Monday Classroom: Persona Vs Personality

There are things authors do not show you. Things that you’d never know by reading our posts or attending a reading, or skyping with us (I do Skype with bookclubs and love it, y’all!), things that you’d only know if you sat beside us and asked how we really felt (and we would be honest), or see our face pinched with doubt/anxiety/fear–and yes, also unbridled joy/excitement/hope.

Besties Angie and Alaine

My Baton Rouge friends and I one day talked a lot about personas—poet’s persona, artist’s persona, editor’s persona, actors/writers/singer’s persona and how it affects/effects our work/lives. You don’t have to be in the arts to have a persona. Get up, have coffee, dress, go to work—there is your Office Persona, or Stylist Persona, Cop Persona, Waiter Persona, Dog Groomer Persona—there are parts of yourself you must keep hidden while at your job. If my job is to greet people at the door with a smile, it doesn’t matter if I feel horrid or sad or mad: my job is to greet with a smile and that’s what I’ll do, but when I go home, I can let the smile slip if I so chose . . . or maybe smiling “in a fake way” created a Real Smile—lovely!

Why I am often reclusive - my view

So do I have a Writer’s Persona? Well yes and no. What you read/see here is truly who I am, for I don’t want to come across as anything other than who I am. I am not some “author who sits up on a high pedestal” or whatever, and most authors I know or am in contact with do not either. I believe for the most part those days are gone for most all of us authors. We must learn to pull ourselves out of our comfynessessess and that’s that and that’s that! The good news, at least for ye olde me, is I can do this and still remain fairly reclusive in my mountain cove—haw! Yeah! Whoop whoop!

What we authors don’t often show are the doubts and the every day pressures and strains that those who haven’t yet published may not be aware of–I know how naive I was (granted, I do not complain about being published, lawd no!, for I’m filled with gratitude!). We do not like showing weaknesses when we may be feeling tired and in pain or envy or bunkity-dunk-funk-grunk and then five minutes later we’re all “Life is beautiful! Life is grand! I am the luckiest author alive!” Yeah. Welcome to the world of chaos! Hot damn! I know I want be a Light, not a negative. I want to inspire. To make people smile or feel happy or even to think, “She did it, so I can to!” I think most authors want to project that image and reality. Or image to reality if need be.

When I first moved to this cove, it both amused and delighted me (I admit it) that people would talk about “that writer up there in the cove on the mountain” – I felt a mystery, an enigma (maybe I still am – oh! I hope so, teeheehee). But, I never tried to hide who I was; it is only that my reclusive side, my private side, is much stronger than my social side—and guess what? That simply won’t do once you publish a book, for you must Get Out There, and you must Talk About Your Book, and Yourself. You must . . .  *gasp* sometimes BRAG —and that my beautiful friends is difficult for many of us, especially women who are raised not to be competitive and show-offy. Huhn.

Posts where we authors Globiferate: “Oh! I feel so popular!” “Oh, go here and see my interview/review/guest blog/etc.” “Oh look what so and so said about my book, and about me!” “Me me me me me Pay Attention to ME! PLEASE LOVE ME” . . . well, mixed up in that is the hope that we won’t disappoint the people who buy our books, or host us on their blogs, or have us at their book club/event, or or or or a thousand times OR!  “What if no one attends?” “What if no one makes a comment?” “What if everyone ignores my books/me?” Oh Dear.

And y’allses, mixed up even further in that gumbo/soup/quagmire of hell is, “I bet people are so danged sick of authors talking about their shit.” Ungh. We’re sorry—we truly are! But we’re told to; we have to; we must; it’s part of the job; if we don’t, then no one will read us/publish us/want us, and we must be loved loved and read read read! Dangity! *Oh Heavy Woeful Sighing Sobbing sobs!*

It’s against many of our Personalities to toot our horn; however, it is a requirement of our Persona that we do this.

Help! I've fallen and I can't get up!

Persona never shows weakness—ever. Persona must always be ON, must be damned near perfect. Right? Riiiiigggghhht.

Welp, guess I am a fallible human being who is surprised at how much she wants your approval, how much she wants you to like her, how much she wants you to follow along with her on her journey—oh yes, she does. My Persona sometimes gets on my nerves, but really, so does my Personality. This morning they are both at war for my attention, for your attention.

And now, you have seen under my skin, just a little bit, as I sit here this morning, drinking my coffee, ignoring the discomfort, pulling out my Persona while my Personality deals with the yuck stuff.

Do you have a Persona that sometimes defies your Personality?

(This post was taken/re-written from a blog post I wrote a couple years ago on my blogspot blog. Sorry to repeat, but I am in the midst of Galley Proofs of FAMILY GRACES, and hope to finish that before the Fairhope Conference!)

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16 thoughts on “Monday Classroom: Persona Vs Personality

  1. You are always so honest and that’s why I’m drawn to your posts. I hate hate the thought of having to brag about my work but I know it’s what authors need to do to promote these days. I think you do your promoting well and so much better than others I’ve seen:) Love your view!

  2. I love ya, Kat. :-) Oh, you always hit the nail on the head. I want the world to hear my voice, but I want to hide because of the fear. I can’t have it both ways so I just have to get over myself! Yes, I sometimes think of my “persona” and what it will be. I’m sure it will evolve. I’m not good at putting on fronts so I’m sure it will be “me”. Oh, and I don’t think of you so much as the writer in the mountain cove, you’re the crazy lady in the mountain cove who writes. lol. (Every time I’m out looking for arrowheads and fossils I’m wondering what you’ve found on your walks too.) Muwah back atcha!

  3. You’re absolutely right about persona vs personality. It’s particularly difficult when they oppose each other. What a lucky person you are to have such a view. I look out my window, only to look into the window of my neighbour on the other side of our mutual drive. I’ve seen authors who do nothing but push their books, and push them, and push some more. I stop buying them when they start filling my inbox. Good luck with your proofs!

    • I do the same thing, Joan – if someone pushes me –and that’s anything in life — I’m going to start backing away!

      I am so very fortunate to live where I live – if didn’t have another book published, I could at least “set” on the porch and look at that view! :-D

  4. Hi Kat .. I can hear you and understand – it’s a funny old world isn’t it .. we have to get our work out there and acknowledged .. so keep on going.

    You mentioned a while ago that 90,000 words was a good book length +/- .. I was talking to a guy today who’s doing the local arts experience in town – art, craft, writers et al .. and I was asking how his book is going (it’s an anthology with friends) .. and how was he publishing etc .. without giving the game away … and calmly announced that I’d written posts amounting to four of those books – the guy fell backwards in disbelief.

    It’s funny how we keep our lights under a bushell – I’ll get out when I’m ready .. but from the talk around the blogosphere realise that need …

    Good luck and your book and your promotion .. I look forward to reading them, when I’ve got my cove … cheers Hilary

  5. Yeah…..me too! Almost everything you wrote could describe me too and the need to brag in particular. I keep thinking I need to do a video and get it on YouTube…..but again….should it be me talking….a pretty 20’s something? So many choices nowadays to get your product before the public but when you are not accustomed to having to promote yourself it is kinda scary but also necessary!

    Thanks for once again sharing the REAL you….well done.

  6. Oh my goodness yes! My persona and my personality are like night and day. I’m working on not letting the personality peek through my public persona quite so much. In other words, I’m on track to become the Meryl Streep of the writing world, which rather excites me. And that will be even better, if my personality gets jealous and imitates my persona. :-)

    I’m glad you repeated this post.

  7. I LOVE this! I definitely have my personas and I work hard on them. I don’t find it hard to “toot my horn” online but in person…um, not that good at it. However, I have my work persona which is like you said, smiling and stuff, cuz that’s my job and I really do love my job (bank teller).
    But there’s also the quiet me who could stay home all day by herself and be very happy. And there’s cyber me which is a lot like work me. lol
    The mom me is kind of scary. Only my kids get to see her.

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