You Don't Have to be Accessible All the Time

            Once upon a time I made a new writer friend. He needed an editor and I had a friend who might have liked to help him. Writer Friend gave me his email address and I said “May I share your contact information with my editing friend?”
            “Of course!”
            “Okay. Great! I just always like to make that verbal confirmation. I am super touchy about other people sharing my contact information.”
            “Oh I don’t mind having mine shared at all! That’s just my writer mentality. Anyone and everyone can contact me.”

            I looked at him like he was crazy. I couldn’t help myself. You do not have to be accessible all of the time. And I actually had to have a good friend tell me that before I believed it.

            Having a relationship with your fans is great! Absolutely do it! But as with every healthy relationship, you need to have boundaries. For instance, anyone and everyone can message me on my War and Chess Facebook page. Anyone and everyone can “like” that page. Anyone and everyone can interact with me and other people who like my writing on that page. It’s when they send my personal page a friend request that I have to say “no”. And believe me, I’ve had to have that heart breaking conversation with a new friend I’ve been chatting with every night for a month on the War and Chess inbox, that “No, I’m not comfortable with adding you as a friend on Facebook yet. Yes, we are still friends.” Because really, the things I post on my personal Facebook page are for my distant relations to keep up with me.

            It’s going to come off as a complaint but someone needs to tell you sooner in your career than later in your career. When you’re an entertainer (you write. You are!) people feel entitled to information about you. There are some people who you tell them “I would accept your friend request but I keep this account for my family.” They say “Great! I would love to meet your family!” and you’re left like “Bro, my boyfriend hasn’t even met my family!” For instance, I had a pair of young boys on Twitter try to harass me into telling them my real name “Helen M. Pugsley is too elegant! It’s obviously a pen name! Tell us your real name!” Back then I had a lot more patience, so after an hour of back and forth I finally blocked them both. One of them made a new account, apologized to me, and then asked again “But seriously, what is your real name?”

            Really and truly, I’m telling you, you do not have to be accessible to everyone at all times of the day. Bottom line. You’re absolutely allowed to say “No.”, mean it, and most importantly stick with it. In next month’s blog we’ll talk about how accessible you should be. You need to establish boundaries but you don’t have to be J.D. Salinger. (Salinger is the author of Catcher in the Rye. He was an extremely private man. In his career as an author he did a maximum of three interviews and lived in a cabin, in the woods, high up on a mountain.) Keep your private stuff private and keep your public stuff public!

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Do you have a burning question for Helen? Feel free to email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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