When I first got involved with social media, I had in mind to maintain two distinct and separate identities: photographer and writer. Somewhere along the way, I realised that this was utter bullshit, because I am not just one or the other, but both. One fulfils the other, and both are integral parts of who I am. At times it does feel as though I have a multiple personality disorder, but over the years I have learned so much about both sides of my persona, and the journey towards finding that unique niche was such a revelation.
Not only was it ridiculously time-consuming to maintain separate Facebook and Instagram pages for my photography and writing on top of the blogs and websites, but I disliked this swinging back and forth like an eternal pendulum. By the time I reached the crossroad of my social media presence, uncertain of how to proceed, I knew that whatever decision I made would require major upheaval and would consequently translate into a loss of followers. After much introspection and sleepless nights, a voice in the dark reminded me that I answer to nobody by my own soul and its needs.
Experiments always come at a price, but a the end of the day the only question I need to answer is this: was it worth it? If the answer is yes, then that is all that matters. The first crossroad was my identity as a literary activist, which I wrote about more extensively in the previous entry.
The second step was to ultimately overhaul my instagram so it reflects this dichotomy, again, keenly aware that I would turn a lot of people off, especially those who didn’t care about the writer/author context. It took several attempts to figure out what exactly I wanted, and as in all social media, the darn hashtags were my downfall, but they are unfortunately essential for visibility and networking.
Up until recently I had only been focused on photography-related hashtags, with a few empowerment ones threw in from time to time. It was Twitter that actually set me on the right path with #writingcommunity. Much to my delight, an entire new world of author and writing hashtags opened up, which made me go voila! my favourite being the less popular #authorandphotographer, but this is definitely going to be a mainstay.
My theme for 2021 is emerging from the shadows, a shameless reference to the upcoming book Sunset Shadows. This is part of a continuing journey both as woman and author, who is coming to terms with a complex self-image. When Marie Balustrade debuted as an author in this bizarre publishing world, I wanted nothing more than to hide under the brim of my hat (see photo above) and remain completely hidden from the public. Over the years I learned the hard way that literary activists are not meant to remain in the shadows, and neither are strong, confident female writers.
When I re-launched my Instagram page with the new concept at the beginning of the year, I also re-introduced a new editorial image of one who has weathered storms and whose rough edges have been polished by experience. The naive and inexperienced author that burst onto the scene in 2016 was all about scars and survival. In 2021 she is all about celebrating the darkness in pursuit of equilibrium to the light.