I’ve been blogging for 18 months under my name in Spanish about personal branding, studies, college and self-knowledge because I studied business and that’s what I thought I wanted to blog about.

But now I want to write in English about fiction and poetry I’ve kept closeted in my room.

I know you’re an advocate of writing under the same blog & under your name.

But I feel as if the readers would feel lost –because I know I am lost and I want to embrace it. But I don’t want to confuse anyone and let them know I have been confused all along. Should I use a pen name and keep a second blog secret until I’m ready to tell the world?

Should I continue collecting unemployment insurance as long as I can, or accept the next job offer I get?

Right now I’m happily collecting unemployment, and applying and interviewing for new jobs at a steady pace.

I am really enjoying not working for the first time in years. I can live comfortably off of my savings unemployment benefits until they expire. I volunteer for several organizations I love, so I am still very busy. And for the first time in my life, I might have the time, energy, and means to really travel, as long as I continue to adhere to my state’s unemployment requirements. I also have plans to start in-state graduate school in the fall for a professional degree program that I know will expand my skills and career options in my city, so I’m not totally without direction.

I am 26, have a 4-year college degree, no loans, work in journalism, and live in the Midwest, where jobs in my industry are harder to come by.

Is it career suicide to just remain unemployed between now and graduate school? Will the gap in my resume become too much of a problem after a couple more months pass? I am looking forward to getting back to work in what will hopefully be a less decrepit environment, and with every passing week I get a little bit more anxious about just finding a job already. I agree with you that it’s good to try new careers, but how often is one lucky enough to be on unemployment and without a care in the world? I also don’t think my story should raise any red flags with future employers, since essentially, “My contract with company X expired in February, and I elected not to stay because I wanted to travel and pursue personal projects. I felt like my goals and skills had outgrown that position and company, and now I’m really eager to apply myself to the next opportunity.”

Thank you so much for your time, Penelope.

I’m an INFJ and I’m taking your course Reach Your Goals by Blogging. The course is very helpful, but I have a question you did not answer:

How do you decide what’s off limits in terms of writing about others?  How can you be authentic if you feel like you can’t write about major events in your life, but those major events expose people whose privacy you feel you need to protect?



I’m trying to gather up to have the courage to write an honest blog. I started it to help others get through some of the “tough stuff” I went through. I keep wrestling with should I? Why would I want to tell everyone about my challenges? How do I make the leap?

Do you have any tips on having a successful book launch and what
strategies helped you the best?

Hi Penelope,

I have a dilemma about this topic: http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/2007/07/19/blog-under-your-real-name-and-ignore-the-harassment/

The quandary is that I write about suicide.  Anonymously.  This allows me to protect my career and also avoid censoring myself.  Now that I’m gaining some readership and preparing to take my blog to the next level, I am concerned about never having a body of work to attach to my real name, because I’ve finally accepted that writing is the one thing I would regret not taking a shot at in this life.

So while it’s hard to ask, “What would you do if you were me?” because you write about taboo subjects all the time and accept the risk….what does one do if it’s all risk and extremely low potential for reward?  Start a completely different blog under my actual name with “safer” content?  Stay anonymous and continue to write what seems to matter to people, and worry about it later?  I have your words in mind:

“And one more thing. I have found that if I am nervous to post something—if I think I might look bad or reveal too much or give advice that people will hate—these are the posts that people care about, because they further my connection with people and further the conversation we’re having, and connection and conversation are the crux of linking.” 


[Name redacted]

When I was using Google asking how to start a blog your name came up. I took your message to just begin and ran with it. That was a few months ago and I still do not feel as though I have a direction or voice yet but I truly enjoy it as a creative outlet.

I have read many of your posts and the other day came across one where you were talking about Twitter.  I have an aversion to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, all the Pinterest, all of the social media for the masses.  I have taken the Myers Briggs test 4 times professionally and always an INFP.  Since you are a Myers Briggs fan do you think Introverts are on Twitter or is it the 75 percent Extroverted population that find it so lovable?

I am in awe of your breadth of reading and your ability to keep track of it all so that you can draw on it later. How do you keep track of all the studies you cite and all the links you incorporate into your posts? I have yet to find a really fast and accurate way to do it.

Would you consider adding a new topic, Self-Publishing, to your Mailbag section? I would LOVE to read about how you self-published and promoted your first book and I’m sure many of your readers could benefit from your knowledge and experiences, both good and bad, going the self-publishing route.

So I’ve been trundling along, writing my little theatre and writing blog at missclaraklemski.com with an average of about 30-50 readers each time I post, usually clicking on from facebook.

Then recently I posted a passionate article about my reaction to a play at the Sydney theatre company Belvoir St Theatre and I’ve had more than 100 readers and most of them have been from google searches – as if word had somehow got out that a review was out there about the production that was controversial.

I have had a few comments that have been a bit nasty, something which I have never experienced before and I wondered: how do you handle nasty comments or people who don’t like what you wrote? I don’t want to hurt anyone but I don’t want to withhold my opinion just because it is safer. Do you do any damage control that you feel is necessary or do you hire someone to do it? Finally, how do you determine what needs damage control and what doesn’t if a lot of the readers don’t actually comment?