Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

There I was, pretending to be Xena....



I always cringe a little when I read all the advice about getting our author names out there for everyone to see. That our blogs need to have our names front and center, that we need to use our full author names, and all that. I cringe because I don't do it. I just can't. Just putting my face out there caused me more anxiety that it should have.Which is why I was Xena for so long. And here I am KarenG, not putting my full name 'out there.' How reclusive am I? Well.....

Here I am, pretending to be a giraffe:




Here I am hiding among my children:



Here I am hiding behind the cover of Farm Girl (my twitter avatar):





Here I am pretending to be a giraffe again:



Here I am hiding behind my children *when we were very young*--


So clearly I am a recluse who struggles with putting myself out there. Without social media, I'd be in trouble, but even then it makes a nice hiding place for the likes of me.



51 comments:

  1. I know that feeling. I suffered major heart palpations when putting my photo and name on my blog. Wishing I could come up with something more clever to call myself. But alas I could not so was forced to use just plain ole AOF! I liked Xenia and the giraffe is adorable. It doesn't seem to have hurt you overly much....look at you with 562 followers and growing. Take a bow!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh Karen - you have so much to offer. I'm glad you're "out here" enough for me to find you. You'll do whatever you feel comfortable with and that will be enough. And I suspect you'll get comfortable with more and more as time goes by. Age has a way of liberating us.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Next, I think you should dress a giraffe up like Xena, and use that as your avatar. Just to mix it up a little. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Whew, I feel lots better. I saw Xenia on your avatar, then Karen G. Didn't add two and two for a bit (okay, I'm a little slow sometimes).

    I think you're doing just great as you are. Your writing speaks beautiful volumnes! All these things we're supposed to do, like we're tubes of toothpaste to be advertised. I think the cautious side of the thin line works best.

    ReplyDelete
  5. i can understand your apprehension. i had a hard time when i started blogging, too. but i think putting ourselves out there is the first step, isn't it? and you've done that! yay you!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I was reluctant to let it all out there...still worry too...but it is the way things are these days. Why is it that we writers who want their words read, also want to hide?

    ReplyDelete
  7. That's the thing with social media (and the internet, in general). It's possible to get yourself out there. But, it's also possible to put out whoever it is that you want everyone to see. This isn't necessarily a bad thing (it's easy to think of those bad applications for this though). Some people want to be out there, but are just uncomfortable with it. Avatars (like Xena or the giraffe) allow these people to get out there and give what they have to offer, but still maintain privacy. I think it's great. And the thing is, whether you're using your full name or not (I'm not using mine either -- I just can't think of a last name), you are out there ... people come to your blog and can find anything you put out.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I can so relate to this post. You notice that my avatar includes my children. My other avatar only has part of my face. That was always the appeal to me of being an author--people didn't have to see me, just my book!

    ReplyDelete
  9. WAIT...G ISN'T YOUR LAST NAME? I feel hurt by this. Okay I'm really not that dense...okay MAYBE I am, but I can totally understand not putting yourself out there. As someone who works in insurance, I understand the liability of it all. My full name was out there before I wanted it to be, so I've kind of gone with it now, but if I Had a choice I would probably keep it out of the limelight for as long as possible.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I think it's fine to have an avatar. Whatever you're comfortable with. I don't have a pic of me on my blog but I do have one associated with the comments I leave on other people's. And my blog pic changes with the seasons or on a whim. As it did yesterday.

    I like your giraffe :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi, Karen! *waves*

    I can hardly place any blame on you for that. We were all raised to protect our privacy and Identification because of theft and credit history and blah blah blah.

    So now you're published and the only way to encourage them sales IS to get out there. Pure exposure of your beautiful selfness.

    Um... Well, I guess writers are brave indeed for all that we endure INCLUDING exposition.

    Great post. I remember fearing the same thing. I'm not published yet, but I'm doing my best in getting myself out there now. The pathway to success.

    I wish you the best!

    ~Elizabeth :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. I LOVE that last picture. It's beautiful. It IS hard putting yourself out there. What if people don't like you, the way you write, what you look like? People are cruel and usually have no problem telling everyone what they think. Especially on the computer where they are safely hidden. There will always be people out there who criticizes but we can't live in fear of them or we'll never live at all. We can't let worry and fear hold us back. We only get to live this life once. Do it big. Show people how beautiful and wonderful you are. Don't read this and think, "but I'm not beautiful or wonderful." That is a lie. You are.

    ReplyDelete
  13. ha! Oh well, each to their own right? There's nothing wrong with hiding. Just makes you compelling ;o)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Since I currently use a poppy avatar and before that had a partial face, I totally relate. I'm kinda shy but love to communicate through blogging, so it works for me.
    One of my fave lines from Buffy came when people became the characters of the costumes they got from a certain Halloween shop. Buffy had dressed as an old-fashioned belle and started swooning and cowering when monsters showed up. No Slayer left in her. So Willow groused, "She couldn't have dressed up as Xena?"

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'm a bit of an introvert so social media is a great way for me to get out there and, well, socialize. ANd giraffe's are my favorite animals. Cool pics.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Awww Xena and the many Giraffes ROCK!! And I love these pics of you with your children!!!! And Farm Girl is brilliant!!
    :-)

    And now look at your wonderful avatar!!!Great to see you!! Take care
    x

    ReplyDelete
  17. i feel exactly the same. why is it easy to put my name out there in cyberland and try to sell my book, but to hard to admit to anyone in real life that i've written a novel?

    ReplyDelete
  18. The good news is, you have great photos to hide behind!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Well this morning I've been busy baking 18 dozen cookies for deliveries today and didn't see all your wonderful comments until just now, and I want to just reach out and give you all hugs. And cookies. You are all worth coming out of hiding for, and I know that many of you feel the same way, since clearly I am not the ONLY reclusive writer out there LOL!

    Plus so many visited my other blog and offered sweet comments on my post yesterday about my baby (yes, my youngest son the Marine) who is in boot camp on his 19th birthday & all I could do for him was send him a letter & card.

    I have been very touched by my blogging friends in the past 24 hours, and it warms my heart. Thank you so much.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Karen, I remember when you were Xena. Friends like that make it possible to crawl out from under my desk once in a while. I'm still not convinced that author's faces have to be seen.

    That final image though. Don't you just want to hug your young self?

    ReplyDelete
  21. I'm the same way but I'm trying to change. I went to get my colors done yesterday at MAC and bought a lot of makeup. I plan to get my photo taken soon so that I have something to put out there for the world to see.

    CD

    ReplyDelete
  22. Karen, I was relieved when your face appeared on your blog as I was always a little scared of Xena! I actually started visiting more often after I saw your picture.

    You have a huge following and deservedly so. Onward, upward and outward!

    ReplyDelete
  23. I can totally relate to your post and I'm not a writer. It's just hard for some of us to put ourselves out there. Just makes people are curious about you. A little mystery is always fun.

    Mason
    Thoughts in Progress

    ReplyDelete
  24. It is scary. My real me is on my website, but a pen and ink version is on my blog. Hmm. Maybe I shouldn't have said that either. Or maybe I'm using someone else's photo. Ha :)

    ReplyDelete
  25. I think it was Zena that attracted me to your blog in the first place! But I do like to see what someone looks like, but it never occurs to me that I would untill they do it, if you know what I mean! And I think its okay to wait to go full frontal till we're ready!
    ps
    I love the photo of you and your children, you're all so beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Karen, all the best writers are reclusive and brilliant.
    I love your pictures, the one with your children is so beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  27. It is hard, but as someone said, your writing is beautiful and for that matter so are you!

    ReplyDelete
  28. I'm a recluse! I did start a blog with my name, but it was forever before a placed a photo on my bio page. (And it's not even there anymore.) I think it's in our nature to hide.

    ReplyDelete
  29. You have beautiful eyes - like Twiggy

    ReplyDelete
  30. I like your pictures, especially the family ones. I don't think there's anything wrong with not revealing your full name. I don't include my name, though I have thought about it. Maybe I will eventually, but I think it's fun to be (mostly) anonymous. I think I feel more comfortable expressing myself that way.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hi Karen .. it's great .. no worries now - the confidence is the thing ... and once you're off and running - keeping in front of a giraffe is quite difficult!! They lope rather fast!

    Fun .. and as Ann said you've got 562 followers .. keep going .. and lots of comments and lots of support - Happy Birthday to the baby boy?! Enjoy the love of family and friends .. Hilary

    ReplyDelete
  32. Haha. Love it KarenG! You know what? Giraffe was one of my nicknames as a kid. We giraffes have long necks and can't help but stick out sometimes. You what else? You have written a book, you're blogging and on twitter - how is that hiding dear lady? ;) Embrace your outed self! x

    ReplyDelete
  33. Karen, you don't have to publish under your real name. I don't. Everyone's different and we all have to find our own level of comfort zone.

    I'd seen the pic of your with your adult children and thought it was beautiful but that one of you with your younger children is just gorgeous. You're lovely!

    Jai

    ReplyDelete
  34. I understand your apprehension to putting yourself out there. It is a scary thing. I've still got a hang up about it myself. I compromised by putting out my full name but only having a self portrait I drew several years ago as my avatar.

    It does nothing to protect my anonymity but it serves as some sort of mental relief knowing that I did hold something back.

    ReplyDelete
  35. I know exactly what you mean, but once I took the leap, it wasn't so bad. BTW I love the picture with you and the kids!!!

    ReplyDelete
  36. For some reason, I really like putting my full name out there. I think it's because the Sarno name dies with me (no boys to carry on the legacy) so I put it out there loud and proud! BTW, I love the cover of the book and I always associate it with you, so that is very cool.

    ReplyDelete
  37. I'm a total wimp! I hide behind my rose & my penname. I think I will continue to do so for the forseeable future. All of stories have romance in them and I don't know exactly how my school board would feel about that! :)

    ReplyDelete
  38. There's definitely nothing wrong with being wary about putting yourself out there, in any context (online included)! Just know that there ARE people out there (like everyone who has commented) that really don't care what you look like at all. We just care about YOU :)

    ReplyDelete
  39. I still haven't put my name or face out there:-( mainly because I live on a very small island and being anonymous at first helped me say things that I might not have if I worried about what people who knew me might think.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Well, when I can't get a picture of me that doesn't make me look OLD, then I think I'll use your giraffe, or my children, or anything to hide behind. But look at you. You promoted Farm Girl with your mother! Now, I'M terrified to get out in front of a group like that, so there you are. And as everyone here as said, they just care about YOU.

    ReplyDelete
  41. How true, a natural inclination to introversion is a terrible thing when it comes to putting yourself out there.
    I can sympathise, I miss so many opportunities because of my natural shyness.

    ReplyDelete
  42. LOL, I love the giraffe pretending! But you are being safe my friend. :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

    ReplyDelete
  43. The authorial coming-out process is indeed a process. When you've spent your whole life trying to hide your writing addiction, the idea of boldly proclaiming yourself an author and then having a blog WITH A PICTURE -- well, you've got to take baby steps so you don't start hyperventilating. It took me about 4-5 months before I was comfortable putting up a pic of myself.

    The funny thing is, your Xena avatar is what made me come to your site out of curiosity. So ironically, you did call attention to yourself.

    Battle on, Karen.

    ReplyDelete
  44. teehee--I think you aren't alone. I am not entirely terrified, but I have playful alternatives as often as not (though I'm a llama, not a giraffe). The NAME though, seems like it might help sell books, yeah?

    ReplyDelete
  45. I hid myself too. It's a little safer that way, at least it feels so. I'm a little nervous about putting myself way out there. A little at a time is good. =)

    ReplyDelete
  46. I hear ya, I think it's a writers' trait, opting for a craft that lets us hide behind a keyboard and make our observations about the human condition with minimal interactions.

    ReplyDelete
  47. That's the great thing about social media! You don't have to comb your hair or wear Jimmy Choos. Instead, you (or in this case, me) can slob about wearing slippes and PJs! Gotta love avatars.

    ReplyDelete
  48. I've noticed this to be very a common trend. In fact it didn't even dawn on me that a lot of people weren't using their real names. I always have, I've never thought about the negatives to posting your picture and name to the world.

    Since I opened the blog and I'm at the top of the google chain, for both blogs, it's an amazing feeling! Most people would flip out the wrong way to know their name can be pulled up that quickly!

    Karen you rock!!! As did that Xena picture, just seeing it brought back memories of the beginning!

    Jen/Jules
    Unedited & Jules and the Stars

    ReplyDelete
  49. I know exactly what you mean! My face is a seashell. My name actually IS Shelley (not Sly, though.) I realized not too long ago that maybe I should have been blogging under my full name, so that if I'm published, you guys will recognize me more easily. I'm just anxious of giving out too much info, though.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Wow I never realized how many are blogging and even writing under pseudonyms!! If I had to do it over again, truthfully I wouldn't use my own name on my books either. I would pick something cooler and more exotic sounding, like Samantha Sandusky. Then I could put that name all over the place, in a big banner across my blog and wouldn't think anything about it.

    ReplyDelete