Be Who You Are By Elizabeth Mitchell

Last Round, I had a comment exchange with Gloria Weber, who is also a sponsor this Round, about letting our possibly geeky interests be part of our blogs, without worrying what others thought about them.  The exchange has resonated with me since that time. Although I am not generally ashamed of my more pedantic interests, I have downplayed them in my blogs, saving them for the academic writing I do for my day job.  However, they are an intrinsic part of me, my voice, and my brand.  In fact, my trying to write what I think others want to read has more often led to my not writing anything. I have also been convinced that no one else is interested in the topics I enjoy writing about, but that conviction is belied by the continued amount of interest in the nerdy posts I have allowed myself since I began blogging nearly five years ago.  Therefore, I promised myself that this Round, I will be more genuine, nerdy side and all.  I spent years studying language and literature, so why not show my interests in my blogs?  It is my voice; whether I try to hide it or not, it will come out.  I plan to stop fighting it, to stop worrying about what people will think.  Those who don’t enjoy it, won’t read it.  No harm done.


These ruminations have some practical application to Row80, too. So many times I have heard participants say that they cannot think of what to write for their check-in, or that they cannot possibly write two check-ins a week, because an accountability listing is not very interesting.  I have two suggestions, based on my new decision to let my nerd out of the back room, and on several RoWers who do a good job blending a check-in with their regular blogging.


Include some analysis of why you succeeded, or why you failed to meet a goal.  While it is true that sometimes it is as mundane as “I was too busy,” or “I made myself sit in the chair and write 5 out of 7 days,” there are many times when this analysis unearths a habit to cultivate or choke, or a set of circumstances to institute or avoid. I found out I can write in the middle of chaos, with football games blaring from the next room, but that I cannot write on break at work, for example.


Fold your check-in into a regular post.  You can delineate the check-in with typography from the rest of the post so that a reader can read just the check-in or the whole post. I find that even when I only read the check-in on a first pass, I often go back to read the rest of the post, and enjoy the glimpse into the diverse interests of the group.

Therefore, I encourage you to write about what interests you, and to let your voice ring true through all your writing, both on the blog during Row80 check-ins and in your longer creative writing efforts. A passion for a subject lights up the core of the writing done about it, and is mesmerizingly attractive.


Elizabeth Mitchell

9 thoughts on “Be Who You Are By Elizabeth Mitchell

  1. Perhaps all of us wonder what to write at the twice-a-week check-ins that would be of interest to others. Thank you for these helpful suggestions . . . and I look forward to the next round of geeky posts! Writing seems like diving into the story as deeply as we can. Reporting in for ROW80 turns that analytical side to ourselves, our writing process, and affirmation!

    1. Thanks, Beth. In part, I was inspired by the end of the year WordPress report about what were the most popular posts. The geeky ones were more popular than I expected, so I thought I’d spread the joy to the check-ins.

  2. My goals are diverse enough that there’s not a lot of space for those extras – but I do try to always have at least a paragraph or two about the rest of life. =)

    It was maybe three years ago that I stopped being so shy about sharing my not-so-inner Trekkie on my blog. It took longer to start sharing my fan fiction, which I’d been ashamed of to some degree since I was 13 and my mother ridiculed my new passion.

    But when I finally DID share, two things happened. First, I got a wonderful reader response, and found some other Trekkies who share my passion. No, everyone doesn’t like it, and that’s OK with me, because I’m writing for myself, and those who enjoy that kind of thing.

    Besides, owning and claiming that writing, standing tall while I do it, and giving it the same attention I give to my more profitable projects, has opened up ALL my writing, in a way that I never suspected it could. Turns out that hiding this part of myself in a cabinet kept me from giving myself freely to any of my writing.

    Love this post, and may you find great delight in releasing your inner word nerd!

    1. Great points, Shan, especially the revelation that hiding part of oneself affects the whole.

      As for following my hints, you do have a lot of goals to cover, including life goals. (Ha, auto-correct gave me “clobber” for “cover.” Some goals do take clobbering.) Also, you blog more often, which gives you the place to reveal your passions.

      1. Well, this week, blogging has definitely taken a back seat, as I work on revising a short story for a competition, and Lise had a sleepover with her local bestie, so there was the dropping off and picking up. The contest deadline is Sunday midnight, though, so I hope to be back to blogging by Monday…

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