A Simple Look at a Not-So-Simple Life

A Matter of Perspective

perspective (Hubris Press Present Tense)

On December 8, 2004, I started a blog. I wrote under a pseudonym, assuming that it would provide me with enough anonymity to give me the courage to write something that someone else might read. And a few people did read. Not many, but a solid circle of new internet friends was formed.

Then I got a little bolder. I told my brother about the blog. Now it’s one thing to write when the people reading your words aren’t people you see and interact with daily. It’s completely different when someone you know well is reading. My brother has been really cool about it. If he thinks I sound like an idiot, he is at least keeping it to himself!

Over time, I’ve inched out a little more and a little more. I will post links to my blog on Twitter sometimes. I created a Facebook group for sharing links to blog posts. I’m not yet comfortable putting the links on Facebook for everyone and his brother  to see, but the group is slowly expanding.

Something happened about six weeks ago that completely blew my mind. My stats blew up one day. I had more views in one afternoon than I’d had in all the previous month (or two) combined. It happened again the next day. It’s happened on a few occasions since. I don’t know where the traffic is coming from or why, but wow!

Combine the occasional jump in stats with the fact that my blog is slowly being discovered by people outside my handpicked “safe” group. A new pastor/colleague/friend in town mentioned my blog to me after our joint Easter Sunrise Service. I didn’t realize she was a RevGalBlogPal until that moment. That’s great! I’m thrilled to have another RGBP so close by. A church member who kept my kids for me last night while I attended my writer’s group mentioned something to me that she only could have known if she had read my blog. That’s cool! It’s impossible to keep life compartmentalized in the world of social media.

I have mixed feelings about becoming more public, though. When you are pretty much anonymous with only a handful of people reading your words – most of whom don’t even life in the same state – then writing feels pretty safe. The internal mean censor will occasionally even go to sleep. But when other family members, community members, and church members begin reading, writing becomes a lot scarier.

You see, this is one place that I want to be me. I don’t want to be Pastor Jan, or Mama Jan, or (fill-in-the-family-relationship) Jan. I want to be myself, even if “myself” might be lazy, or controversial, or un-pastor-like at the moment.

So . . . more people than ever are reading my blog, and that’s GREAT!

So . . . more people than ever are reading my blog, and that’s SCARY!

It’s all a matter of perspective.


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18 thoughts on “A Matter of Perspective

  1. Oh my — yeah, I hear ya. I self-edit a lot… sometimes leaving a post in “private” mode while I try to decide if it is professional suicide. But there’s also the truth “that I yam who I yam” and — as my husband points out — if I interview at a place and they don’t KNOW I’ve got opinions by my resume, they’ll figure it out when we meet. 😉 SO I say – pray – and let the fingers fly.

    • Private mode is a very good thing. It’s like writing those angry letters, sealing them in an envelope, then storing them in a drawer. Much safer than the mailbox!

      The way I see it, God made us as individuals and not as clones. Maybe we shouldn’t be so afraid to be a true individual. Maybe. . .

  2. Thank you Jan. Thoughtful and insightful. Especially as I’ve been wrestling with taking “purple” public as well. Just as you say, there is a comfort in posting as Purple (such as my last post).

    • So you’re thinking about going public? You know, it’s a coin toss! I personally love your blog. Posts (such as your last post) do resonate with me. Of course, those are the ones you may have to stifle if you go public. Can’t wait to see which way you go. Either way, I’m there!

  3. OH WOW! I crossed this hurdle a while ago (going public) and even created another (now dead) private blog so I could have a safe place to express my frustrations and fears. I was outted when I joined the Christian Century blog network, where I could not hide behind a psuedonymn…. Now I just have the one, and self edit often and rarely say too much since way too many people I know read my blog now – parishioners and who knows who else. It was particularly challenging in the search process – I had to go back through the blog and move many posts into draft status. So, yes, very scary. But also, very cool.

    • I, too, did some blog clean-up when I was in the search process. Then I did an even more thorough cleaning the first time I knew it had leaked out in my new community. It’s not that I’m ashamed of anything I’ve written. I just know that if more people are reading, then I need to be more responsible about confidentiality. And I probably need to vent most of my frustrations elsewhere.

  4. You have already seen an increase in traffic because your writing speaks to people and as you share it more I think you will blow the top off of this blog. I will be happy to spread the word when you are ready. My children(adults) read my blog now as well as other family members and that has been the biggest fear of all. I hope you can be “simply jan” even if you have to edit a bit. Thank you for encouraging me and others to keep writing.

  5. J. Godwin on said:

    I agree with Cathy. I love reading your blogs because on some level it speaks to me. I can identfy with so much that you express in your writings. Stay the course…

    • LOL! Janice, I knew you had seen the blog when you said something about how my new writing nook looked! But you of all people know that if I have something to say, I’ll pick that phone right up and dial your number! If there’s ever a safe place in Charleston, I know it’s at the Godwin house.

  6. I have shared your blog with people recently and I’ve really loved to move to “Simply Jan.” This post really resonates with me because I run my blog through my Facebook profile for “everyone and their brother” to see. It scares the daylights out of me. The other day a friend just said, “Write what you want to write and put it out there and don’t worry about it.” Yes, I do consider others’ feelings, but I try to ask myself, was I fair? Did I tell the truth in love? Am I telling MY story? People do seem to respond to openness, and that’s great. But I’m with you, how I feel about it depends on my perspective on any given day.

  7. Thanks for this. Part of why I was directed in RGBP’s direction was a quest to see how to manage a blog as an ordained person. ( I am ordained in July). I have been blogging for a year. I have posted it on Facebook from the start. Very scary when you are living in the community of a theological college! But that was part of the point for me, to live more transparently,as well as filling a desire to write. I started anonymously for fairly innocent reasons, although everyone who read it, at first, knew who I was. Having taken advice from those who have been doing it for a while, I have put a limited bio and my name on it now. There are so many issues, writing as clergy, about what you can and can’t say and who might read it and what might get quoted back to you. And yet, like you, Jan, I feel I need to be me and be authentic to who I am. Tricky tightrope. Good to have others alongside who are wrestling with similar issues.

  8. I’m not a pastor, so I don’t have those concerns. But I never put anything on my blog or FB that I think a future employer would object to (unless my very liberal political leanings would cause objection, and in that case I don’t want to work for them ANYWAY!) But my mom reads my blog. And due to the fact that she is a blue-ribbon worrier, I don’t want to share some of the things in my life. It’s easier all the way around if I don’t go there.

  9. Pingback: Simply Jan – A Writing Year in Review « simplyjan

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