Thursday, October 7, 2010

That's Not My Name

When I first started my blog, I debated using my real name. Why wouldn't I want people to know that I was the one writing this blog? Why wouldn't I want to receive credit if I wrote something good?

On the other hand, I kept thinking about what would happen if I wrote something that someone didn't like, especially if that someone was someone I knew. I also thought that there was always the possibility that I might get some obsessed fan, and that that person might track me down and profess his or her psychotic devotion by leaving stuffed animals that were blindfolded at my front door or write the words "I know what you wrote last summer" on my windows.

I ultimately decided that it would be better to stay anonymous. One reason I don't have a MySpace or Facebook page is because I've heard of teachers who lost their jobs because of what they posted on those social networking sites. But then again, I doubt that there'd be anything incriminating on my page if I had one. It's not like I have any provocative pictures of myself where I'm under the influence or anything. I don't drink alcohol or do drugs, and I always keep myself covered up, thank you. I do have pictures of myself from college where I was doing readings from the Bible at Mass. I was very wild back then.

I also decided not to tell most of the people in my life about my blog. I thought that if people I knew were reading it, I might be pressured to write what they wanted to hear, not what I was actually feeling. By staying (mostly) anonymous, I can write what I want and not worry what anyone else will say. On the other hand, I've included several details about my life on this blog, so it wouldn't necessarily be too hard for anyone to figure out it was me.

College students are very Internet-savvy, and one fear I have is that my students might read this blog. I don't discuss my personal life with them, because I want them to see me as just their teacher and not someone who will throw fruit at any customer who cuts in front of her in line at the grocery store.

I think it'd be cool to have a video blog, or vlog, but then people would know who I am. I could  wear a mask, but then people might think I'm an alien or a criminal. And I think I'd feel too self-conscious about how I look. But I guess I shouldn't feel too self-conscious. After all, I look a lot like this woman:

Just kidding. That's Kate Hudson. No, really, I look like this woman:

Tee hee. No, I don't look anything like her either. That's Natalie Portman. But people do often mistake me for a supermodel. Then again, these are the same people who also believe that vampires walk among us and will one day rule the world. (What? According to a lot of people, it's already happened.)

And I'm not really single, either. No, this is what my husband looks like:

Yeah, he wears a suit all the time, because he works for the FBI and specializes in cases where people are found guilty of watching The Real Housewives or talking on their cell phones in movie theaters. He says stuff like, "Freeze! Now put down the cell phone and back away from it slowly."

Psych! That's the British actor JJ Feild. And I'm not really married to him. Not yet, anyway. Tee hee.

What I can say is that what I write about my life in this blog is true. I didn't start out with any particular theme or message in mind. I just wanted to write about what I was feeling and thinking, and I wanted to describe everything that I thought was interesting (or annoying or weird).

If and when I do publish a book, I'll use my real name. Maybe eventually I'll put my real name on this blog. But for now, it's just going to be "Neurotic Workaholic". And as anyone who's read this blog can tell, I definitely am a neurotic workaholic anyway. But if someone were to spill the beans on who I am, let me just say that I have stuffed animals of my own and I'm not afraid to use them.

What about you? What are your thoughts on writing anonymously?


  1. I have a friend who got in really big trouble at her high school teaching job because of her anonymous blog. And so I feel like my anonymous, don't give out any details blog protects me. That said, I do post pictures of myself on the site, so if my boss did stumble upon it, I guess he or she would know it was me! I'm just not consistent.

  2. I want to be a published writer and I use my blog in part to find other writers, so my name is plastered everywhere. I've even posted my picture so I can't pretend to look like Shalom Harlow. Though if I could change about ten things about my appearance, I think I could come close.

    But I do have lines. I'm careful what I reveal about my mother. I won't use the names of people close to me nor will I show their faces in pictures. And I've been writing less about sub jobs less because I really want to get a job!

  3. I write anon; I work in the media and don't want my name linked to my personal blog (not to mention I write a lot about personal finance)

    I'm happy to post the occasional pic of myself, but basically I don't want the blog to be searchable when people google me IRL.

  4. I've been blogging anonymously since April and it can be tricky. Sometimes I want to tell all my friends about the blog, especially when I feel I've written a really good post. But then there are the risks you described (though I don't have any students). Keeping it anon. is probably the best idea for both of us. I don't know what I'd do if any of the guys I've dated found my blog.


  5. I like the look of your husband! :)

    I use a pen name and at first I thought it was kinda strange, but now that I know how many of my fellow writers do it, I kind of feel like it's no biggie. If you have a valid reason - like losing a job, for example - I say go for it!

  6. Hi NGS,
    I think that there are several advantages to having an anonymous blog. I thought about including pictures of myself too, but for some reason every camera always explodes whenever someone tries to take a picture of me.

    Hi Theresa,
    I hope you find a great teaching job too! You've definitely earned it. You're right about how it's important to have lines. There are a few things that I never blog about.

    Hi eemusings,
    I think that my blog is searchable, but so far no one I know has found it, at least no one that didn't already know about my blog. I can understand wanting to stay anonymous, though.

    Hi Delilah,
    Oh, I know! I never tell the guys I've dated about my blog either. They'd probably try to get me to change things I wrote about them so that they'd look good.

    Hi Talli,
    I like the look of him too. :) He was great in Northanger Abbey.
    I like your pen name. It is interesting how many writers use pen names. I don't know if my blog name "Neurotic Workaholic" would look good on a book, though.

  7. You are adorable. I adore your writing style.

    Now that I've gushed enough, I am anonymous because I post a lot of personal info (financially speaking). I try not to be too specific (except on my numbers) but I don't want a client coming up to me and asking me about a post I just wrote, or asking me to confirm what I am making (they don't know what I make personally, because I go through an agency).

  8. I'm 95% anonymous. None of my friends know about my blog, but I've met some other bloggers IRL. I like being able to be honest about my finances and life without being worried about being judged. Money is SUCH a taboo topic!

  9. Hi FB,
    Thanks! I can understand your reasons for being anonymous; for me it can be tough sometimes to figure out what to write about and what not to write about.

    Hi me in millions,
    It is cool being able to meet other bloggers. I had no idea there were all these people putting their writing out there. I like being able to be honest without being judged too. I feel freer to write what I want to write.

  10. LOL! Fun post. I'm like Theresa (which is where I hopped over here from). I'm hoping to be published at some point and want my name out there. :-)

  11. Hi Shannon,
    I'd like my name out there too, which is why I might include my real name if and when I publish a story. But sometimes I blog about embarrassing stuff so I've been staying anonymous for now.

  12. I also want to get published and what I write mostly are Christian and children's stories, ( one is in the hands of a publisher as we speak) so the other things I write I write under a pen name. I don't think I have pictures of myself out there except maybe for a weight loss site but even there I might have taken them off, and have deleted and deactivated my facebook page mostly because now that I'm in school there's no time. I may sign my first name but never my last unless its to a publisher or from an email that has my name on it.