One of the aspects of being a writer that I am currently contemplating, as I sit at my desk with a cup of coffee, is the idea of a pseudonym. I’m not wholly comfortable about 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 somehow can feel too ‘in the spotlight’. I am, believe it or not, rather shy.
I wonder how other writers feel about the subject of writing under a pseudonym? For me, there can be something uncomfortable about creating a written work and then seeking to develop a name for myself from doing so. That feels a bit too much about ego. I want the reader to find the work and to enjoy the experience they have from reading it.
In all honesty, I think that perhaps I have just met too many writers who have rather large egos when it comes to the subject of being published. For me, that has rather soured the idea of become known for writing and is why I have never sought to publish any of my work, written over the years, yet. It strikes me that many writers lose the passion for the artistry and simply develop a passion for becoming well known. I am incredibly happy writing for my own pleasure; enjoying the creative process, the learning that comes from observation, exploration, my relationship with humanity, the world around me and with language.
Likewise, I wonder whether a critic can be truly objective if they are also considering the writer as a personality, as some do? 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. This is an interesting consideration but applies across all of the arts, I believe.
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 alternatively named writer.
Are you a writer who has considered using a pseudonym? What happened? Are you, like me, ever developing your writing career and questioning your comfort level about developing a public profile? 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 going to start putting my written work out for possible publication, at some point. Perhaps in 2019 I will be brave enough to try? I am curious about what that experience will be like. I write in many genres and I write in a variety of writing disciplines. My current writing course tutor; herself a published author, has said emphatically that a number of my works should be sent out for publication immediately; which is rather lovely feedback.
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.