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:~: Friday, March 13, 2009 :~:

The Pros and Cons of Ranting

I think blog guilt must be catching up with me. Two posts in two days. Gasp!

So first off, I have to tell you that I debated the pros and cons of this topic for quite a while and finally decided to go with it, even knowing I'm probably going to ruffle a few feathers. But then, you know me. I'm a feather ruffler at heart. ;)

You all know I've been a slacker blogger here as of late. I have never been a ranter (well, not usually), and I've often gone in fits and starts where it comes to blogging anyway. But I think since selling I've been a little more cautious about what I post to the world wide web.

Let's face it. The blogosphere is enormous. You can find blogs on just about anything these days. Pick a topic. There's a blog that covers it. The fun part about having a personal blog as opposed to a group one is that you can get a little more personal. You can talk about your kids' latest temper tantrum, or the mess your dog made in the living room, or how you fell down on the dance floor Saturday night and ended up with bruises you don't remember getting (not that that's EVER happened to me *grin*). Readers like to hear about our personal lives to a point. They like to know what makes us tick, because it often gives them insight into how we create our books and characters.

Several of my writer friends blog in more than one place. Many have personal blogs in addition to contributing to group blogs. Currently I have a personal blog (obviously), I contribute on my RWA chapter blog (for which I am also known as the Evil Blog Overlord, or EBO for short, because I manage the techie aspect of the blog and design), and soon I'll be contributing to a new blog with some of the girls I finaled with in the GH in 2007. Each blog I write for has a different feel, a different goal and shows a part of me you may not see anywhere else. But one thing is consistent on all of them...I try to be careful about what I post everywhere. The Internet is not such a big world after all. And most people these days have their names set to self-Google so they know when you're talking about them. (Case in point, when my son's teacher commented on a post I put up here about an inappropriate comment he made one day during class. I had no idea she even knew I had a blog!)

It often floors me that people don't realize how small the web really is. My philosophy has always been, if you're going to post something - anywhere online - remember once it's out there, it'll be out there forever. Back before I sold, I remember reading an unpublished writer's personal blog where said writer went on a tirade about so-and-so editor who wrote them - what they deemed - a not so nice rejection letter and how awful that person was because of it. I remember reading that post thinking, "Who cares if the editor was in the right or not. You just shot yourself in the foot at that house, whiny writer." Editors, agents, writers, READERS have long memories. And these days all you have to do is Google and you can find the dirt on anyone.

So yeah, I guess you could say I've been thinking about this topic a lot. You'll notice that lately, here, I've been a little more slack in how often I post and what I choose to post about. Most of my recent topics have been less opinion-oriented and more news-oriented. Does that mean I don't have opinions? Shee-yeah, right. *snort* You all know me a lot better than that. It just means I'm more aware of how expressing my personal opinions reflects back not only on me now, but on my career. And let's be honest. I'm this for the long haul, and there's no way I'm going to blow my foot off right out of the starting gate. Now that I have a book out, and my name is more public, I feel a much bigger responsibility to make sure I don't open-mouth, insert-foot as I have been known to do in the past. ;)

Tess Gerritsen blogged about this very topic yesterday and wrote a great piece called "So...What Is the Point of Blogging?" If you haven't read this article yet, you should head over and do so. Lots of good stuff. And I think it's a great reminder that we should all be more observant of what we're saying out in public.

I love a good rant now and then so long as it doesn't name names and it doesn't overtly offend anyone. Gets the blood flowing and can be cathartic for the soul. But before you go on your next blog tirade, you may think about asking yourself, How is this going to reflect back on me tomorrow, next week, next year or five years from now?

So what about you? Do you have a personal blog? Do you participate in more than one blog? If you're published, did your blogging habits/topics change after you sold? What sort of topics do you like to read about on author blogs? And what do you think about blogger rants in general, on any topic?

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Blogger Lea said...

Hi Elisabeth:

Great post. As you know I do have a personal blog, and no I am not a published author.

I don't blog about my personal life much at all; I did a little in the beginning because I was still feeling my way around "blogdome", as it were. I'm a pretty private person and I guess I don't feel it's anyone's business basically. lol

I really try hard to stick to innocuous topics. I do enjoy writing reader reviews with respect to my thoughts about romance novels I love. However, lately I've been even questioning the value of that exercise.

Why? Well, I guess just like anything else you are greeted with the inevitable folks who are very unappreciative and sometimes hurtful with respect to your thoughts even though they are written with the best of intention. As in, "hey I really enjoyed this book and I'd like you to know why"!

I know, I'm being hypersensitive but, I guess the bottom line is, I hear what you are saying, folks should be more careful what they post because they are bound to find out that they have blown half their leg off along with the foot (metaphorically speaking). I read some of the stuff that is posted on readers and occasionally author’s blogs out there and just shake my head.

I may well venture over and have a read of the post you have referred to, maybe it will be cathartic.

Sorry to ramble, and I also apologize if I ventured off topic.

Warm Regards

1:16 PM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

Lea, I think anytime you put your opinion 'out there' you open yourself up for comments and differences of opinions. This is different though if you're posting reviews as to just spouting off about something that bugs you (as seems to be the case with a lot of blogs). In your case, you're specifically reviewing books (and everyone who goes to your blog knows that), so it's expected you'll give your opinion about a book.

I suppose, from a writer's perspective, it just floors me that writers who are actively pursuing publication go off on rants that will come back at bite them later. I often leave wondering, "What were they thinking?!"

6:26 PM  
Blogger Lea said...

Good Morning Elisabeth:

Yes, it would seem that in a business such as your, that is so competitive and many author's have a very tenuous hold on publication contracts that erring on the side of caution would be the best path to follow with respect to blog comments.

However, as with many things in life it is exactly as you indicated they "open mouth and insert foot", before realizing the consequences. They then live to regret it because as you rightly noted it results in loss of readership and possible work.

I guess sometimes it's best to "scream at the walls", rather than putting fingers to keyboard and taking out one’s in a post on a blog, particularly when you are a struggling author.

Always nice to chat.
Looking forward to your next publication.

Warm Regards

7:19 AM  
Blogger Lexi said...

Great post, Elisabeth! It's a fine line on what to blog and not to blog about. I totally agree, though, that we have to be VERY careful. I tend to stay positive and if I want to say something opinionated, I always type up the blog post and leave it for a day. Then I go back and either post it, edit it or delete it. Usually if I do post a rant of some kind, I don't use names and I'm vague enough just to get my point across and to share my experience so someone else can maybe learn from it. Ultimately, you're right. The net is a small world. Plus, those who rant and rave make themselves look stupid! Of course, that's my opinion.

9:53 AM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

I share your opinion, Lexi. ;)

I do the same thing. Many is the time I have written up a blog only to let it sit, then deleted it after a day. Sometimes it's simply cathartic just to purge it from my system. But yeah, I always come back to the, "how is this going to make me look when it's out there" thing.

9:56 AM  

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