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Sunday Inspiration: Going Incognito

Sunday Inspiration at Mustard Seed Sentinel
Credit: Sharon McCutcheon in

Going Incognito

Embracing the Changes in My Writing Career

by J.M. Troppello

If you’ve been reading my columns, you may have noticed a recent difference in my bio photo and byline. I’ve started using the initials for my first and middle name instead of just my first name, Joanne. In case you’re wondering, my middle name is Marie.

Now, I know this may sound counterintuitive to some people—especially since I’ve already published three novels using my first and last name, and that has been my professional name across all articles and social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn etc for many years now.

However, I felt like God was leading me to make this change. “Operation Author Undercover” is almost complete. I still have to change my username from @JoanneTroppello to @jmtroppello on a few more social media platforms and on the magazine YouTube channel.

The Reason for the Change

I’ve had to deal with trolls on Twitter and Facebook in the past. I usually don’t respond, then I block them. However, recently I’ve had some trolls trolling my articles on the Mustard Seed Sentinel publication on

They were rude comments from atheists. I counted to ten. Then I remembered that my articles were posted on a site where many of the readers are not looking for Christian-based content. I didn’t respond (even though I really wanted to). Then I blocked them.

That night, I took some selfies, which resulted in the selfie you see in my bio section. I had seen a photo online of an author who’d done something similar, and I thought it was a cool idea. That snowballed into the inclination to start using my initials and not my first name with my published work.

I’ve received good feedback from people on my photo. I’m happy with it and that’s all that really matters.

Now, some people may respond that I’m hiding from the world. Maybe I am. Yet, maybe I just need to feel as if I have a barrier of protection around me if I want to continue to write—especially as I’m writing more truthful and vulnerable content.

The magazine has had increased traffic. Now that I’m writing on, Vocal.Media, and Newsbreak as well, I know I’ll be exposed to a significantly higher amount of traffic than my magazine due to their high domain authorities.

So, I’m sticking with the name change and will not be posting photos of myself right now online either. I even deleted several photos of myself from Instagram. I’m keeping photos of myself up on Facebook since my profile there is listed as private. Yes, I know I can’t erase all the photos that have been posted or published online throughout my 18-year career as a freelance content writer.

However, I can have a new beginning now.

I know this new chapter in my professional writing career will soon be at the tipping point toward greater success. All I can do in the meantime is to follow God’s leading, grow as a writer, and embrace all the life lessons that are coming my way.


I don’t know where you are in your life journey. I hope that wherever you are at, that you take a moment to stop and think—and embrace the personal life lessons that God is working out in your life right now. God bless!


About the Author

J M Troppello at Mustard Seed Sentinel

J.M. Troppello is an author, writer, and poet. She is the publisher of the online Christian lifestyle magazine, Mustard Seed Sentinel.

Connect with the author on Twitter. You can find her on these social media channels—Twitter, Facebook, Parler, Spreely, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Clouthub. Visit the Mustard Seed Sentinel YouTube Channel. Visit MSS Live Well Corner and our Ko-Fi MSS Community.

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