I’m terrified of public writing

So, I’ve finally got my act together enough to get a blog going. The process is fraught with decisions – most of them dry and technical, such as choosing a host or blogging platform – but some of them more personal. For example, does the nascent blogger keep his privacy and an unselfconscious writing style by penning under a pseudonym, or lay down the gauntlet and in the process open the floodgates to Googling employers, green inks and assorted internet loons?

My choice is a pretty clear one, but personally difficult too. I’m lucky in that I’m not that phased by public speaking, but I confess to feeling some trepidation about public writing. A few dumb words at some event quickly slip from the collective memory – not so the internet. Hit a wrong note and it can end up permanently on the public record. Then there is your audience – when you’re stood in front of a crowd, they’re pretty easy to read; in fact, they’re pretty damned hard not to read. But this little WordPress box has a blank face, so it doesn’t leave the blogger with a huge amount of room to change direction. Of course, the same applies to all forms of the written word, but as of today Google doesn’t quite hoover up ever character ever typed.

So pitching the narrative voice is a hard one – and one I assume will involve some iteration. Pitch it too high and it’s all too easy to come across as condescending and superior; too low and it’s patronising. So forgive me if I get it wrong – and do let me know about it, although I think I’m going to put my hands up now and say I’ll be moderating the blog, so be nice – only witty bitchiness will be allowed! In any event, I’d be disappointed if my friends didn’t slate me for being a flagrant narcissist for doing this – they’d probably not be my friends if they didn’t.

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