This blog is a well-kept secret. In fact, such is the seriousness with which I take this anonymity, just one person in my life knows of its existence.
This was a conscious choice. As I set out blogging, I wanted a creative outlet that wouldn’t be under the microscope of my personal connections. Given a central theme of this blog is personal finance and corporate escapism, I’ve protected this anonymity with special importance.
But sometimes this decision makes blogging harder. It’s tougher, for example, to get initial impetus behind the blog. There are no ‘free readers’ – no family and friends ready and waiting to support my creative endeavours because of some personal stake. It can feel like hard yards.
As I’ve considered this issue during my first six months of blogging, I’ve encountered a range of different perspectives in the blogging community. The truth is there are significant advantages and disadvantages to blogging anonymously, and these need to be traded off carefully with personal circumstances.
This article is my take. It addresses the biggest issues that led me to my decision to blog anonymously, but also considers the action I may be missing out on.
The Advantages of Anonymous Blogging
#1: Career Preservation
A big part of this blog is about my pursuit of financial independence. That is, my endeavour to accumulate enough wealth to have the option to leave behind my corporate job. And this means anonymity matters.
But this next point is important. I don’t hate my job; I hate that I don’t feel I have a choice. My worry is this would be interpreted differently, should my identity get associated with this blog by an employer.
Talking about financial independence reeks of wanting out, be it the case or not. And this interpretation would potentially come with consequences. It could be career-limiting. After all, what’s the point in giving a person who imminently wants out a promotion? What’s the point in investing more in someone who is planning to ‘retire’ much earlier than normal?
It’s undeniably possible I’m overegging the risk, but it’s not one I’m willing to take. Career progression and salary gains are a crucial part of my financial independence plans, and I cannot afford to put that at risk.
#2: Faceless Financials
Despite my anonymity, I don’t talk about my personal finances in absolute terms. Instead, I occasionally write about them in percentage terms. That gives readers some idea of my financial situation, without necessarily revealing a complete picture of wealth. Just know this: I’m a regular person, on a relatively normal income, now making smarter financial choices to secure my freedom.
But money stirs up emotions – that, unfortunately, is a fact of life. And even percentages can stir up differing emotional sentiments once linked to a face. Keeping financial talk faceless to some extent disconnects us from this emotional response. Instead, I can stick to straightforward rational analysis, without the personal attachment and all that comes with it.
Then there’s a question of the freedom this gives me. I simply don’t want this blog to become overly personal. I’m not blogging to brag or whine about my personal finances, and I love the freedom that comes with talking about money without this attachment.
#3: No Pressure
This is a flexible creative project. There’s no pressure to deliver. My anonymity provides a creative comfort that non-anonymous blogging can’t.
I don’t have to blog every week on a Sunday at 5pm. Sometimes I’ll be crammed with ideas and sometimes I won’t. I can deliver content based on my own schedule and my own level of interest, without pressure from personal connections to deliver.
Why does this matter? Because I don’t want this blog to become a methodical, blog-for-the-sake-of-blogging blog. It’s an outlet to research, learn, and write – to see how it goes.
#4: Future Flexibility
It’s not all about me. Blogging anonymously at this point gives me more freedom to develop this blog flexibly. That means I can take it in a less personal direction or I can redouble my efforts to talk about my personal finance story. While anonymous, I’m freer to do what I want with this blog.
And what’s important to me is that readers aren’t visiting just to read about my net worth. I want my research, writing and interesting content to be the real draw. Anonymity, to some extent, keeps the creative shackles off, and allows me follow the blog’s natural evolution.
The Disadvantages of Anonymous Blogging
For these reasons I’m fully signed up to blogging anonymously for now. But sometimes I feel like it would be a lot easier to blog as me.
If I spread the word to friends and family, I’d get a huge initial traffic boost. I could invite friends, family and colleagues to read it. I could associate my identity with the blog via other channels, adding my website to my personal footprint. And I could talk more transparently about my ideas on how to manage our money and mindsets.
Blogging as me might also help me to better connect with readers. While faceless financials provide a form of personal insurance, they perhaps don’t have the empathetic effect of an identifiable personal story.
And similarly, while anonymity reduces the pressure to deliver a particular type of content, it also reduces my accountability. I want to sustain and grow this blog. And perhaps the absence of pressure to deliver this content for personal connections is actually a bad thing. Perhaps it doesn’t give me as much impetus to grow this creative project.
Then there is the question of losing anonymity by accident. Other anonymous bloggers have told me that sooner or later, the truth comes out. Is it not better that I avoid this happening by accident?
Staying Faceless, For Now
These are drawbacks and risks I’m willing to take. I believe they are more than counterbalanced by the creative freedom that anonymity gives me, for now at least.
Of course, many people view this differently. People have different levels of comfort with the idea of open, public creative expression. But for now, I’m with the faceless writers. For later, you never know.