Robyn DeHart
Robyn DeHart


Robyn DeHart, Writers and Writing

I’ve been a member of this blog for many years now, since our inception. And I’ve shared a lot with y’all. A lot from my writing career and my books itself, but also from my personal life. We’ve talked about a lot, weddings, being homesick, moving, building a house, miscarriages, new sales, lost contracts, it seems you’ve all been here with me through it all. I love that. I love that with the social communities of Facebook and Twitter and blogs, that I can directly communicate with you readers and you can do the same with me.

But how much is too much? Is there a line that you can cross?

I’m of the opinion that there is a line, but perhaps it’s different for all of us. I know that plenty of authors on Facebook or Twitter share their political beliefs. Frankly I think this is a bad idea. I’ve had to “hide” plenty of people during this political season (on both sides) because the nastiness gets to me. I don’t go to Facebook for political stuff, that’s what CNN is for. Or The Professor since that’s what he does. (can I just say how ready I am for this election to be over with?! This is like a superbowl that won’t end!)

So that’s a line for me. I don’t discuss politics on-line. But I have discussed stuff from my own personal life and perhaps other authors feel that is crossing a line.

Then there’s the writing stuff. We all gripe about our writing at some point or another. It can’t be helped. It’s part of our process, we’re inherent whiners. Some more than others. I’ve known some writers to go so far as to put up posts that detail why they can’t get the next book out for whatever reason and I’ve wondered, does that cross a line? Does it ruin it for readers to know that writing is a struggle for some of us? To know that the process isn’t magical or fun all the time? (do you think Jane Austen griped about her writing process?)

How about you? Have you had to hide or unfriend people because they’ve crossed a line? Do you think that authors can share too much of their personal lives? How about the writing stuff? Do we over-share?

17 thoughts on “Where’s the line?

  1. Robyn–Like you I’m so ready for the election to be over and I’m living in the UK so I’m not being inundated with political ads! But there have been a few “friends” on Facebook that I did hide just until Election Day. I’m so glad they are passionate about the political process but all of that is just not for me. Plus it usually comes off like if you’re not stupid you’ll agree with me.

  2. MJ says:

    One of my favorite authors is driving me batty on Twitter, so I unfollowed her. And I’ve hidden some friends from real life online because of the vitriol they post.

  3. Shana Shana says:

    I think it’s actually a good thing that people are so passionate about politics. So many people are just apathetic. That said, if you’re an author and your friends are on Facebook because they like your books, it’s not really appropriate to spout political rhetoric. I’ve also wondered if complaining about the writing process turns readers off. I try not to do it much and most of the time my main complaint is I need more time to work. Interesting post. I’d love to hear what readers have to say.

    Oh, and no. I do not think Jane Austen complained. She was lucky to be able to write at all.

  4. I’m with you, Robyn. There are things I won’t share publicly because that’s not why people are interested in me. Plus, I’m from New England. It’s not polite to bring up politics, religion or money. Or baseball when the Red Sox are in the toilet. 😉

  5. Sandi in OH says:

    We are so tired of political ads that we mute them. TV stations must be getting very rich. Just think of how many people could be helped with the money spent on ads. We spent three weeks in Myrtle Beach and didn’t see nearly as many ads. I won’t discuss politics with anyone, even my husband. We always cancel out each others vote anyway. I don’t mind the whining about writing. I’m incline to think that the publishers are a problem, not the writer.

  6. i agrede, Robyn – there’s a line, and you just have to feel your way. I guess I have unfriended a few people who are just too nasty with their politics, or authors who inundate with “ads” about their new books. Constantly. Sure – tell me about the book when it comes out, and maybe give me a reminder every now and then. But I don’t want it rammed down my throat.

  7. Connie Fischer says:

    I’m very adamant about my choice for President. I’ve gotten sick of the ugliness but I cannot say I am totally innocent of standing up for my candidate. Will vote early next week and then put plugs in my ears and “filtered” glasses on until after November 6. I just hope that everyone will vote. You have no excuses to gripe if you don’t do so!

    You can never over-share the writing “stuff.” I think it’s great for authors to let their readers know that it’s not always a piece of cake to write a novel. Of course, there has to be all kinds of things during the process that cause you to want to beat your head against the wall. However, please remember that we need you AND your unscrambled brain so don’t do that. Three cheers for all you do to provide pleasure for your readers!

    OK. Off my soapbox! Have a good day!

  8. Lorelei says:

    As a reader I’d like to say I agree with you Robyn. I visit blogs and Facebook to avoid stressful events and seek for fun and entertaining information.

    I LOVE learning about the writing process and it makes me actually connect with the books authors write, how characters are born, when there’s a dilemma, etc. If writing a great story would be so easy, heck, even I could do it, but in reality, it’s more than just stringing words together, there’s a whole lot of elements that need to be present to make “it” special. Not everyone has that talent, that’s why I’m so happy you ladies get to do it!
    As for sharing some of your personal stories, I think that’s a good thing, too. Makes readers get to know you, and that you’re all women that share experiences just like us, ups and downs, but I’d really think hard about the down ones, just make sure you it won’t affect you negatively. You create a special bond with readers, which I must say it just tickles me that many of you reply to us, makes us feel special. You’re all approachable celebrities to me!

  9. CateS says:

    Well, lets just say that if voting early would stop the ads on my tv… I’d stand in line like I was buying rockstar concert tickets..

  10. eap says:

    Other than enourage every to vote or explain how to get an absentee ballot (I’ve printed so many absentee ballot request forms for friends from the internet lately) I won’t discuss politics at all with anyone.

    I’m so glad I’m not on facebook and I just don’t read author blogs if I believe they are too personal on that day .

    I do encourage friends to get a flu shot and support the public library/or clean out their clutter for the charity of their choice too.

  11. I agree with you that discussing politics is a line I don’t want to cross. I don’t think it helps any author to risk alienating half their audience! I do have strong political opinions, but time and time again I stop myself before posting them. I want to provide entertainment for my readers, so that’s what I concentrate on whenever I’m on social network sites.

  12. catslady says:

    I use to be able to agree to disagree about everything. I can’t do it any more which is sad. I’ve heard so many lies and nasty comments. I must admit I do post about politics because I think the outcome is so important but then I’m not trying to sell anything. I have unfriended one author but only because she was making nasty personal comments and not talking subject matter. What got me the most was she is an inspiration author – go figure.

  13. catslady says:

    That should have been “inspirational” author.

  14. RobynDeHart RobynDeHart says:

    Kristan, that’s exactly how I feel. People have friended me on FB hopefully b/c they’re interested in my books or writing in general. They don’t care about my political opinions. I have them, strong ones, but I just don’t feel that’s the right platform.

    I’m happy to hear some readers enjoy hearing about our writing processes even if we do whine sometimes.

  15. Gayle C says:

    The political propaganda is crazy from both sides. I have had an un-follow party on Twitter every debate night. Some people can state a opinion without belligerence, but I am talking about the ones that are just mean. They don’t want to have a conversation, they want to rant.

    Facebook is easier because you can just check the box that takes them out of your news feed temporarily.

  16. I’m with you, Robyn. While I believe everyone is entitled to his or her opinion – political or otherwise – I think it crosses a line when people get too adamant over social media. I’ve hidden several “friends” so that I don’t have to read their political rants (or be driven to the point of unfriending them). One that really left me shaking my head was when a woman I know started out asking people to not bash her favored political party. Then (in the same post) she proceeded to go on a tirade mocking and belittling posts supporting the other side. Unbelievable!

  17. Mozette says:

    I find a lot of people over-share online. I have a cousin who over-shared by using a lot of cursing and swearing; and this can really grate on people. Then, in March this year, I broke a toe (one of the smaller ones) on my left foot. And it wasn’t just any part of the 3 bones, it was the knuckle; so no matter how I moved it, the bloody thing hurt like hell! But as with anything, it’s always 1 step forward, 2 steps back… so, what I did was I once in a while, updated my status on Facebook.
    One day, I said I pushed myself too hard and was back at square one again… that my foot had swollen up again… darn. Well, this hot-headed, cursing cousin of mine went off at me saying her foot was broken and she had to walk on it through a 14 hour shift (and this was with the eff word in between everything she had written) and she told me to ‘suck it up’… I deleted her comment and unfriended her immediately. She had not only insulted me, but forgotten that I also live alone and don’t have anyone to help me with things (and I don’t expect any help). She still doesn’t understand why I have unfriended her; but her family does and they have told her to think about what she said to me… she doesn’t think what she said was harsh. However, it’s just how things have been for her.

    And unfortunately, a lot of young people are like this towards everyone they know face to face and on the internet.

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