I've been having an issue for the last couple of years regarding The World of Publishing and How I Want to Present Myself Online.
Starting in 2003, I kept an online journal (not on LJ) that chronicled tidbits from my daily life as well as certain memories from my childhood and beyond. It was a full-on confessional with all sorts of highly personal things out there for the public to read. Updating that journal was a huge part of my life for a long time, and I made some of my closest friends as a direct result of it.
But in 2007, when I was close to finishing Seth's story and preparing for the query process, I started getting concerned. I read industry blogs, of course. Writers, agents, editors, etc. And I kept finding remarks about how if a blog makes a writer look unprofessional, s/he will never succeed in publishing, life or, you know, anything. Ever. (Okay, so maybe I took the comments too far!)
My paranoia hit high levels. It isn't that I thought there was anything wrong or inappropriate in what I'd written online. But I hated the idea that if someone else felt that there was something wrong with it, my future career might suffer. (Also, there had been a few Incidents over the years in my personal life where people whom I didn't necessarily want to read my journal had stumbled upon it. Those were some hard lessons!)
I decided that the time had come to lock all those years' worth of journal entries.
My husband thought it was a bad idea. He said, "Look, someday when you're published, you're going to have fans. And what would be cooler for them than doing a search for an author they like and finding this journal out there that was kept for many years before you even started writing books! Don't worry about what people think and just leave your journal alone."
I didn't listen to him. The stakes seemed too high. So, I spent hours upon hours -- probably three days total -- manually locking over 3,000 entries.
I don't regret doing it. Not really. But what I do regret is that I've never quite found my voice or my place online ever since. I feel like there are fragments of me eveywhere now -- LJ, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter -- but those collected fragments don't make up a whole. There is something missing, and I don't know how I want to resolve it.
The recent Ask a Tenner thread was a lot of fun for me. I loved interacting with the questioners! I was keeping it real and so were they. That experience reminded me that communicating with readers has always been a big part of this writing thing for me. Even when what I was writing was a public journal and I had no thoughts of writing fiction and getting published, it was validating that someone was listening and responding to my words.
I want to be -- and am -- more than my fiction. But everything is tangled together in a way that I don't know how to unravel it. I don't know if I should even try.