What are my standards?

Recently in the chronic business club (presently free to join) I shared that I was thinking of doing all future book publishing under a pen name. This was less about niches and genres and all those “usual” reasons and more about protecting my ability to communicate. I do very little synchronous conversing these days. It’s cognitively hard work. This means that social media is one of the main ways I communicate these days.


What if I published a book that took off and then my social media was less personal and more fan-based? Both the positive and negative parts of fan bases would be hard for me to manage.


A pen name would protect my ability to communicate. I don’t want to not take that seriously.


I really don’t know if I want the workload of managing seperate website, socials etc. And then maybe doubly or tripley seperate, because I don’t write fiction in just one genre, so if I have one pen name, I may as well have a pen name for each genre, right?


This splitting up approach tends to go against my old goals (are they old? are they still my goals?) on this website. I used to try and split things up and then people would tell me they never knew where to follow me. And I despise niches in general so I always said that Normal Ness is my internet home and I’ll bloody well do what I like with it. Which means it mostly feels right to me to keep this as that exact thing, my internet home, and publish whatever the hell I feel like. Yes, Normal Systems stays seperate these days and that feels right to me.


But how does that “keep everything on here” approach protect my ability to communicate?


I literally don’t have an answer to that right now.


A little way above, when I said “what if a book takes off?”. That also seems a bit … not me. After all, the one thing I learned in the “peak” blogging years (side note: how many times has blogging died now?) is that the post I spew out in thirty seconds gets positive traction and the post I put a shit-tonne of effort into gets ignored.


We can’t predict what takes off.


So why don’t I take that protective approach with all the things I create? I used to post my time lapses on Instagram Stories, but I started putting them on YouTube instead (I prefer owned media and yes while YouTube is borrowed media, it has more longevity and therefore feels more “owned” than Instagram Stories). What if the time lapses took off? My social media wouldn’t be set up to protect my ability to communicate if YouTube suddenly went massive. I have a completely weird side project I’d like to start (so far only my husband knows of it) and would I do that under this name or a brand name?


Which all brings me to the intersection of what I’ve talked about so far and the title of this post. What are my standards? It’s about what suits me. What I want to try. What my standards are. What if a thing I think is a bit shitty takes off? Do I want to be known for it? Would I rather reap the benefits privately, facelessly? Though it’s less about outright anonymity (very hard to do online) and more about directing excess communication to another space.


I also have a massive fear that I’m no good at creativity anymore. What are my standards? What do I publish? Stuff that’s just ok? 


That the effects of getting permanently sicker post my covid infection two years ago means that my brain is a bit shittier and I assume I can’t do good fiction, and the entire load of internalised ableism that I have around what is intelligence and all that. What are my standards? (I wrote a little about that topic in this post under the subheading ticky box.)


What if I’m really shit at things now and can never get better? I could not only protect my ability to communicate but also protect myself from being seen as “that shitty author”. Yes, lots of these feelings are things that other creatives probably have as well. But there’s this layer of not trusting my brain and it’s some shitty ableism that I don’t know how to deal with.


A few things I said on twitter recently:

I feel lost in my identity recently. What I can actually do safely, how I can contribute, what will keep a roof over my head best. No answers really. Just muddling through and hoping it’ll come to me.

I was thinking about expanding this (the above lines) into a blog post but all my thoughts felt ridiculous.


I can only do what I can do. And I can’t do much of anything well anymore. But does it matter? Maybe sharing whatever I create is the way forward. I don’t have anyone I can look up to who reflects my life, so while it would be comforting and validating to have someone I can look to, it feels like I need to stop assuming there is someone for me to look to. I don’t have enough spoons (and sometimes I think enough niceness) to be a role model, so while you could assume not having someone to look to and then maybe just doing it anyway means I could want to become that but I definitely don’t. 


And that’s where my brain is at with all that.

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