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?

I am curious if you are writing some of the questions in the mailbag?  For example the most recent one Which Careers Give you Work/Life Balance and I’m 30 and I’m worried I’ll never have a career?  The word choice and writing style in both of those questions sound very much like you.  I don’t see it an the other questions so I’m really curious if you wrote the mail bag questions that I referred to.

Hi Penelope,
How are you? I’m an author and executive recruiter (currently at [big impressive company]), and have a book coming out next month. I’ve been told it’s bad form to request a review from a big-name blogger without first building a relationship, but that seems a bit backwards to me (or perhaps just disingenuous). I’d love to get a book review from you and am wondering if you’d be willing. Please let me know if you have any questions or what I can do to be of help.

What business models are open to journalists? I know you exemplify one model but you must have thought of others?

My background is as a journalist but I am currently home with my twin babies and trying to come up with a goal and plan for my return to work.

I have worked at newspapers like The Guardian and, since going freelance five years ago, I have written for a wide variety of newspapers, magazines and websites. The essence of things is that I need to choose between trying to get better paying journalism work (doing more magazine work), doing more self publishing or leveraging my skills into more lucrative but less fun work ( such as corporate writing).

What would you recommend?

So, you’re the queen of writing posts and tweets that say things that some people love and some people think are crazy or offensive. I’m on the love side, of course.

I’m an INFJ, which means I’m a good writer, I’m (deep down) very sensitive, and I’m very judgmental (I always have opinions). After two and a half years of not being able to find a job, freelance, or start a business without getting pissed off by the people I’ve met, the severe disappointment has caused me to become a bit loopy. All of a sudden I want to start a blog (or something that has to do with writing) where I get to say whatever I want about personal acquaintances, bloggers I read, celebrities, whatever, no matter how offensive people might think my opinions are. Is this something I should embrace (a gift from the marketing gods) or is this blog idea a bad idea?

I’m writing a white paper about how bloggers become authors. Since you have done this yourself, could you answer a few questions for me?

1. What’s the biggest difference between writing a blog or blog posts and writing a book?

2. Many bloggers think writing a book makes them rich and famous. Certainly that can happen, but what is the reality of what a book can or will do for your career and/or finances?

3. If you could share three things a blogger should do to get ready to write a book — even if just level setting expectations — what would those things be?