I feel as if it should be unnecessary to say, but writers are people, too! Many people seem to feel writers lead double lives. One life is “real” and the other is some surreal alternate existence in which we can make ourselves seem infinitely more interesting. Sure, some writers use pen names and sometimes create alter-egos they use to build their personal brands. Artists have been doing this for centuries, and writing is most certainly an art.
Whether writers use their real names or personas, or not, behind the scenes, writers are real people. It’s easy sometimes to forget many writers are just looking for new ways to connect with people through the things they love. While a writer may have a pen name or even an alter ego, a writer’s artistic life and real life are unavoidably and inextricably linked.
Oftentimes, especially in the ever-expanding world of blogging, writing content online is often seen as something with “get rich quick” appeal. But, for most of us dedicated to the writing craft, that’s not the case. For most writers, blogging is a creative outlet and often a necessary stress reliever. It’s also a way to say things we may not find ourselves able to say in everyday conversation, but don’t want to necessarily try to get published in a feature article or in a book.
For those of us who aren’t social in so-called “real life,” some of us truly need blogging as our primary way to network with others. But, networking in online writing is no less real or fake than in “real life.” Sure, plenty of people on the web are genuine, while others are just looking out for themselves. But, that’s no different than any “real life” social gathering. It’s just far easier to be anonymous online, and while that’s certainly a thing in itself, it doesn’t make it not “real life.”
While there are certainly major differences between interacting face-to-face and through a computer or mobile device, they are no more or less real. Even in “real life,” we have facades. Sure, online, these facades exist often more for safety purposes than anything else. But, so is the case with real life artists. Online, artists are often allowed to express themselves more freely. The online writing world is so vast now that you can always find new connections.
There are other reasons why artists sometimes require alternate identities through which to network for their craft that deserve their own treatments. In a world that has become so critically dependent on socially networking through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok, et cetera, it’s become more important than ever for writers and other artists to have their own personal space for expression.
Personal websites and blogs give you a home base that no popular social network can ever give you, as well as an opportunity to build your own personal social network. You can do this in real life, too, with clubs and other social groups. The only difference online is the people you’re connecting with can be a world away. Writers are people, too, and our writing is as much “real life” as anything. That’s why it’s more important than ever to recognize that in some ways, people’s lives on social networks are more fiction than any novelist could ever dream of writing.
Related: A Writer in Motion | Honesty in Writing | Why Editors Are Not Failed Writers