A Quick Reminder About My “Artistic License” Policy (Or: I’m Not Talking About You)

As I already had two e-mails overnight from different friends of mine with kids from yesterday’s post about Savage U I thought this would make a good time to remind people about the “Artistic License” page that covers all posts I make.

It’s a strange thing in my life:  Topics seem to come in waves.  Divorce, publishing, teenagers, jealousy, job issues, whatever… I keep finding myself talking about the same topics to several people.

None of whom know each other.

Person A has a problem with their job.  Person B – in a different industry and city! – has a similar issue.  And so on.

So if you think I’m talking about you… you’re probably wrong.  That and I routinely change personal details unless I ask the person in question.

So I have an artistic license policy, and have for the last four years.

It’s on the bar at the top;  the text of it follows.

Privacy is important to me. Not just my own privacy, but the privacy of others. As a result, some of the details and anecdotes in this blog are, at best, “creative non-fiction”.


  • I will frequently write about things that I’ve talked about in real life here on the blog. Some of those things may have been sparked by a conversation I had with other people, or an action someone else took.
  • I frequently take artistic license when talking about real life, usually to make an example more clear.
  • I frequently obfuscate real-life details, even if I report an event completely accurately.
  • Many – but not all – of my posts are written well in advance of when they appear on the blog.
  • I often try to relate or generalize my experiences from one area of my life to another one.  This happens enough that it’s actually part of my bio on my website.
  • I never violate privacy laws or ethical guidelines around privacy. If it appears that I am, it is a fictionalized account.
  • If I’m reacting to a blog post, tweet, public seminar – anything that’s a broadcast medium – I will usually cite the person I’m talking about if I can and if it’s relevant.
  • If it was prompted by a non-broadcast or limited broadcast medium – a private conversation, e-mail, anything on Facebook, forum post behind a password – then I will usually obfuscate the individual(s) in question.
  • If I didn’t explicitly “out” you as the person I was talking to, there’s one of four reasons (the last two are the most common, by far):
    1. I didn’t want to for my own reasons.
    2. I didn’t ask you about it beforehand.
    3. I wasn’t talking about you
    4. I wasn’t just talking about you.
  • If you choose to “out” yourself, please remember #3 above and realize how you might look silly.
  • If you think I’m talking about you and I misunderstood your point, please remember #3 above and ask me. For example, I could say “a female writer I know who I spoke to about eBooks” and easily refer to fifty people or more.

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