Worlds Colliding

Posted on 17 June 2011

First, thanks to Lyra for keeping things lively over here despite my absence. I love the discussion you guys whipped up in the comments section. Sadly, I’ve been mostly unable to visit and comment on other blogs this week, but I promise to return after next week.

Speaking of next week, I’ve got some great guest blogs lined up: Tricia Springstubb discusses writing for both kids and adults; Terry Carter gives a glimpse into what it’s really like to be in an MFA program; and Averil Dean wonders why some people are turned off by ebooks. So be sure to check those posts out next week.

You can also find a post from me over at Averil’s blog. It’s a repeat from the very beginning of my blogging days (way back in August 2010…in Internet time, that feels like forever) and involves a phenomenon every woman just loves: when someone mistakenly assumes you’re pregnant. You can read about my awkward moments with that here.

In other news, my short story, “To Elizabeth Bishop, with Love” appears in its entirety on Inkwell’s website. I am now discovering what it feels like to simultaneously want to point people in the direction of my work but also hold out my hands and hide it all before they can look.

Finally, during a business meeting this week, I somehow found myself talking about my fiction. I don’t know about you guys, but I usually try to keep my professional life and my writing life separate. (And it surely has nothing to do with this blog and my fondness for writing about cats/alcohol/humiliation.) But ever since I found out Living Arrangements would be published, it’s been a little more difficult to keep the two worlds from colliding.

What about you — do you keep your writing life and your professional life separate? What’s the one piece of writing you most hope your clients/colleagues/boss don’t discover? What worlds are you trying to keep from colliding?

Photo: pyriet


7 responses to Worlds Colliding

  • Margosita says:

    Since, really, neither my writing or “professional” life is going well, they don’t seem to run into each other all that much.

    Though at the moment I’ve been working in an academic office, with students. In talking to one I mentioned that I have an MFA and he’s mentioned it more a couple times since then. I’ve found it surprisingly awkward. (Probably because the writing isn’t going well.)

  • Lyra says:

    I keep them completely and utterly separate.

    There is work me and real-life me, ne’er the twain shall meet. There would be a left brain/right brain implosion and fragments of brain matter would be spattered on the inside of my skull. The only thing visible on the exterior would be a dullness in my eyes and the inability to make eye contact.

  • Teri says:

    You wouldn’t know it from all my blathering about here in the blogosphere, but I’m pretty quiet about my writing life. With the exception of my husband and 2 neighbors (neighbors who see my lights on at 2 and 3 and 4 a.m. and need to know “what’s going on over there?”

    I’ve tried sharing my writing world (by just cracking the door open) a few times and I’m always sorry I did. I’ve noticed that people end up asking me what I’m working on, but are bored by the answers. Or I end up feeling like a science project. Or I get opinions I don’t want. Or they tell me it’s irresponsible to write about my family, my dead mother, my brothers, step-motherhood, my hometown, racism, discrimination in the workplace, sports (because what can a girl really know about sports?), religion (and my lack thereof) …

    Know what I mean?

    Yep. I pretty much just chat with you guys. You are My People.

  • Paul says:

    As with the others, I keep my work life and the rest of my life as separate as I can, and I guard jealously my private life, especially my writing life. (So many lives!) In the past, when I was callow and noted that I wrote, I was beset with people who had stories they thought I should write, or they had sage advice (freshman comp level, of course), or there were certain (commercial) writers they thought I just had to read. And then came the inevitable disappointment and even scorn when I didn’t take their suggestions to heart. So now I zip my lip about my writing life. I suppose the fact of it gets around the office, but everyone seems to respect my dichotomy. In any case, it’s healthier that way. I can’t imagine what would happen to my “creative spark” if I thought my boss or the company needed to have editorial approval or even influence. My current WIP is set in an office (at least partly), but not my office and not even a company like mine, and I’d hate to think I have to pull punches in fear of any reaction from my employer. My mere employer I should emphasize.

    In many ways, my writing endeavors are a reaction to my work life. I think they are a way for me to grab some self esteem, some autonomy, some purpose, and by their nature are “against” my grubbing work life. I may work at some anonymous job 40+ hours a week in order to pay my bills, but the “real” me is hard at work in the world of creation and imagination. Thus my work life has no business interfering with my creative life, and my creative life has more value specifically because it is held apart from my work life.

    That’s not to say that I hide my work under a bushel basket. I blog. I submit. I correspond with other writers. I do what I can to promote my work (though I am generally shy and so uncomfortable with self promotion). Still, I use a pen name to put a little distance between my creative self and the “rude realities” of life.

  • Lisa Golden says:

    There has been creep of the overlapping sort for about four years, but it depends on the person. My friends/colleagues know I write. Some used to read my first blog (now deleted). I still worry though about potential overlap and find myself avoiding the subject.

    At the grocery store this past week, we ran into some friends we don’t see often and the husband mentioned that he reads my blog. I was stunned and didn’t know what to say, but when he told me he liked it and thought I was a very funny writer, I felt a little less weird.

  • amyg says:

    earlier this year when i went freelance, i was in a conference call with a potential client whose very first question to me was, “hey, are you that columnist?” his second was, “are you a republican or a democrat?” fortunately for me, i ended up not having to work with him.

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