I'm about to do something a little frightening. Bear with me.
A few days ago, my three-year-old daughter came to me crying. She had to go potty, but there was a monster in the bathroom. She was terrified. Specifically: Cookie Monster was in there, and I had to keep her safe from him. She did not buy my explanation that she would be safe from Cookie Monster because she was not a cookie, so I investigated.
It was her blue washcloth hanging on the towel bar.
So! Did you see that? That terrifying act I just performed? That was a personal anecdote about my family, and possibly the first one I've ever written here that wasn't specifically about games or stories and how my children interact with them. That wasn't relevant, if you see. But was it a good idea? Do the readers who come here care one way or the other about the goings-on in my personal life? Or was sharing that one tiny story an act that was deeply unprofessional?
I keep thinking about these questions. I can't decide, so I'm taking it to you and asking you what you think. Should I keep a church-and-state kind of division between my personal and professional lives? But then where does Twitter fall? Or Facebook, where my Twitter posts are linked? What about LinkedIn, which also grabs my Twitter feed?
Given that the work I do is profoundly personal, does it even make any sense to talk about a division between my personal and professional lives? I used to think so, but I'm less and less sure as more colleagues have become close friends, and as the edges of my internet footprint begin to overlap by a wider margin every day. My life isn't one of clear boundaries and defining lines. It's made in a single, whole piece. Everything is personal to me, and everything is professional as well.
For a long time I kept two separate blogs. One of them was this one. If you were to visit the archives, you'd see it's heavy in opining, analysis, and idle speculation. My other blog was strictly personal, and mostly about kids, cooking and housework -- a mommyblog, if you will. But due to a confluence of time pressure, technical issues, offloading to Twitter, and sheer slackitude, the entire year of 2009 went by without an update over there.
I wonder now if that separation has outlived its usefulness anyway. Or does this strictly-professional internet presence do me good? Would I lose professional standing if more people knew about my dirty dishes? (Do I want to work with people who would find a more complete picture of me off-putting?) I know other writers I respect and admire have done well with blending personal and professional. I speak of course of Elizabeth Bear and John Scalzi, Neil Gaiman, Jay Lake.
So this is just one big solicitation for opinions, I guess. How do you manage the distinctions between personal and professional, if any? What do you do? How does it work, and what would you recommend?