One of the toughest parts of social media is my intensely private, hermit self coexisting with the need to get my writing, and therefore Author self, “out there.” I must be two people: private me and public me. The duality creates a small schizophrenic problem.
The first hurdle is to realize authors ARE two different people. There’s mother/father/child—and Author. Sunday School teacher/mentor/friend—and Author. Wife/husband/other—and Author. Differentiate them in your mind to clearly position your Author self in the public eye. Separating them early eliminates confusion created by defaulting to too much private individual, and too little Author.
I work in my office, mentally switching hats at my desk. If you allocate a space to your endeavor, one where you are Author only, there’s less chance of the rest of you spilling into your public self.
You might ask, what does she have to hide? She’s making such an effort to keep her personal life out of her work. The answer is nothing. But my world contains people who don’t want a public image and whose privacy I respect; involves daily tasks unrelated to this endeavor; is a haven from writing—one I hope to need when I make the NYTimes bestseller list. (As I’ve said, go big or go home.)
Not only is a physical spot where you are Author beneficial, you need an internet presence as Author as well. Do not mix public and private facebook and twitter pages. Unless you’re writing a cookbook, don’t habitually post recipes on your writing blog. And I reiterate nothing is erased in cyberspace: if you get tooted on your 50th birthday at a girls’ party, don’t post the photo of the Chippendale’s table dance. (Before you ask, no. The elegant dinner with Mr. Wonderful ended with a whopper pair of diamond earrings.)
Do tidbits about your private life humanize you, making you more interesting and engaging? Sure they do! I recently caught a 60-pound salmon in South America, and that monster’s photo on my Author facebook page generated dozens of “likes” from sportsmen. My Christmas biscotti recipe (the only one I’ve posted) generated new blog followers. But I carefully control personal posts so they don’t distract from my social-media mission: to build interest in my writing, land a publishing contract, then become a joyful voice for intelligent, Christian women globally.
I am mother, daughter, wife; friend, mentor, teacher; fly fisher, skeet shooter, gardener. I am Author.