Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Today's PROMPTuesday prompt is:
Tell me a secret. Of course, I’d prefer it be a true secret. And about you. But I know where that can lead, and perhaps you’re not prepared for it. So let me addendum this: If you’d rather, write about someone who has a secret. Maybe a character you’ve concocted. Or someone in your family or a friend has a secret that you tell us all about fiction-style (or not, even better!).
I have a secret - I have two. When I write in my blog, I try not to reveal anything about my job. And at my job, I don't tell people I have a blog, and write about things I'm interested in.
I made this decision when I started my blog because I've read about other bloggers who have run into trouble for writing about their jobs - either revealing inside information, or posting unflattering depictions of their coworkers and bosses.
It makes good sense, and I'm sure anyone can understand why. But why keep the complementary secret?
Is it because I don't want people who know me as someone at the next desk over to know other things about me? To know my interests and my musings? But that's silly - I reveal those things to them every day, over coffee, in passing, as we eat lunch together and chat in the morning.
So why don't I want them to know that I WRITE? What is it about writing that makes us want to hold it close and reveal it only by choice?
I know I would tell them if I wrote a book that got published - hell, I'd bring a case of volumes in and give them away to my co-workers.
I also know that any sense of secrecy I may have about my writing is an illusion - anyone in the world can stumble upon my laundry story, my lingerie post, my embarrassingly messy car and house.
Is there something about knowing you, my readers, are there like the girlfriends I used to pass notes to in class, a secret folded up in a bindle, or faceted like one of those paper fortunetellers - that makes the creative ideas flow more freely? Maybe.
I've noticed a side-benefit to not writing about my work. We've all had jobs where our unhappiness with a boss or co-workers, or just a bureaucratic system becomes something we sneak off and vent about. We take private lunches with friends, and tell them about the latest outrage from the boss. Or we post to online job advice boards, and describe our troubles in hopes of receiving anonymous advice. Or, worst of all, we harangue and beleaguer our spouses and partners at cocktail-time about what happened today, until they roll their eyes with weariness.
But the result of having such opportunities to vent is simply more venting. In the past, when the next inevitable outrage occured, I would catch myself composing my latest advice-post in my mind.
And you know what? That's a waste of good writing time.
Not writing about work means I write about things that give me pleasure, and that gives more meaning and depth to my words.
So - Readers - I entrust you with my two secrets, and beg you to keep them for me, if you please. Let me share with you what I don't share in the place where they pay me to sit at a desk. And while keeping the petty and negative everyday stuff of work from you means you will also miss the moments of true satisfaction and joy that sometimes occur - I hope you'll agree with my reasoning.