Could A Blog Ruin Your Dream Life?

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Catherine Hughes

Director of the 8 Women Dream Project at 8 Women Dream
Catherine’s dream is to make 8 Women Dream the premier online publication for women looking to pursue their dreams. She is a published author, a freelance writer, and a guide for those who want their dreams to come true online. Catherine would someday like to be invited to speak at TED about her observations about her 8WD project inviting women to take a chance on their dreams. Wine was required... Catherine posts on Sunday evenings and fills in dream stories as needed. If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

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could a Blog Ruin Your Dream Life

The bottom of my resume lists a small portfolio of my online work with one of them being the 8 Women Dream blog.

I didn’t give much thought to whether listing this project helps (or hurts) my ability to obtain work — or achieve my dreams. I reveal the blog because I’m honest, it’s what I do in my spare time, and I’m proud of being a publisher on the Internet.

Sometimes dreamers are two facades rolled into one person: the diligent worker at their 9 to 5 corporate job, who then rolls out their dream after the kids have gone to bed. Others don’t start their dreams until after the kids have graduated from college, or they’ve decided to retire.

I just happened to start my publishing dream because I fell in love with blogging by writing stories on a laptop upon my bed.

But recently I’ve wondered about disclosing my dream due to the varied reactions from executives at the idea that I publish 8 Women Dream, and openly admit that I currently suffer from writer’s block on my mom blog, A Week In The Life of A Redhead. I’ve received looks like I studied Benkala Sign Language for a trip to Ireland.

I still think corporate America is afraid of Web 2.0 and the very social aspect of our lives online.

Small warnings.

I can still hear the sweet, soft whisper of his heavily accented voice over the phone when he called me from the latest city of his corporate entanglements – always ready to save me from myself . . .

Catherine, don’t tell employers about your life on the Internet.

I’d fall back on my bed with the cell phone pressed tight against my right ear, like some tight egg facial keeping me from making an expression — not wanting to miss one delicious point pouring out of his heavily accented mouth — all the while concealing the fact that his honesty sometimes hurt my feelings.

He was the perfect corporate executive.

I often wanted to ignore his advice, but the fact that he traveled in the kind of technology circles budding 15-year-old programmers only dream of, I understood that his point of view reflected the thoughts of CEO’s who felt that your personal life and business life were one in the same. To him, the Internet was a scary place of permanent embarrassment and possible career ruin.

What life on the Internet?

(Sigh) Catherine, this ‘blog thing’ of yours. How you handle your personal business can reflect badly on your business, business.

Is this 1954?

There’d be silence while he sipped scotch with the phone echoing with the sound of ice cubes bumping — an indication of his stress level — like one who has just laid a newborn down to sleep for the first time. I was (and still am), a single mom supporting the kind of boy that people become enamored with the minute they meet him, thus producing the kind of stranger-maternal-instinct where they think, I hope you’re doing right by him.

Catherine, what if they don’t get you like I do? What if simple writing mistakes cost you a job?

What are you saying? Are you saying you don’t like my writing?

No . . . it’s just that . . . you are writing about being a mom.

Is that a bad thing?

His voice would trail off as if he knew something I didn’t — like there was some secret club of Internet watchers and my website flashed up on their radar one too many times.

We’ll, it’s not like I’m trying to overthrow the Government.

It’s the Internet, Catherine. they might not understand who you really are . . .

The wrong impression.

Our Internet discussions reminded me of the conversations I’d have when working in Mortgage Banking where I’d argue credit issues for borrowers trying to borrow money against an inexperienced, young underwriter telling me her fears about approving the loan. A life-changing decision being contemplated by someone who had no life experience with death, divorce, or terminal illness.

But he’s been behind on his car payment for a year.

Yes, exactly 30 days down while his wife went through chemotherapy and he took time off work to take care of her. Now he wants to refinance to bring everything current.

But I am worried what will happen if she dies.

He just spent a year showing you how he handles everything on his own, while his wife was ill. You don’t get this kind of information on a loan with two healthy people just starting out in life. I’ll take a chance on this husband any day. He’s already shown you what kind of person he is.

The underwriter would look at me the same way Mr. Phone did — like someone who trusted the world just a wee little too much for my own good and didn’t understand their had to be consequences for taking certain kinds of risk.

That was 7 years ago and the Internet has changed since then — the whole world is sharing — but sometimes at night I still hear his gentle voice worrying for me. It’s in these moments I return to a place of second-guessing my dreams. It’s usually followed by a vision of financial ruin where some orthodontist is waiting to pry the braces from my son’s teeth before we’re done.

Is is possible that publicly living your dreams can ruin your life?

Since those heavy-breathing phone days of 2003, we have seen the expeditious rise of self-publishing, social media and female bloggers — some who even make a living at blogging –

Heather Armstrong @ Dooce

dooce blog

Penelope Trunk @ Brazen Careerist

penelope Trunk blog

Ree Drummond @ Pioneer Woman

the pioneer woman Ree Drummond blog

Arianna Huffington @ Huffington Post

arianna huffington of huffington post

Julie Powell @ The Julie/Julie Project chronicled in the movie Julie and Julia

julie powell julie and julia blog

Does corporate American understand the Internet any better than they did in 2003? It took Goldman Sachs $450 million investment in Facebook to get American business owners interested in looking seriously at its business model.

Would Mr. Phone be sipping scotch while warning me to stay off Facebook too?

But honey . . . I have 1200 followers there and growing . . .

Being involved in the self-publishing phenomenon has changed me for the better. I read more books — right now there’s a pile of 22 hardcovers next to my bed. I write every day. I research difficult topics I don’t understand. I spent a year learning Gaelic online. I’ve met people from all over the world. I’m a more interesting person.

I’ve become a seasoned traveler from this small dining room table just off my kitchen. It’s been lovely.

But is it possible that a blog could ruin your dream life?

You know – the life we live off our computers . . . ?


Catherine HughesCatherine’s dream is to be a motivator and published writer. She is testing her theories on motivation with this blog and the seven other women who have volunteered to be a part of her dream project. Catherine also writes about her life as a mom at the blog A Week In The Life Of A Redhead. She would also like to be invited to speak at TED as the next Erma Bombeck. Catherine posts on Sunday evenings and fills in when needed.

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  • Motivational Speaker Kelly Swanson

    Here’s my two cents:

    Don’t blog anything that you wouldn’t want someone to read – potential client, boss, your pastor, etc. if you’re me, that doesn’t stop you from writing what is on your mind and heart. Some people will like it; others won’t.

    Don’t speak negatively about your boss or clients. That could get you fired. And rightly so.

    Don’t hide who you are. Write away. PEOPLE BUY FROM PEOPLE THEY LIKE – people they trust and know. People follow people they like. People respect people like they like. Today knowledge is not power – connection is power. Blogging allows you to put yourself out there to the world. It allows people to get to know. That’s how you network. That’s how you develop fans. That opens the door to providing them services.

    Sometimes I worry that I have a religious blog too and religious videos on youtube – that potential clients may see that and not want me because of my religious persuasion. But I only worry for a minute. Then I decide I don’t care. It’s who I am. Has it lost me business? Probably. Has it gained me business? For sure! But it’s who I am. And it is very freeing being me – even if it’s not popular.

    Hope this helps you in some way. :)

  • Lisa

    @Cath wow I too am impressed by the learning Gaelic online! awesomeness!

    I have had people warn me about this and I can see how it could be useful to be cautious if I’m really serious about a future political career, for example (I have certainly considered going in that direction at some point in my life!). Somehow though I can’t bring myself to totally edit myself or my personality out loud ~ I feel like I am being more authentic by “living out loud” and that if people genuinely believe in me and want to vote for me someday (in the election example) they’ll get over it if there are a few photos of me in sexy dance outfits on the ‘net.

    That is part of the reason why writing, blogging, and life coaching feel like such a good “fit” for me ~ these are career choices that still allow me to “be me,” and in fact, to be celebrated for being a bit “out there” and a free spirit.

    Great post Cath!

    Love ya,

  • I don’t see how having a blog like the ones you have could hurt you!!!! I am totally impressed with all of you and I miss your stories on your other blog. Maybe you need to read a Erma Bombeck book or something to help with your writer block? I think your writing shows that you help people and stay with something a long time. I would totally work with you!!! -M

    • Catherine Hughes, Editor & Chief

      Thank you Mariska for alway supporting us, and yes I have to do something about my writer’s blog on A Week In the Life, but it has been around 7 years and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.


  • Remy Gervais, Top Photographer

    wow, way to put that out there. I love penelope she’s just the kind of blogger i’d like to be. All the way down to marrying the farmer! lol Great post. I had no idea you learned Gaelic on line. xox Rem

    • Catherine Hughes, Editor & Chief

      Is fearr Gaeilge briste, na Bearla cliste (Broken Irish is better than clever English) LOL


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