Naming the Writer

One of the aspects of being a writer, that I am currently working on, is that of creating a pseudonym that I will be comfortable with.  I’m not a fan of the idea of publishing work in my own name.  I write this blog in my real name and that is okay but, at the moment, I feel uncomfortable about putting my name to anything I publish for sale.  That feels too in the spotlight, for me.

I wonder how other writers feel about the subject of writing under a pseudonym?  For me, there is something very uncomfortable about creating a written work and then seeking to develop a name for myself from doing so.  I want the reader to find the work, to enjoy the experience they have from reading the work and then to relate solely to the work without any knowledge or thought of anything about me.

Likewise, I wonder whether a critic can be truly objective if they are also considering the writer, in addition to the work itself?  The more published you become, the more the work is evaluated and critiqued in relation to what is known of the writer, rather than as an individual written piece in its own right.

The same process also befalls a pseudonym, however.  The pseudonym can become known and, while the writer gets to maintain anonymity, the written works will still be regarded as part of the wider collective of the pseudonym’s portfolio.  The critic will still seek to form an opinion based upon what is known about the untruthfully named writer.

Are you a writer who has considered using a pseudonym?  What happened?  Are you, like me, starting to build a writing career but you would also feel more comfortable using a pseudonym?  Are you a writer who is already successfully using a pseudonym?  What have been the benefits and shortfalls of using a pseudonym, for you?  How did you come to decide that a pseudonym would be the right decision for you as a writer?

I am looking forward to putting my written work out for publication.  I will write in many genres and I will write in a variety of writing disciplines.  From novels and short stories to plays for radio and theatre, non-fiction and children’s stories, to name but a few of my projects in progress.  I am leaning toward use of a pseudonym and I have already told my close family and friends that, if so, they will not get to know my pseudonym.  This has been met with some disappointment and opposition, but it is accepted that this is how I may prefer to proceed.  After all, that is the only way to achieve anonymity.

Of course, if I do use a pseudonym, I will let people know how my writing career is progressing.  They will get to hear about the processes, about the landmarks I will (hopefully) achieve and they will get a sense of me as a writer, from what I discuss with them we we sit and chat over a meal and glass of wine.  That is much like how anyone talks about their work.  I will post blogs about my progress, too.  I want to take the ego out of the art.  Not ego as in ‘I, the self’ but ego as in needing affirmation or courting attention.

If you are a writer and you relate to this piece in some way, please do let me know your own experience.  Leave a comment about your own decisions around pseudonym or no pseudonym, below.

(C) Dean Parsons.  2018.