Some of us have a “double-inner-life” going on in some way or another no matter what. We observe from the outside and only act after careful observation.
For a while, anonymous blogging matched up well with my imagination and reserved tendencies. When I wrote anonymously in the past, I derived immense satisfaction from the experience.
Quick! We need fake names. Introducing Mr. and Mrs…..Smiley?
Oh, and Mr. and Mrs. Smiley don’t want to post every Tuesday and Sunday.
Semi- Anonymous Blogging:
More recently, however, I am interested in building a blog in a “semi-anonymous” fashion. For example, I don’t plan to talk about Savvy History locally or use our last names at this time, but I also don’t intend to hide my husband’s face or come up with oddly-phrased fake names.
In addition, it would be virtually impossible to share our past music on this site and stay completely anonymous.
The decision to be anonymous or not wasn’t easy though, especially since I intend to talk passionately and unapologetically about personal finance for young creatives. Putting our money story out there is clearly outside the sphere of my comfort zone.
Below is a glimpse into when I journaled about the pros and cons of blogging anonymously in order to arrive at a “semi-anonymous” solution.
Pros to Being Anonymous:
1. You Can Come and Go
For the commitment-phobic writer inside of all of us, anonymous blogging does the trick. I found I could pop in and out of scenes devoted to narrow interests without embarrassing myself too much as a new writer. I could share my story or flesh out an idea with others while being slightly motivated by the notion of an audience (causing me to write more than if I were just journaling). Simultaneously, I was not tied to the idea of having fans or having anyone notice me as an author.
This situation was exactly what I needed when I decided I didn’t want to be a full-time musician anymore. It felt very vulnerable to be reinventing myself and my career - literally reinventing a person who could “come and go.”
2. You Can Brainstorm In Broad Daylight
As with the above idea of being transient, this pro to anonymous blogging works well for people in a shy or vulnerable state. If you’ve been burned after putting your creative ideas out there (you brave soul), why not test new ideas with strangers? They don’t have a long history with you or any expectations one way or the other. In addition, these people have no vested interest in your potential success or lack thereof.
If anything, using this approach will cause you to learn a lot about whatever niche you are in. You will also learn a lot about how to interact with other bloggers, write interesting content, and pilot material with a test sample of people who will be honest and straight with you. It can only result in massive learning, and - being anonymous - you don’t have to leave an unpolished trail of work that could potentially work against your resume.
3. You Can Be Whoever - Whenever
It is exciting to add an additional dimension to your life in the guise of a character. As someone who loved writing my entire life - but left it behind at age 25 with what some may call a writing block (but I would call a writing strike), I experienced a massive release of energy when I adopted a “character” at age 27. My mind exploded with ideas for months and months on end.
I am very interested in studying the psychology behind this explosive period and what may have happened when I wrote through the eyes of a character.
Maybe we suddenly feel OK with feelings we have outlawed? For example, I could be at peace with secrets I had hidden from myself. I could change as a person (even if that meant I had faults and lacked consistency).
I could forgive those faults in others but not in myself, so pretending to be a character helped me take a backdoor to feeling inspired again. Mostly, I realized I was an amplified human when writing through a character - a rotating center for archetypes with a more fearless and playful approach to life.
Cons to Being Anonymous
1. You May Lose Your Voice
There are obviously downsides to being an anonymous set of rotating personas. Even in everyday life, many of us hide from people (including those who are supposedly close to us by the assignment of family or proximity). We do this in order to have an “acceptable” voice....
..and a real voice where? On the internet with strangers? In cryptic songs? In countless journals?
I have personally decided I never want to communicate passive-aggressively through songs or blogs if the content is something I can say to someone directly.
I’ve learned when my real voice doesn’t let anyone know who it is, I'm blasted by opinions from others. Being accommodating can have enormous downsides. In essence, when I don’t speak up in real life (because I save it for my online worlds and/or songs), I risk internalizing others’ voices and losing my own.
2. You May Lose Depth
It's a shock to realize how many people I am related to (and how many people I encounter every day) who know nothing about my deep personal beliefs (and I exist knowing nothing about their true opinions or well-constructed inner lives). Most people are fascinating if I can pseudo-interview them long enough, but day to day life often doesn’t allow for this.
If I think about this situation briefly, I simply realize I don’t like small talk (and it’s impossible to know everyone I encounter). If I think about this situation more deeply, however, I realize a lot of us are missing out by hiding even a little of ourselves because disclosure is a two-way street.
3. You May Lose Respect for Yourself
I have worked on myself far too long and in too many ways to be even slightly ashamed by the thoughts and beliefs I have about what it means to live a meaningful life (and how this relates back to money). To a degree, I feel completely comfortable with people who live differently than me, and I feel completely comfortable in my mission to explore, change, and try out ideas.
For many people, a sense of respecting themselves probably has nothing to do with being anonymous or not. Most of the bloggers I love at this point are anonymous. But for me - now fully emerged from a past of mental health conundrums, low self-esteem, and literally hiding myself - I have a loud voice inside that currently declares, “You aren’t doing anything wrong by being yourself!” I’m not wrong for thinking outside the box. In fact, it has served my life pretty well financially and otherwise.
So What Next?
I have nothing to hide anymore because I know expressing myself helps to attract what I want into my life while simultaneously repelling what I would have had to fake my way through anyway…. And anyone who knows me knows I can’t fake anything for long.
In my semi-anonymous state, I’m more worried about this being a psychology blog disguised as a personal finance blog than I am about friends and community members discovering my story.