All this could be yours: being yourself on LinkedIn


I didn’t know how easy it was to post a blog on LinkedIn until early Monday, and I had about 20 minutes to write my first before I had to get the kids up for school.

LinkedIn, through its Kevin Bacon algorithm, reports I have about 1,000,000 potential readers.

I was groggy from the Super Bowl and halfway through my coffee and figured this would be a good Coming Out moment for all the people who knew the old Bill but not the real Bill, it was time.

As with any blog post, I’ll plant hooks and string them together, stop, go back, reread, revise, and keep building. I don’t know how to knit but that’s what it feels like. I probably look like an ant moving things around, from up above.

My post was reeking with realness, wrapped in an imagined LinkedIn voice which is all business, how to make it, but trying to be more than that, trying to be human and resonate, because that’s what gets through, irregardless.

And I read it and realized I didn’t know who the new Bill was yet, really. I wanted this Coming Out to be like see, this is who he really was all along and we just saw a façade, but the truth is, I’d be sharing a draft with 1,000,000 potential job-influencer types. So I saved it and got the kids up and found myself especially cranky. And I doubt I’ll go back to it.

Instead, I went to the library to the reference section and set up shop with the others, in the zen of the library, that protective film from the real world.

And I got a copy of the 2015 Writer’s Market and started reading from the foreword, by a guy who looks like me, bearded, messy hair, sweater. Probably lives in Portland.

I started laughing as my chest swelled and I had to kick myself for taking the easy route my last 15 years or so, by doing what I was good at but not what I liked, which are two very different things.

I went across the street to a bar for a bowl of chili and a beer and watched the rain as Dream Weaver came on overhead, and I had to just soak it up, the thought I could be crossing a street finally, a metaphorical one. I got chills for the first time in a long time — it felt like a Geiger counter going off, a stud finder, a metal detector, we hit something.

When I rewrote my resume the first thing I put at the top was I am a writer, which is the trailhead you need to start from if you’re to get to where you want, or at least enjoy the journey. All other trails just take you farther away.

I touched on this a couple years ago here, too.



Categories: writing

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

17 replies

  1. And so it is written. Let this be your manifesto.
    I don’t know about you, but I feel charged! Now I’m off to clean the bathroom, AKA push the dog hair around. So it goes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I feel charged because you’re charged! I’m going to scurry like an ant from room to room and watch the fireworks of inspiration go off in my head.

      I read the foreword by Dave Eggers to IJ in a B&N yesterday. Does your copy have that? It made me sad I couldn’t write the same for the post I did, which was really just a hang-nail across the surface of it. But then I’m not Dave Eggers. You should read it if you haven’t. I like how he talks about DFW and the book, but it’s sad as it was written in 06 when Dave Foster was still alive. Taking a break from that book has been good this week.

      Enjoy your time with your daughter before she heads off across the pond!


      • I did read it but it feels like forever ago. I should really take a break. I feel like it’s put everything else in a holding pattern — obsessive reading; apt given the context. But I’m really afraid I’ll lose the thread. Did you know there are entire IJ wikis out there, including one I found where someone has mapped all the characters and how they intersect. Madness about madness.


      • I think one day it will be fun to explore those wikis but that’s “one day.” I feel like I’m in an eddy. I was thinking that walking the dog yesterday, the same counterclockwise pattern (with the dog). You say you’re concerned you’ll lose the thread, well…I don’t know. Eggers said it took him a month to read it, the fuck. I’m stuck exactly half-way so the book stays open on its own, like a cut open cat or something. He might like that.

        Yeah, there’s so much else I want to be reading…such light, fun writing, but perhaps this is the Winter of our Discontent, so to speak. And that is another book I’d like to reread. And then there’s Winesburg, Ohio. And this collection by Flannery O’Connor I bought in Portland. OK back to the dog hair, sorry. I’m going to put on some Eno, tinnitus be damned today.


      • And hey if you haven’t already: that Eno tune “The True Wheel” needs to be played loud, with caffeine. It’s so good it inspired a band to name themselves after a line in it, A Certain Ratio…looking for something good up and down the radio, as it were (‘nothing there THIS TIME’). And dude-love for the Modern Lovers, that too. Non-linear ramblings. I’m going to play it back again and again.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah, Linked In. Our new regional HR director strongly encouraged us all to get on board with that, so I did. What fun. I too recently posted a post thingy, then I reconsidered and deleted it. But it won’t delete. Evil.


  3. this is very exciting, bill.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What’s LinkedIn like? I have considered it to join since it was recommended by my college when starting up a Fashion Brand. Your advice would be very helpful.


  5. Well stated, Bill. I have no idea what I do for a living any more but I finally know that I live to write.


  6. I found LinkedIn to be tremendously helpful when I was laid off. Thank, in large part, to LinkedIn, I was never out of work. I had a series of temp and consulting gigs all throughout the recession–the didn’t have benefits or stability–but they kept the mortgage paid. All thanks to my contacts on LinkedIn. Onward through the fog and all that crap.


    • It is great. I have no beef with it, just have to figure out how to reconstruct myself. Shouldn’t take more than a few days. Congrats on getting freshly pressed! That’s huge. It is and it isn’t, of course…like anything, but sure feels good I think. So enjoy. Ross told me the story of how you got Nick Hornby to write a note for him; that’s cool.


  7. Dream Weaver. Brilliant. You’re doing the thing I want to do and maybe one day will do, but I like that you’re doing it now and writing about it. Just brilliant, hooray!


    • Love the new photo! Thanks Low Friend! Yes, it’s true: Dream Weaver. Let’s leave it at that, or we’ll have it hanging on us for hours.

      This morning I set up a new writing area (for ‘serious writing’) in our bedroom…moved a tree to make way for a desk, and in an hour or so it’s just me and the blankness. Can’t wait…yes, let’s stay in touch about this here dream of ours. I believe we can see the morning light, or some-such. Cheers! Have a great week. – Bill


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