Friday, September 30, 2011

The secrets I don't tell you

I'm in the middle of attending a two-day marketing conference for the day job. That means I've spent a lot of time stabbing myself with the back of an earring to stay awake.    picturing the presenters in their underwear.    learning about social media.

I'm a big believer in the importance of building personal relationships in social media, but the way I approach it is different for my author career versus my day job. As the marketing/PR manager for  my city's tourism bureau, I make an effort to connect with people seeking hiking tips or navigating the Bend Ale Trail.

I don't spend a lot of time talking about how I hurked in my underwear or the time I waxed off my own eyebrow.

If you want an example of how I've dealt with a single topic from the two different platforms, you can read my day job blog post about my standup paddling adventure (clearly geared toward marketing an event) versus the way I told the story on my author blog (a post titled Stick it in, stroke it hard, paddle me).

Same voice, different approach. Both have humor, but one is more factual, while the other is more personal. One blog keeps a professional reign on my inner juvenile, and the other lets her out to run naked through the yard anytime she wants.

Well, mostly.

I do keep some clothes on from time to time. Obviously I reveal quite a bit of personal information on this blog, but you probably know I hold some things back. Those of you who've followed me awhile know my ex-husband was a regular character on the blog before "ex" was part of his title. What most of you didn't know until I announced the divorce was that I spent the year prior to that refraining from telling you the marriage was doing a long, slow swirl down the drain.

I shared the story of explaining to my new housemate that I was hosting a Pure Romance party, but I stopped short of telling you what I might have purchased.

For the most part, I feel wise for holding a few things back. I'm pretty sure you don't want to know every detail of how I spent my last bathroom break.

But sometimes I feel bad about it. Sometimes I feel itchy to share more. Sometimes I'm not allowed to, and sometimes I'm choosing caution on my own.

For instance, I just learned the book slated as my third release next September has a new title. And though I'm giddy with love for the new name, I've been ordered not to tell anyone what it is yet.

I'd also love to tell you about a super secret project I've been working on. It has to do with a big shift in the publishing world and a story I'm REALLY excited about, but that's pretty much all I'm permitted to announce for another couple weeks.

And then there's my personal life. Part of me kind of wants to share that I'm dating someone who makes me swoon on a daily basis with his kind heart, clever mind, great hands, and sense of humor that might actually be filthier than mine.

But with the divorce still fresh and romance the last thing on earth I thought I was looking for, I feel like keeping my cards close to my chest.

(Insert joke here about what else might be on my chest. Go ahead, I'll wait).

I guess it's all about balance. You share some, you hold some back. Sometimes you toss your panties on the chandelier, and sometimes you just hike up your skirt a little.

How do you strike a balance between what you make public and what you keep to yourself? If you have more than one public profile, does your approach differ? Please share!

And I promise I'll share more about some of that stuff when the timing's right. Stay tuned...


26 comments :

Shakespeare said...

I tend to hold back a LOT, actually. Fortunately, I HAVE a lot to share... but I'm far too aware of the fact that relatives and friends who actually know me in real life might be reading any of my postings, so I only put up what I am willing to have everyone and his two dogs know.

Still, I share more (given these circumstances) than many would. I'm certain there are times people think what I've shared is too personal, or it's just TMI. But this happens in face-to-face conversations, too, I think.

Sarah W said...

I blog for my library as part of my job -- local history and genealogy stuff, so there's a certain tone there.

My personal blog is a bit different. It's sort of an open journal, and I share quite a bit, including how it feels to struggle with my WIP (even though Janet Reid said not to blog about writing) and living with my MIL (because she'll never read it).

But you'll never see my kids' faces in the photos or see their real names. I don't mention my place of work or share too-specific work stories (I hope).

And I apparently save most of my raunchiest thoughts to comment here.

It's definitely a balance.

Patrick Alan said...

So, have you used the no bra, stand near an air conditioner trick on him yet.

That is unfair you know. UNFAIR!

kimmullican.com said...

I think Public Relations has everything backward. I would vote for the politician that admitted to a weird fetish, admitted to inhaling or being bad at math. We are all human and the more we try to appear to be more than human, we lose authenticity.

Good for you for moving on - for having so many positive things going on in your life!

Hizzah!

Patrick Alan said...

Also, I just use different names for different things on the internet.

For example, I am actually David Hasselhoff.

Josh K. said...

With the tittle of the post I was expecting the body of the post to be blank, but maybe that's because that would be something I would do.

:-)
Josh

PS I guess I should read the post know and find out what you didn't tell me.
;-)

Linda G. said...

I was just discussing this very thing with TG the other day -- the art of retaining some privacy while achieving a sense of friendly intimacy with your readers. It's a delicate balance, and you handle it very well. :)

Matthew MacNish said...

I'm much like you in my approach. I hold very little back, but when I do it's for good reason.

I don't have two blogs, but I have two Facebook profiles, and I definitely behave differently on them. The odd thing though is that I'm crazier and more open on my writer profile than on my personal one.

Laura Maylene said...

Well, I totally understand the allure of maintaining an anonymous blog, because then I'd be able to share all the murky/depressed/insecure stuff that can accompany writing in general and also with a debut book.

I actually think a lot about what to reveal. Usually I know my limits and therefore can just sense what would be okay and what wouldn't. Sometimes I ask my husband for his opinion. (His advice, inevitably, is: "Just make sure you're keeping it real." Which at first sounds unhelpful but really, it's good -- honesty is immensely powerful.)

But bottom line, if I feel uncertain about something, I won't post it. And so far I have never regretted that.

For example, I am not comfortable talking about anything sex-related on my blog. I'm not a prude, I swear, but it just doesn't feel right to me. So I don't.

And hey -- congrats on the new man in your life.

Skye said...

While you do share more than I do on my "public" blog, I do get you. Sometimes you just want to share and can't. (And hey! Yay you for the for the new guy!)

But there have been some things I've just had to get off my chest, so to speak, so I have an anonymous blog (well, a few people know about it, but only two ever comment so I don't know if anyone else reads it) where I can let it loose. It's the stuff I don't ever want a potential employer to see, or even many of my friends, because it is no-holds-barred.

I love what you way and how you say it and if you need to keep some things back, well, we can't all run around nude sharing our sex toys all the time!

Kristina said...

Love you sweetie and can't wait to hear more as you unveil... ;)

thelisas said...

thelisas are impressed by your willpower

we hold nothing back

it is most unfortunate

vivek said...

Just came across your blog and had a great time reading your posts! I am looking forward to buying your book as soon as possible

Sarah Allen said...

Don't ever stop being personal. It makes me feel like I know you a little bit. It makes this blog fresh and entertaining. Keep it up! I wish you all the best.

Sarah Allen
(my creative writing blog)

Penelope said...

On the edge of my seat and already smiling for you...

NINA NAKAYAMA said...

Aw, your last secret is my favorite. I'm happy for you! Whether it's panties on the chandelier, a teasing hike of your skirt, or the most titillating--being left to wonder WHAT'S under there, you share your life in a very Tawna way that we all love!
Me, I'm private until the beer and tequila reveal my secrets for me!

erin said...

See!!!! Good Karma, good attitudes... life will reward. I'm intentionally facebook and twitter - less; wanna keep my life tech-simple. So I don't have to worry about sharing too much (unless I'm drunk and in person, which is way worse). My Mother won't be able to cyber stalk me! ;)

Curtis Moser said...

I'm not a big fan of the romantic comedy genre because I'm 100% male and I regularly eat nails and beat up midgets, but I may have to pick up this MAKING WAVES thing. Your blog is full of some of the funniest, freshest, most wholesomely perverted writing I have read, and I love it. Glad I stumbled across it, I plan on coming back often. Nicely done.

TheLabRat said...

I'm of the opinion that if I post my embarrassing crap on the interwbz myself, than there's no way someone (that I give a crap about) to lord it over me if I ever run for office.

Actually I tend to be more open online than I am in person just because I'm basically feral; social anxiety + new city = total shut in.

Tawna Fenske said...

Shakespeare, three cheers for TMI!

Sarah, I will not rest until I find your secret blog.

Patrick, triple bonus points for the MAKING WAVES reference. Nicely played.

kimmullican, thank you! It's been an interesting year, to say the least.

Josh, believe it or not, I do have a few secrets :)

Linda G, ...says she who posted a photo of herself in the shower!!!

Matthew, now I'm going to be searching for your secret Facebook identity.

Laura, thanks for the congrats! For the record, the new man got to read/approve this post before it went live. He didn't change a word :)

Skye, man, now I want to find YOUR anonymous blog, too! You guys are all piquing my curiosity.

Kristina, (((hugs)))

thelisas, most people are surprised to learn I have some restraint. Some, not much.

vivek, thanks! MAKING WAVES is still in most bookstores, and on all the sites like Amazon, B&N, etc.

Sarah Allen, thanks!

Penelope, I suppose it's only fair, since we got to watch YOUR romance unfold online :)

Nina, I love how everyone's most interested in the personal tidbit. Gotta love romance fans!

erin, cyber stalking me is my mother's favorite pastime.

Curtis, aww, thanks! I actually had a great guest post in August from a male reader giving his perspective on the book: http://tawnafenske.blogspot.com/2011/08/boys-eye-view-of-making-waves.html

TheLabRat, the nice thing about writing risque romantic comedy is that there's pretty much nothing I could do that would HURT my career. Arrests for public sex and/or drunkenness? Nude photo scandal? Bring it on!

Thanks for reading, guys!
Tawna

M.R. Zuchniak said...
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M.R. Jordan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
M.R. Jordan said...

I'm an naturally a private person. Added that an extreme filter in social situations. My best friend has almost no filter. I admire her for her ability to be so open. She admires my level head.Together we make quite the pair.

To me the internet is the biggest social occasion on the planet and that terrifies me. My friend rushes into it like she does everything else, while I've been slowly creeping out.

Anyway I'm a regular reader of your blog, though not a regular poster. I'm super excited to hear about this secrete project.

bettyfokker said...

Hmmmm ... you are a romance writer, you went through a painful divorce, you found unexpected romance ... you're are an alias for Lucy March, aren't you!!

Hope the romance is the most amazing, hottest, best relationship ever, in all of history! Maybe just a FEW details?

Stacy said...

The whole building a brand/platform thing can be tough to get your mind around. After reading, researching, going to blogs, etc., it seems the best way is to be yourself. I'm doing that with my blog, and I make sure to have a weekly post that relates to my genre, but other than that, I want to show people who I am. There are times when I question whether or not to discuss something, but I usually go with my gut. If it's a part of who I am, I share.

Crystal Posey said...

Balance when using social media is so important. It's the difference between standing out and falling into the crowd. With the right balance you appear smart, capable, and genuine. Without it you're all over the place, and often end up putting stuff out there that's going to end up following you around like a black cloud for a very long time.

I think that you strike a perfect balance in what to share, and what not to. You share enough that I find myself thinking about you in real life. *snickers* I'll sometimes come across something that make me think, "Oh, Tawna would find this hilarious." Or, more than likely, "There is a dirty joke in here some where. Tawna would find it if she were here, damn it." And at the same time there never seems to be too much. There is never any drama, nothing tacky, and nothing that makes me flinch and think, "Mmmm, not sure if I'd have gone there." And that's the type of people in social media that I really pay attention to.

As far as how I try to balance what to share and what not to share: If I have to ask myself whether it's a good idea or not ... I DON'T. Also, keep the relationships offline. The bad and the good.