to share yourself, and when to wear a mask

I think you all know that I don’t hide a lot of who I am. I’m pretty upfront about my opinions of politics, religion, science, stamp collectors and whether a story should be plotted. (It should.) I’ve also been open about my struggles with depression and adult ADD, and how it is to be an introvert in a world that rewards extrovert tendencies. I talk a lot, maybe more than I should, about my abusive ex and my horrific mother.

I’m very careful about what I chose to share about my personal life, and what I don’t. Don’t ever think it’s just about me deciding to rant about a certain topic, or being too embarrassed by some dark thing in my past. I don’t do this at random.

How and what you share with people as part of your personal persona as a writer and blogger is exceptionally personal. I can’t tell you what you should share. I can tell you what I chose to share, what I chose to keep to myself, and why.

What I share

I always try to share when I’m struggling with my writing. I do this because I never want to be that person. The one that others think is perfect, and no one could live up to. I don’t think there’s that much of a danger of this, but I don’t want to risk it. This week, for instance, I’ve had trouble finding the time to write, and haven’t gotten more than a few pages done. It’s not a good writing week. But maybe you’re having not a good writing week, too. Let’s try to get better together.

I also love to share my success stories. Look, I’m probably not a better writer than you. I know for a fact that there are people who read this blog who are way better writers than me. I know this because I read their blogs too.

While I get angry about a lot of things, I do my best to share with you all when something has legitimately angered me, not just frustrated me for a day. Even in that category, I try to keep it to things that might impact you, too.

My mental issues are a struggle for me, but it’s not one that I want to hide as though I’m ashamed. If I had a physical illness, I wouldn’t be quiet about it. I know that a lot of people suffer from mental illness, and a lot of times we keep quiet. We shouldn’t. I am not ashamed of who I am, the good and the bad.

I share funny things that my kids and darling husband say and do, because I love them and love to talk about them. My kids are my first love, and I am honored with the responsibility of raising them. I could never have written four books and self published two without the never ending support of my husband.

I am, above all, honest about who I am. I don’t post on social media about coffee to be a stereotype. Coffee preparation is my favorite hobby. I really do love cats, too many actors for me to add here, Youtube, blogs, comic books and everything else I talk about. I want people to read my writing, but I would also like it if people knew who I am. It would help if I was honest about who I am.

What I don’t share

I don’t share personal information about my kids. I’ll mention the names of adult members of my family, with their permission, but not often. I actually wrote a whole post here explaining why I don’t share information about my kids online, so I won’t go on very long here. Suffice to say that I want my children to be their own people, and make their own mark on this world.

I don’t share where my day job is. It’s not because I’m ashamed. I actually love my day job, and am proud to work for the company I do. It’s a good company that treats its customers and employees with respect. But a lot of what I say here in PBW is controversial, and I don’t want anyone to think that I speak for my company. Also, there are a lot of legal repercussions to sharing where you work online, especially when you’re trying to have a professional online persona in a creative field. Better just to avoid it.

I don’t share my anger when something trivial and personal has gotten under my skin. You can point to the time I dedicated an entire post to demeaning Taylor Swift because she is not a feminist as she claims to be, but that’s not personal. I don’t want little girls to look to her as an example. But if I’m fighting with the husband, or some jack ass almost hit me when I was crossing the street, you probably don’t need to know that.

I don’t share anything when I am depressed. Honestly, most of it comes out bitchy and self indulgent. When I’m in one of those moods I resent everyone and everything, and I will say something I don’t mean.

If you are like me, and you’re trying to make a name for yourself as a writer, you could find worse ways to spend a few hours than considering what you do and do not want to share of yourself with people outside of your home. Knowing where your personal line is will hopefully keep you from over sharing, and give you the freedom to share with the world what you really want to.

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