Over at Writeon Con, Leisa Abrams posted an interesting essay on Online Etiquette that got me thinking.
It seems like every profession has certain standards for how they want members of their ranks to behave online. Why do you think I pretended I lived in Fake Austin and New Denver? Because a lawyer's greatest skills are research and revenge. I had to thwart my colleagues somehow.
And in general, I like to think that I've played it safe here at the crossroads of Lawtopolis and InternetLand, never naming an employer or talking about a client, keeping everything general even when I complain.
But when it comes to my writerpants goals?
Ms. Abrams' post got me thinking.
What kind of things do I write? I just realized I may have never mentioned this. I definitely skew into heavily into young adult territory.*
And when I look at my blog, facebook, and twitter, do I think -- is this appropriate behavior to display before impressionable tweens, teenagers, and their over-protective parents?
Well, for one, I do love "controversial topics." (Though, I'll be honest -- the fact that feminism is controversial in 2011 pretty much makes me want to stab a TV, and you all know how much I love TV.)
And swearing is a pretty important part of my life.
And there are a lot of jokes about binge-drinking while studying for the bar on here. (For the record, those were merely puns based on the word "bar." Oh, I'm so clever.)
But on the plus side, I've never shared overly personal stories about my family, dating life, or health. That's got to count for something, right? Or at least make up for the fact that I've got at least 5 different posts about my underwear?
As I did a mental inventory, my fingers were itching, wanting to go through my archives and delete anything that could be a potential turn-off to agents, editors, buyers, or readers.
And then I got a grip.
I'm not published.
Odds are, I never will be. (It's ok, I'm a big believer in avoiding self-deception.)
So I will continue to curse and generally behave badly online.
Should the day ever come that I luck out in the world of publishing, I will gladly attempt to sanitize my image as best I can, because Ms. Abrams makes some excellent points.
But until that day, this blog helps keep me sane. And if I can't fill it with swears anymore, it's not doing its job.
* Here's the official breakdown, if you want it:
Throughout elementary school, I wrote and drew some pretty terrible picture books.
In junior high, I finished my first full-length project, a young adult fantasy novel.
In high school, there were a lot of short stories, and one massive -- and yet unfinished -- young adult paranormal thriller.
In college, more short stories, one full-length completed chick lit manuscript. Also a bazillion opinion columns and unsigned editorials for my student newspaper.
Law school was a half-dozen started and unfinished projects, some contemporary fiction, some young adult. There were also a lot of papers (shocking, I know, law students write papers), editing two books for G-Money, and the script for one short film.
Post-law school was more short stories, more half-started projects (again, a mix of contemporary fiction and young adult), and the current unnamed project which will be finished, or my brain will rue the day it messed with me.