When I first started down the path of trying to become a professional writer, I honestly thought my target audience would be adults. Because of this I published dark adult driven poetry books, and started this blog with adults in mind. Once I made the decision to switch and pursue my dream by focusing my attention on children’s book, I have been concerned over what effect this blog will have on my chances of getting picked up by an agent and publisher. I have also grown concerned over the possibility of my dream failing, and being forced back into working for corporate America once again.  

I have gotten deeply personal about my mental illness, along with other personal things going on in my life. If you know this than you are also aware I am deeply opinionated, and I don’t hold anything back when I write. If my main audience will be children, then this blog serves no purpose since there is nothing on here suitable for children. I wonder what will start happening once I start shopping my stuff around to agents. I am trying to sell a product geared towards children yet my online persona is the complete opposite. I wonder what will happen when agents get my manuscripts and Google my name. They will not think I am very marketable once they read some of the shit I have written. Will they immediately reject my work in fear that parents won’t want to read books to their children written by someone like me? 

When I started this blog I had no intention of holding anything back. I was going to throw myself out there without any worries of what the long term consequences may be. I am sitting here now regretting my bold intentions, and wishing I would have shown some restraint or at least had the common sense to not use my real name. Hindsight is always twenty twenty, and I wish I would have been a bit more discrete. I will not be fully aware of how bad of a decision this was until I try to get another job or until I start getting rejection letters from agents. I suppose if they like the books enough they could always request I use a pen name. This is a possibility, but do I really want to risk this?

I just recently changed my profile, so it does not show my entire name, in hopes I can begin to undo over a years worth of damage. Up until last week I still used my first name, but I changed my display name to “Random Thinker.” I am hoping this will cure the problem, but I do not think changing this will go back and change all my previous posts. All of the stuff I have written prior to this will still show my full name. I am sitting here racking my brain trying to figure out how to fix this. The relentless reality of the internet is; once shit is out there it is there to stay. I have thought about shutting this blog down and go through every one of my posts and mark as private so no one can ever see it. The thought of this daunting task is giving me unrelenting anxiety.

I did a little research, and I think I may have found a suitable answer to this problem, but it is not the most ideal. According to what I have read if I delete my blog, then my posts may still show on the internet (although the help menu was not clear on this.) My other option is to just disable my account. If I do this then all my posts will immediately become private, thus solving my main concerns. If I did this though then I could no longer write on here. If this were true then I am confronted with a serious decision to make. I suppose I could disable this site and create a new one which has no direct connection to me. The problem I have with this is I have worked real hard and put a lot into this site since I started it over a year ago. If I were to scrap this and create a completely new blog then I would be starting over from scrap and thus losing all my readers. My wife made the suggestion to start a new blog, and just post something on here saying my site has moved. I could leave this up for a couple weeks then switch to my new blog. If I were to do this I would have to completely move away from WordPress, which would suck because I wouldn’t know of the best site to go to. I really need to analyze this decision more closely.  

  1. Lydia says:

    That’s a tough decision to make.

    Have you considered writing children’s books under a pseudonym?

  2. Two comments. First off, your blog has already been cached by, at least, Google (I just checked). So, even if you delete the blog, it will live on in cached form for years and years to come. Most of the cached pages I looked at bear your real name, not your new pseudonym.

    Second, people who write children’s books come from all walks of life. No one expects a children’s author to be a saint or not have the kinds of issues and problems the rest of the world suffers with.

    Me thinks you are creating a crisis for yourself.

    Besides, some agents and publishers might be intrigued that a person who suffers from mental illness like yourself can concurrently write beautiful words for children.

    Who knows? This blog might help you land an agent or a publisher!

    • Trey,

      What if I were to disable this blog, then even if they found a page they wouldnt be able to read it because it would be private? Perhaps I am suffering a bout of intense paranoia over this whole topic. I haven’t finished my other manuscripts for this so its nothing I should need to worry about right now.

      • Disabling or deleting your blog would have no effect on the cache. While folks could no longer go to a live page, they could view the page as it looked when Google took the snapshot.

      • Trey,

        Okay I don’t mean to sound dumb but what is “cache?” So if I were to do this they could still see the page in its entirity even though it has been marked private by WordPress?

  3. Your Wife says:

    Where is that “I should have listened to my wife” badge you made??? I recall a conversation when the blog started I said..”Honey you should use a pen name” my thinking was for the privacy of our family and our children.

  4. Your Wife says:

    I think you are making a mountain out of a mole hill dear 🙂

  5. Your Wife says:

    rare- let me pull out my handy dandy notebook and check the score ….. Hmmm it appears that since 1999 when we became a couple Nicole has 789 “rights” and Tim has 10 “rights”…so your statement is proven false, facts dont lie 🙂

    • Nicole, speaking as a wife myself, I’m not sure that is a winning strategy!

      • Your Wife says:

        Jodi- Simply a joke between Tim and I. there really is no handy dandy notebook with scores kept for 12 years. But he made me a badge one year for valentines day that said “i should ahve listened to my wife” so we have a long running joke about this. 🙂

      • I didn’t really think there was a book, but whatever is fine by both of you is what counts.

      • I guess I should have put a lol on my first comment. Sorry!

      • Your Wife says:

        I dig your chiken btw!! Sometimes in dealing with a spouse with manic episodes, who do not think all choices thru very well, we pull out the “remember last time you wanted to impulsively do something and it didnt work out so well…” I think that is a better example of the “should have listened statement”. And I agree with the majority that you can have a blog with all different emotions to it, but in reality people do judge and we would hate for someone to judge Tim based on his blog rants and not on his ability to write the children’s books. I am not too worried about it, I think hubby is far over analyzing this one 🙂

      • Thanks re: the chicken! She is actually walking a tightrope, but that wouldn’t fit in when it was cropped. It is meant to symbolize both my blogs. The blue and tightrope are for my depression blog, “A Darker Shade of Blue” and the chicken is for my alter ego Mother Hen, who writes my humor blog.
        (I’m not promoting my blogs [really!] just explaining. Okay, so technically I am, sue me.)

  6. Has this blog been a positive force in fighting for your mental health? Would you miss it if you let it go? What would you write about on a new blog?
    All of these questions raise relevent issues that you need to consider before making a decision.
    I write both a humor blog and a blog about depression. Occasionally I have wondered what kind of weird message that sends out, but I have decided that this is me and I am entitled to be a multi-faceted person with different talents and issues. Not being myself isn’t worth it for me.

    • Lydia says:

      This is a little off-topic but I don’t think that having a blog each about depression and humour is weird at all. No one can be distilled to just one part of their life or mind.

    • Jodi,

      This blog has been a positive force in many facets of my life. If I were to let this specific blog go I would miss it because I have been working on it for over a year and it has been such an accomplishment watching it grow. I did think about doing seperate blogs each one I would write a post once a week.
      I would keep my “Philosophy of Quotes” theme for one blog. I would also include my “Philosophy of Lyrics
      I would write one focusing on just my personal life
      One focusing on theology
      One focusing on politics
      Prior to a few weeks ago I would write around five posts a week so this would work. I just don’t know where to include some of the random things I write about

      • I currently write two blogs and find that it takes a lot of my time. Some of this is because of the nature of my blogs, I think, but just be careful not to take on too much. Once you start a new blog (if you are like me) you feel pressure to keep up with it.
        I tend to think that philosopy and theology are still pretty compatable subjects, so what about trying them combined for a while, and then branch off later if you still want to do so.
        Since we don’t get paid for this stuff it makes sense to pace ourselves. (Okay, there I am talking to myself too.)

  7. telove4him says:

    i have thought about this too–and first, just because they google your name–doesn’t mean someone else doesnt have the same name anyways–also i used to write a blog and deleted it–but before i did, i saved the blog, and then embedded it into a new wordpress blog under a different name–i didnt think you could go back to a blog tht was permenantly deleted–mine were gone (my old ones)–not sure if that makes sense or not–but also a publisher may like your openness and how you express yourself in words–never know.

  8. Cailee says:

    You really shouldn’t worry too much about this until an issue arises. Shel Silverstein wrote for Playboy, Dr. Seuss wrote adult poems and essays, Carl Hiassen writes acclaimed childrens books and adult novels. I am sure there are many more examples out there as well. If your children books are of good quality and appropriate (which they are so far!) parents will not care what your background is they will only care about sharing the stories with their kids.

  9. terri0729 says:

    Tim, How many parents take the time to get on the internet and look up the author before they buy a book for their kid? I doubt there are very many. As far as agents and publishers go, look at what’s out there. Some of the celebrities and who’s who crowd out there these days have really big problems but their books get published. I don’t believe that mental illness has the “taboo” status that it used to and is generally more excepted. I truly think that you have more of a problem with it that the outside world will. Don’t make trouble where there may be none. It only adds to your anxiety levels. That’s my 2 cents anyway, Terri

  10. I think you have created this level of angst because you have chosen to focus on the wrong thing.

    As others have stated, I think it is highly unlikely that most parents will do an internet search to learn more about the authors of their children’s books. I’m not saying that no parent will be this diligent, but my guess is that they will be very FEW and far between.

    As I mentioned before, the group of people that I believe will be most likely to seek out more information about you are potential agents and publishers. These folks want to know if working with you is worth their time AND if such a relationship will be profitable.

    But while you worry about what they may think about your content, I don’t think that will be what they are looking at. My guess is that their focus will be on the structure of HOW you write.

    Before deciding to invest time in a relationship with you, these people will want to know that you spell words correctly, utilize punctuation and grammar as they should be used and that you are able to carry your thesis (main idea) from the beginning to the end of a post.

    Creativity is the engine of good writing, but structure is the car’s body. There are scads of people in the world who are creative, but they lack the skill to put the two together.

    So, rather than worry so much about what you have to say, I think you should be far more concerned about HOW you say it.

    And I don’t think you need to worry about past posts. As a general rule, agents and publishers tend to be very busy people. They simply don’t have the time to sift through months and months of posts. They are far more likely to read the posts on the main page and, maybe, a page or two deeper.

    So, starting today, why don’t you commit to polishing each post before it appears publicly on the blog. At a bare minimum, you should spell check each essay before posting it. Several software programs (e.g., MS Word) can also check for punctuation and grammatical errors. If you are able to catch most such errors before publishing, then agents and/or publishers who may drop by in the future will think to themselves, “Hmm. Not only does this fellow have something to say, but he knows how to write it!”

    • Trey,

      I have always writen my posts in MS Word, then I do a check through wordpress’s spell check but it seems I am still making errors which these programs are not catching. I wonder if spell check isnt catching misspelled words because I am spelling them right in a different context. I am not sure why grammar check is not catching grammar errors. I have always known my skills in this area are bad. Cailee edits my children’s books so I know the product I am sending them is polished. As for my blog I never really realized how poorly wriiten my posts are. I am going to shoot you an e-mail.

  11. TonyVote says:

    You bring up many valid points but I on the other hand only have one. Take a look at Shel Silverstein. He’s not really what you think of as a role model at first glance. But his children’s book sold millions.

    • Tony,

      Welcome to the community. Cailee brought up Silverstein and a handful of other children’s book authors who did many things outside of children’s books. This titbit of information has made me feel a lot better. Thanks for stopping by.

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