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?