A little over a year ago, I started this blog, kicking it off with a post about my career trajectory and an “About Me” page that revealed a little bit about me, but never actually said who I was. By writing anonymously, I was able to get this blog started without the fear of judgment from anyone else.
Now that I’m more confident in what I’ve created and have plans to continue to grow The Unbillable Life, I’m ready to start writing under my real name (see the new by-line above) and sharing more about me.
For starters, that’s a photo of the real me. As you might recall from an earlier post, instead of sticking it out at my Biglaw firm to try to become a partner, I ended up quitting. During the weekend of partner promotions at my firm, which took place a few months after I had left, I happened to be in the Florida Keys taking an advanced scuba diving certification course. I thought this photo from that weekend was a good representation of my life after the law and a good one to use for my reveal.
Now, on to the reasons why I started out blogging anonymously and why I’m ready to change that.
Why Did I Start Out As an Anonymous Blogger?
Why did I start out as anonymous blogger, anyway? I wanted to share the reasons with you because I think they might resonate with some of you in your own lives.
I wanted to hide.
The main reason for writing anonymously was that I was scared about what other people would think – about my writing, my thoughts, my feelings, the fact that I quit the law – all of that.
I knew that if I wrote anything, I wanted it to be about the real things that I felt when I was in Biglaw. Back then, I didn’t have an outlet to share these thoughts. Instead, I covered up most of those feelings as best as I could, pretending that everything was fine in my career and that I was progressing as I wanted to, which wasn’t the case.
Blogging anonymously allowed me to have an outlet for all of these thoughts, while at the same time didn’t make me feel too vulnerable. I could hide behind the anonymity of it all and I liked that feeling.
I didn’t know in what direction I wanted to take the blog.
I thought about starting a blog for a few months before I went ahead and did it. I wrote a bunch of things, some of which I still have sitting around, waiting to be edited and posted, but didn’t do anything with them.
I didn’t really have a clear idea of what I wanted out of the blog. Who was I even writing for? Was it for those who wanted to quit Biglaw? Those who were still in Biglaw? A little bit of both?
Because I didn’t have a clear vision, I didn’t think I could start. The perfectionist in me was screaming out – “don’t do it unless you can do it right!”
Blogging anonymously was the solution. I didn’t have to be perfect because the blog was really just for me. I gave myself the freedom to just start posting, with nobody to read it and nobody to care if it zigzagged, directionless, all over the place.
Why Did I Decide to Stop Blogging Anonymously?
Blogging anonymously was the best thing I could have done because, without it, I would never have started The Unbillable Life. Maybe it has progressed a little slower than it would have had I been more open since the beginning, but I just didn’t feel comfortable with that a year ago. It was anonymous or nothing.
Now that it’s been a year, I feel ready to reveal myself. Why?
I got used to sharing my thoughts and ideas.
After writing regularly for a year, both on this site and as a freelancer for other sites, I’ve gotten the hang of this whole non-legal writing thing again. I used to love writing as a kid and all throughout school, but I hadn’t done it for fun or for a non-legal topic in a long time. I rediscovered that I really love to write and have found my voice again.
I’ve also gained confidence in my writing, in myself and who I am and what I want. When people ask me what I do, I finally don’t squirm as I mumble an answer. I can confidently say that one of the things that I do is that I’m a writer. Since I’m comfortable saying that I’m writer, I figured it was time to share my writing, which includes this blog!
It also still felt a little bit like I was hiding something whenever I hit “publish” on a new post without using my name. It was as if I was covering up something that I was ashamed of, but I’m not, so why continue to hide?
I felt stuck (again).
It took some time to figure out a writing style, get into the groove and learn about building a website. Once I became more confident in writing and website-building, I felt like I’d hit a plateau. I needed to take the next step, which I felt in my gut I couldn’t do while still writing anonymously.
Feeling stuck was familiar to me. It was the same feeling I sat with for way, way too long when I was deciding whether I should stay or leave my Biglaw job. Luckily, now I know how to recognize that feeling and, since I don’t want to stay in that stuck zone again, I know I need to start pushing myself more. This is the start.
I have ideas for my business that I want to move forward on.
I want to continue writing, on the blog and elsewhere, but there are other things I want to do with The Unbillable Life, too. I’ve found its direction and am ready to move forward with it.
I’m getting ready to put my e-book for junior associates out there. Sure, I could publish anonymously or under a pseudonym, but why? It’s not like it’s a salacious memoir or an embarrassing tale – it’s a guide on how to be a good Biglaw associate, not exactly spicy material.
If I published my book anonymously, how would readers reach out to me? How would they know my credentials or trust my advice? I worked hard during my time in Biglaw to gather the information that I did and I want those who I share it with to trust the source.
Beyond the blog and writing, I have business ideas now. I want to put out courses and take on clients, and the list goes on and on. You can’t run a business anonymously or from behind a computer screen.
I want to connect and collaborate.
There are so many people out there to connect and collaborate with. Readers of the blog, readers of my book and potential clients. A key thing I learned during my time in the law was the importance of building trust with your clients. I can’t build trust if nobody knows how I am, it’s as simple as that.
In addition, there are lots of people in the online world I’ve come across who I admire and want to collaborate with. I certainly can’t do that while I’m hidden away!
Making Myself Proud
Here’s a picture of me as a little kid. I’m on the front lawn at my parents’ house in NJ, on what I think was the first day of first or second grade.
This picture represents the true me. Maybe it’s not the me that I show to the world all of the time, but I’m working on that, and revealing myself here is one step in the process of doing that.
In the spirit of being more open and honest in all aspects of my life, I’ve decided to start channeling her. Instead of caring what other people are thinking or worrying that others are judging me and my writing, I’d rather check in and see what she thinks.
What kind of things would she do with her time? What would she spend her day doing? What kind of clients would she work with? Would she be proud of what I’m doing? She was spunky and even a successful cookie business owner, who definitely approached each day with enthusiasm and wonder. She was unstoppable.
Tell Me a Little About Yourself!
Now it’s your turn! I want to know more about you, too!
Is there anything you are hiding about yourself or what you want to do with your life? Could you take a baby step today and share these thoughts or dreams with someone? Maybe you could at least write it down or say it out loud to yourself?
Is there something you’re not doing because you don’t know what the end result will be? Could you take one step toward that thing and start today, no matter how small? Even if you don’t know the end result you’ll surely never get there if you don’t try.
Reach out – anonymously if you’d like (you can send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org) or in the comment section below – and let everyone know a little bit about yourself!