You never appreciate your anonymity until you don’t have it anymore.
– Jason Priestley
Hello, my name is not Aila Stephens. Not really, anyway. Let’s call Aila my alter ego. My second self. My spiritual doppelganger, if you will.
lost my mind decided to pursue writing I knew immediately I would require a pseudonym. The first few people I let in on the secret pretty much all had the same response:
“So, what, you’re trying to write the next Fifty Shades or something?”
Who doesn’t just adore the opinions of others? The response I have for this question is very different in my head than what I actually give, which is just a pleasant, “No, that isn’t exactly what I’m going for.” I know everyone ranging from the casual reader to the esteemed novelist has their opinions on those books, and I will admit I read all of them, but I am not in any way interested in writing erotica. But, my using a pen name shouldn’t be an automatic implication my characters do nothing but rut around in the sheets. [Say hello to Mark Twain, J.K. Rowling, Lewis Carroll…]
Which led them to their next question: “Why don’t you just use your own name?”
Not that I need to justify why I choose to use a nom de plume, but here are my top three reasons for doing so:
1.) It allows me not to shy away from stories my family wouldn’t approve of. This may not be a big deal to some, but it is to me. I don’t want my qualms about upsetting them deter me from writing the words I want to write.
2.) I don’t like my real name. Not for writing, anyway. It’s a perfectly fine name, but it doesn’t really feel very writer-y to me.
3.) I love my day job and I’m pragmatic enough to know writing isn’t going to replace my salary, so I’d like to keep it. I have no desire to introduce my 9-5 to my writing. A pen name feels like a good buffer.
The final question posed to me about choosing to write anonymously:
“So are you ashamed of what you’re writing? You said you don’t want your folks to know…” This question is usually accompanied by another reference to Fifty Shades… *eye roll*
No, I am not ashamed of what I’m writing. If I were, not only would I not share it with the world, I simply would not write it.
What do you write/publish under? What are some of the most ridiculous, aggravating questions/comments your family and friends have said since you told them about your
insanity desire to write? If you write with a pen name, how did you choose yours? I went through about four before I finally settled.