As I've been going through the archives of my blog (holy CRAP woman, WHY DID YOU BLOG SO MUCH??) and reverting many, many hundreds of posts to draft so they are no longer accessible, I found this one that I wrote a year ago and then never posted. But it feels pretty true, still. It's a constant balancing act, and the blog is not what it used to be, nor will it ever be that again. I've spent the last week rewriting the history of what the blog was, or at least heavily editing it.
The fact of people NOTICING you and appropriating aspects of yourself into their own lives is not a downside to being published. It's merely a side, neither up nor down, and it's something that has to be adjusted to, and the ways in which I adjust to it constantly shift and change. So, take the following post as you will, and know that I adore you for caring about me and my writing, regardless of how much of myself I put out there.
Guys, I hate to admit it, but I think I've mellowed out.
There was a time not so long ago when I freaked out over everything. Melissa Marr started following me on twitter and I about had a fit. Neil Gaiman started following me and I kid you not I could not sleep at all that night I was so crazy with adrenaline. A good review was the BEST THING EVER. A bad review had me freaking out that no one was going to like my books.
I wanted to be friends with EVERYONE. Established authors, new authors, everyone everyone everyone in the business. And not just friendly acquaintances, but, like, BOSOM BUDDIES or kindred spirits a la Anne Shirley. I wanted to be important in their lives.
I wanted everyone in the world to read my blog, and I wanted to dazzle them with how charming and fun and cute and perky I was. I wanted everyone to like me.
It gets a bit exhausting after a while, you know? More people started reading what I wrote, paying attention to what I said. Rather than thrilling, it led to several OH CRAP moments. People misinterpreted me. They created strange expectations that, when I failed to meet them, meant I hated them or was cold or mean or snobbish or crazy (which, the last one is fair). Or they created huge expectations that I was an infinite ray of sunshine and heaven forbid they find out I'm actually kind of cranky and moody and not actually all that perky all the time.
(My default mode is slug, after all.)
Everything felt huge and important. If I didn't post some glittering piece of cleverness on my blog that day, my books would never sell! If I didn't go out of my way to try and be friends with that author whose work I admired, my books would never sell! If I didn't friend and follow and pay attention to every debut author I was creating bad karma and my books would never sell!
Blah, blah, so on and so forth.
Here's what I've figured out: Slug me just doesn't have the energy to exist in such a state of heightened frenzy. I was talking with a close friend the other day and jokingly said, "I just don't have the energy to be more than five people's friend at any given time." Then I realized...it was kind of true.
I no longer desperately crave to be friends with ALL OF THE PEOPLE. I'm happy to be friendly with a great many people I admire, and to be truly friends with just a handful of people I trust absolutely, who not only have time for me in their lives but most importantly whom I have enough time to be a good friend to in my own. It doesn't mean I hate the people I've dropped out of regular contact with, or hate the people I never got to know well enough. It just means I don't have room in my life to be a good friend, and I'd rather be a friendly acquaintance than a bad friend.
Good reviews and positive regard from people I admire? Still totally awesome. Doesn't keep me up at night, though, nor does it really change my life on any significant level.
I guess what I am saying is I was trying to live so much of my life on display that it got diluted, and strange, and very, very lonely. I no longer desire to share chunks of myself on the blog. I like myself. I like to keep myself to myself and the few other selves that I know love my self even when it isn't being funny or smart. (They like slug Kiersten. Slug Kiersten is cuddly, and sends weird text messages, and never leaves a slime trail.) (Or at least if she does she is polite enough to clean up after herself.)
Sometimes I think about closing the blog forever. It served a purpose, an important purpose, in my life. I had a lot of fun with it, and I learned a lot through it. But I no longer have an entirely private life, and the more public that certain parts of me become (particularly my second-toe on my right foot) (wait I mean not literal parts, that would be weird, that toe should remain off the public radar) the more I want to keep the other pieces of me very, very far from screens or soundbites.
I'll be honest: when people tell me they dream about me, or confess they have crushes on me, or wish they had my life, it creeps me the crap out. I'm not saying they're creepy people. I'm saying the idea that I exist in the lives of people who do not exist in my life is utterly bizarre and I still don't know how to reconcile it.
So I keep writing my books, and I keep my friends close, and if I'm a bit more private and closed-off than I used to be, well, that's just because my second-toe on my right foot demands it.