Every so often, I talk about how my writing life needs to remain separate from my professional/personal life. It’s not that I don’t want readers to know more about me. Quite the opposite. It’s that, well, for one thing, Big Brother in the workplace is kind of a thing these days. The particular Big Brother corporation I work with is a benevolent yet capricious and sometimes draconian organization, and I cannot be confident that the company would recognize the separation between work and writing.
Along those same lines, I’m not quite ready to share the writing work with all of my friends, family members, coworkers, and patients. The topics/scenes I delve into are quite dark and can be painful and graphic. Readers seem to dig it, and it’s cathartic for me to write this way. And frankly, I don’t know how to water stuff down. As one reviewer wrote, “(Jillian) sure knows how to write torture scenes.” And I’m proud of that fact that the words can make someone feel everything that’s happening to the characters.
photo courtesy of HauntedBoy via Flickr
But that much dark, graphic horror and hot sex (not at the same time, don’t worry!) might not fit well with what folks expect from their physician, especially given that I deal with some very sensitive areas of medicine. The content of what I write could make patients uncomfortable, especially if they had no idea of the context of the scenes. Also, I cuss a hell of a lot more with the writing gig. And then there’s a chance that Big Brother would stick its nose into my writing work and might disrupt either the writing job or the day job as a result. (I’ve heard some horror stories from colleagues, so yes, the possibility exists.) If I’m going to get outed, I’d like to be in a better position to professionally adjust.
Now, let’s take all of those arguments and balance them against the numerous writing workshops, conferences and seminars that hammer this one point home: Authors should get on Facebook (as well as other social media, of course). So for 3 years, I’ve put off doing Facebook. Why? Because, see here’s the kicker -- you have to have a personal (real human) account first, then create the author page from that. How come? Because Facebook doesn’t like fictional person accounts. Or something like that. There could be more to it. I’m no expert. As we’ll soon see….
So finally, after massive amounts of angst, terror, and a few potentially monumental mistakes, I did the deed. The @authorjilliandavid page on Facebook is indeed live!
In the interest of self-deprecation and entertainment, would you like to see how many ways it can go wrong? Let's put them in a tidy list, shall we?
#1) Start with a heaping helping of latent paranoia. That’s a hearty base for us to create this recipe of insanity.
#2) Decide at 10pm on a night when you’re on call to finally set up the Facebook page. Sure. Nothing could go wrong with that, right? You’ll be super sharp and on your A-game.
#3) Reject any profile pictures that have your face on them. Just in case you get mis-tagged by picture bots. Or whatever they use to tag pictures. Because, really, you don’t understand any of this stuff.
#4) Google no less than ten websites with the query “Will a Facebook page be visible for people who can see my Facebook account?” Make sure you use every possible permutation of this question, in case a different answer exists somewhere in the corners of the interwebs.
#5) Forget to put on deodorant. Later, after a particularly bad episode of flop-sweat, realize that you really should have applied deo this evening.
#6) Keep “personal Jill” page open in a tab right next to “Jillian author page”. Nothing could go wrong with that idea, right? Oh my gosh, I’m like a monkey doing a math problem at this point.
#7) Almost don’t see the little thingy on the bottom left corner of each post that lets you post as “personal Jill” or as “Jillian author page”. Almost post as “personal Jill” on a “Jillian author page” post. Yeah.
#8) Surf right on over to a book signing event page and promptly click that “personal Jill” is coming to the signing. Panic. That’s so totally wrong, and now that info is flowing all over your personal Facebook page. Imagine friends and family clicking through and then connecting the dots. Backpedal. Mess it up twice more. Give up. Panic. Try again. Finally figure out how to “like the page as your page”. Oh my dear lordie.
#9) Fill out the “About” tab with author info. ON THE WRONG PAGE. Quickly delete and refresh. Shit on shit, people.
#10) And, for the coup de gráce, wipe the sleep from your eyes and accidently LIKE YOUR AUTHOR PAGE WITH YOUR PERSONAL JILL PAGE. Holy mother of God.
In conclusion, I am thankful for the one personal Facebook friend who knows about the writing gig. She was kind enough to accept a panicked Facebook message (thankfully I managed to do this privately) and went to check out both pages to make sure there weren’t traces of my other half on either. Until the next screw up, so far so good.
P.S.: For the, like, 3 people out there who know my Clark Kent identity or those who figure it out, please keep it to yourselves. I’m not ready to be outed just yet. Bless you.
(That gal there, she's "Super Writer". I only hope to be as cool as that author....
Author, daydreamer, and practitioner of trying very hard to duct tape folks together and help when I can.
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