Balancing a Dual Personality

Posted: August 3, 2012 in General
Tags: , , , ,

I read a great post the other day, from one of my all-time favorite bloggers: Belle DiMonté. It was titled “On Maintaining a Fantasy Writer’s Image,” and in it Belle discussed her role as a fantasy writer – and whether she lived up to the picture most of us unconsciously project when we hear that someone writes in this genre. Velvet dresses, candles, and braids. That sort of thing.

It came at a perfect time for me because I’ve been seriously struggling with my own image and the reputation that I have on the internet. Except I have a different problem, and sometimes I feel like I have dissociative identity disorder.

On the one hand, I’m (mainly) a fantasy author. Although I don’t wear velvet dresses, only light candles when the power goes out, and rarely put my hair in braids, there is a certain way that “we” act. A certain way we speak (or type/write, in this case). A certain way we behave. I’ve been told, much like Belle, that I have a way of writing and speaking that isn’t exactly modern, but lends itself fabulously to my career choice. I think this applies to all genres of writing, not just fantasy. Most writers live in other worlds half our lives, so we tend to bring those same tendencies back across the void and into reality. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Then, on the other hand, I have Hypable. I love this site to death. I donate hours at a time each night to doing various things for it. I will forever champion it as one of the best websites on the Internet to get all your fandom news and interesting articles about things that you love. And along with that comes a different way of speaking, a different way of acting. You have the various memes that go around the internet. Shorthand, like saying “obvs” for “obviously” or “ofc” for “of course.” It certainly doesn’t lend itself to a fiction writer’s mind, but at the same time this is the slang that is used all across the internet. If you know what it means, then you’re in, you’re cool.

So, what happens when these two sides decide to butt heads? Well, I’m still trying to figure that out. I feel most self-conscious about it on Twitter. Most of my followers are writers, though I interact with only a handful of them. I have a good selection of Hypable followers as well, who are much more active and attentive to my tweets. Because of this, I sometimes struggle with what I should say and how I say it. I have a perfect pair of tweets (from a long time ago, when it actually wasn’t as much of an issue) that displays this war that’s raging inside of me. The first is Hypable-acceptable, while the other is my writer personality rearing its head.

(And just some warning, this was after watching Rumble in the Bronx, which is a terrible movie, but is still a Jackie Chan classic.)

Part of me is unapologetic for the first tweet, and any similar tweets to it. Pop culture is something that I’m practically bathing in now. With Hypable, I’m forced to read about all the current news. I know about projects, like movies and TV shows, ahead of most other people. I get to read reviews for advanced screenings. I’ve memorized the names of actors I didn’t even know existed six months ago.

Yet, the other half cringes. Did I really just say that? I couldn’t have taken the time to write out the word “obviously”? I already think the English language is dying – why am I adding to it by continuing this trend?

But, in the end, this is me. I’m a complex and often contradictory person. Yes, I like people who use proper grammar, but at the same time, lolcats makes me laugh like you wouldn’t believe. No, I can’t stand certain memes or catchphrases (ie. YOLO), no matter how popular they are. Sometimes I prioritize watching Supernatural over writing.

So, perhaps that’s a little explanation for my Twitter behavior. I often think to myself, “some people will think this is funny or will care, but others won’t.” I might even risk losing followers if I tweet too much about Doctor Who or if I retweet too many links to other blogs. But is that really an issue? Is that really why we tweet or write blog posts? Just like I know not all of you enjoy my Wednesday posts about art, I know that not all of you will enjoy every tweet. But, hey, that’s okay. We’re all different. In the end, I’ll write/tweet/blog what I want, because I think it is funny or because I care about it. I encourage everyone to do the same.

What about you? Do you have warring personalities? Do you ever think twice about what you tweet or blog, afraid that someone might not be on the same page as you?

  1. Stacy Green says:

    I think we all have warring personalities – to an extent – and I think it’s great you’re embracing yours. If you can’t be yourself, then what’s the point?

  2. Lovely post as always, Karen! You sum up the struggles of a modern-day writer quite well…it’s always a push-and-pull somewhere. I would only say that you must remember to be yourself…as corny as it sounds! If your identity as writer is by nature a combination of arcane sorceress and Supernatural-loving copyeditor (what’s not to love about Jensen Ackles!? Eeep. Fangirl moment there. Ignore that.) then that’s what you are…and as you said, some will like it, some will not…but I think many will respect your integrity to yourself if you live fully unto both worlds and personalities. 🙂

    • Karen Rought says:

      I agree, and thanks for the support! I think it’s really obvious on Twitter (and probably across other platforms) to truly know what a person is like because you can see that history, that backlog of information. If someone has 17 tweets about their new book in a row, compared to 17 tweets about various things that are on their mind, well…I know which one I would prefer! Thanks for indirectly pushing me to write this post. I feel better after having it published!

  3. Julie Glover says:

    My kids use the words “beast” all the time. They would just say that you’re awesome. 🙂 I tend to agree.

  4. I have a difficult time with this too. I feel like I have a lot of different sides to me, and I want to be authentic to that, but I also don’t know if I necessarily need to share every side of me with the whole world. Perhaps it’s alright if I save some sides just for the people who know me in real life. Does that make sense?

    • Karen Rought says:

      Absolutely! In my case, the people who really get me and relate to me are the ones that are online. But if that’s not true for you, I absolutely believe that you should do whatever makes you comfortable. I think as long as you’re blogs/tweets/whatever have a purpose for a specific audience and are true to your nature, then there’s no point in forcing yourself to come off a certain way.

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