When Personas Attack

Now that food bloggers are getting book deals left and right and metablogging (ahem) has become an accepted form of journalism, the process of online writing is a much more public affair than some people had envisioned when they first launched their own sites. Shauna James of Gluten-Free Girl ponders how her blog’s popularity and her book deal have changed the way she writes. (Full disclosure: I wrote the Natural Health article she mentions in the post.)

Her blog is an interesting case, as it has a very specific mandate (developing and sharing gluten-free recipes) but still contains a higher-than-average number of personal anecdotes than most blogs (primarily reflections about her health, her family and friends, and falling in love). To an occasional reader like me, it seems like she’s maintained the same style and blend of subject matter in her years of blogging, but she says her online persona has started to feel stifling:

When I write as the Gluten-Free Girl, there’s a pattern, a comfortable place, like the dent in Archie Bunker’s chair. My words sit there, and those of you reading might recognize them. Hopefully, you recognize something in yourself. But when I write to that pattern, when I write as the Gluten-Free Girl, I lose myself. Whoever that is.

At one point, Shauna also “started to think of this site as a way to market [her] book.” She says she’s cut that out and begun writing for herself again, but plenty of bloggers don’t feel qualms about promoting their books on their sites—and that isn’t necessarily an obtrusive or bad thing, as long as it’s not constant (even the Do’s and Dont’s say so).

If any of your favorite food bloggers now have books, have you noticed changes on their sites, for better or worse? If you have your own blog, how has your writing evolved over time?

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