Saturday, September 10, 2011

On Getting Personal

When I first stared blogging, I told myself that I wouldn’t get too personal. My blog will only be about books and other book-related things. Looking back on my previous posts, though, I realize that I’ve gotten more personal than I intended, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Sure, my readers don't know where I live or where I went to high school, but I’ve shared a lot of things that are more personal with them. I can completely relate to Emma Bovary’s longing for a more magical life, and the people who read my posts know that. They know that I love Pride and Prejudice, and would probably maul Mr. Darcy given the chance. My readers know my innermost thoughts, and how I tick. For me, those things are more personal than knowing mere facts.

Maybe getting personal is just unavoidable. Yes, we’re blogging about books and not our personal lives, but, somewhere along the way, our posts about books and our personalities become inseparable. Since I raved about particular scenes in The Age of Innocence, you might be able to tell that I’m a romantic/complete sap. That’s me, though, and, no matter how much I hold back on “personal facts,” the real me is going to come out sooner or later.

So, do you think I’m insane, or is it okay to get personal? Also, how personal is too personal? And, yes, I find that sentence confusing too.

18 comments:

irisonbooks said...

Completely understand. I tried to be impersonal, but I find I enjoy reading posts that are personal in that way much better. And when a book touches you, it is hard not to get personal.

Trish said...

Yes, it's conundrum for sure. A little bit of personality is nice to know, though, especially around the love and interest of books.

Sam said...

I don't like reviews that are completely factual and impersonal, so a bit of personality is a good thing.

Ellen said...

Good questions. When I started my book blog I kept a real separation between my posts about books and about my personal life, which went on my other blog. I like my reviews to be about the book, not about me or my life or how & why I reacted to a book in a certain way, but I've found my personal life seeping into my blog in other areas. And like you write, I think that's ok - sometimes there's not an easy way to separate my life from what I'm reading, and writing an occasional paragraph on my work or personal life sometimes fits in the blog.

Zibilee said...

I have a little bit of the personal peeking into my reviews, but I rarely do a completely personal post because for some reason, it just doesn't feel comfortable to me. I do leave a lot of personal comments though, and relate with other book bloggers through email. It's a tough balance to be just personal enough not to sound like a robot or to be splaying out all of your secrets for the world to see, and I find that I am mostly just more comfortable mainly talking about books. That doesn't mean that there is not a lot of my personal self hidden in there!

reviewsbylola said...

I definitely don't think I am as personal as some other bloggers, but I occasionally post pictures of myself or details on my family. I become more and more comfortable sharing that info as the years go on.

Allie said...

I think I might get too personal at times. But it works for me. I find it hard to separate how I feel about books from how I feel. They seem to go hand in hand while I am reading, and I am okay with that. :)

everybookandcranny said...

I've been thinking about this more and more lately. When I first started my blog I actually intended it to be more personal. In the early days I kind of withdrew from that and now I'm trying to get back into it and write more about myself, relate more personal experiences, and not worry so much about being "objective."

Trisha said...

I am a big fan of the personal, and I feel it's absolutely necessary for a book blogger. Our personal response and connection to the books we review is what separates us from "professional" bloggers and what makes us special.

As for other personal information, the actual facts, I enjoy that too. I like knowing about the bloggers I read.

As the Crowe Flies and Reads said...

Everything is personal. It's just a matter of to what degree. And I think readers *enjoy* gleaning personal tidbits from blog posts because they're more likely to forge a connection that way.

Nicola said...

It's almost impossible not to bring your personal life into blog posts isn't it? I suppose it differantiates us from reviewers who are paid to promote books. I'm a hopeless Austen fan, too....

Mel said...

I think reading is an incredibly personal experience. Good fiction shows us ourselves, through our reactions to it, don't you think?

Interesting post, thanks.

Catherine said...

I love personality in a blog. I think that's a little bit different than "personal" as in writing about your breakups or bathroom habits, or sharing your Social Security number. I find that as long as I can keep that line drawn I can continually keep a blog.

Rebecca Reid said...

I could have written this. It's been a challenge finding a balance between sharing and not sharing. But as other commenters have shared, I find it refreshing to really feel that I know the person who's recommending a book. I like the balance you give here.

Chrisbookarama said...

It's almost impossible to keep the personal out of my reviews, especially if I relate to a character or a situation. I think it can't help but come out on a blog.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

I started out incredibly impersonal and wanted to write just about books. But soon I realized that's almost impossible. I also enjoy getting to know my favorite bloggers better and know that I have to put myself out there a little bit too.

Jillian said...

I tend to read the blogs most that combine personal with books. I wouldn't want to read a hundred posts about somebody's dog (ha!). But I like the "personality" in a review. And I don't mind at all hearing about a person's life as I hear about their reading life. I like that, actually. Your blog is full of personality. I don't consider it at all impersonal, though you mostly stick to books. The "you" is in your posts.

I have trouble writing about my personal life too, and when I do "go there" occasionally, I feel a bit squirmy, wanting to delete. But I couldn't possibly talk books without my personality seeping in. I'm all passion and it has to show. I have a tough time following a blog that is too stiff and formal; I need to see the person reading, or else it feels like an encyclopedia. I don't mean I need a picture of the blogger or an outline of their life beyond books -- just that I need to see how they are unique: their personality. Some bloggers critique books like they're writing a term paper. I respect that, but it's not for me. I like to read about the reading experience.

Rachel said...

I think it's really important to have someone's own personality in reviews and posts as it really helps to engage with the writer. Personality in writing is why we read a blog. However I understand where you're coming from in terms of personal information and I think they're quite different things. I also don't put a lot of personal information on my blog as I don't like reading (or writing) about day to day activities or where I went on holiday or what I had for dinner. I don't even have a picture on my blog. But everyone's different so it's important to write to a personal level that you feel comfortable with.

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