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6 Reasons to Use a Pen Name

by Taylor D. Levesque 2 months ago in advice
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When your real name just doesn't cut it!

6 Reasons to Use a Pen Name
Photo by Trà My on Unsplash

Pen names, pseudonyms, nicknames, aliases. Whatever you prefer to refer to them as. There are many benefits to using one! I use one myself, and there have been quite a few people now who have asked me why. While not all of the following reasons apply to myself, I’ll be going over six different reasons why you might like to use one too!

Why would someone use a pen name?

1. You can keep your personal life much more private or separate.

They keep your life private. Using a pen name can be a disconnect for many people. Some people don’t want others to know they write, or they simply want to keep their personal lives private. They want to reserve their ‘real’ life for their friends and loved ones, and should their work gain traction, they would prefer to keep the potential hype separate. It’s also nice to have social media accounts reserved for your writing life, and one for personal use. This way, your family or friends aren’t flooded with all your writing community posts!

2. Your real name sucks.

Face it, some people have names that just aren’t very nice. Others would just prefer a name that sounds cooler, or has more of a ring to it. Maybe people have a hard time pronouncing your name and you want something easier. Some will even go for a name more suited to their genre, or if their known for one genre but want to try their hand at another. This is pretty limitless nowadays. Just check out some of the pen names used by fantasy authors!

3. You still have a day job.

Not everyone wants others to know they write, especially their co-workers at their day job. It leads to unwanted conversations, or even assumptions made about one’s character or mental health. For instance, say an elementary school teacher writes stories in the horror genre, or even erotica. Now how would co-workers, or even parents of the children feel about that? Some may think it was pretty cool, but we all know there are going to be some in the bunch that think the teacher is off her rocker and should not be working with children. "Look at the kind of stuff they write! What goes through their head?!" Unfortunately, there are still people who look too deeply into the stories we write and come to the conclusion that the writers must be a terrible person and in need of therapy.

4. You don’t want people to judge you as a person based on your genre or works.

Maybe you write quirky stories that you don’t want to be known by your family and peers. Whether it’s their own views, their faith, or their values. Whatever it is, it clashes with the sorts of stories you write. It’s easier to use a pen name over your real name to keep your personal and writing lives separated. Think of it like a superhero wearing a mask to hide their identity!

5. Gender Association is, unfortunately, still a thing.

Again, this is generally genre dependent, but a lot of people still do look at the name of the author when purchasing a book in a specific genre. Sometimes, your preferred genre has many readers that prefer a certain genre. As stupid as this is, it is still a thing. It is another reason many may use a pen name. J. K. Rowling has done this herself, writing for a while under the name Robert Galbraith.

6. Just for fun!

Pen names can just be fun things to play with. There are generators all over the internet, some of the more creative namers will come up with one on their own. Having an alias can be great, right?

That’s all for now! I hope this has helped you in either making your decision or maybe understanding that weird writer friend of yours a little more.

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About the author

Taylor D. Levesque

Hi! I'm Taylor, and I write things. I love horror, sci-fi, fantasy, and all things dark. Outside of stories, I enjoy gaming and learning about things I'll regret later.

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