Alright, it’s a bit of a pretentious title for a blog, but stay with me for the next few hundred words.
Take a look at the biographical details at the bottom of this article. You’ll notice that it is very sparse – almost no personal details beyond my name and a WattPad account. Compare it to some of the others who write blogs for the One Million Project. Lots of details in those. Now, given the current emphasis on social media and accessibility to readers, why would an aspiring author not want to be contacted? Why would they not want their readers to connect with them?
The answer in my case is simple. Privacy.
You see, I lead a double life. One of them is the ordinary life that everybody else leads – the life of work, responsibility and paying the bills. The other life I have is one of imagination, creation and wonder. In one of them, I am virtually unknown beyond the walls that are placed around me. In the other … Well, I’m still pretty much unknown, but there is more freedom to do things.
I try to keep my two lives separate. But there is still one inevitable point of contact between them: me. Although I have different names for my different lives, I am still at heart the same person. Parts of my normal life will creep over into my existence as John Nedwill, and vice-versa. I could reinvent myself totally, or I could create an entirely separate persona from whole cloth and put that out as ‘me’.
Neither of those options particularly appeals to me. The first one would mean giving up too much of the things I like about me that already exist. The second would involve lying on a massive scale, and that would challenge my integrity just as much as the first option would. So, I have decided to remain a cipher. It may not be the best choice, but it is the one I am most comfortable with. Instead, I prefer readers to engage with my works rather than some personality that is itself a work of fiction.
As writers, we have to decide how much we reveal about ourselves to our readers. Some of us are more comfortable sharing than others; others prefer to keep something back. It doesn’t mean that we don’t want to engage, it’s just that we want to choose our grounds to do so.
OMP Admin Note: John Nedwill is a writer and OMP Network member, who will be blogging on a regular basis on various issues and causes. His work can be found on Wattpad.com and in the OMP short story anthologies which will be published by Dark Ink Press this fall.