A nom de plume…

A nom de plume or a pen name was recently suggested to me after I mentioned that often I feel constrained to write in a certain way given some of my readers know me personally. Topics that I’d like to explore in my writing may well be best concealed from my personal identity. It’s also fun to think about the opportunity to write in different genres, more freely.

Where does one start with selecting a pen name? Should it be based on your actual name or a version of it or something totally foreign like Dr. Seuss whose real name was Theodor Geisel? Perhaps it should be based on available domain names to align your writer’s name with marketing and social media options. I’ve also been wondering if pen names or pseudonyms are legal and a little research suggests that they are. 

Separating my professional life from my writing life may well be the most important reason I am considering writing under a pen name. I’d be interested in how many readers have used these in the past, how they choose their pen names, and if they have found it worthwhile. How did you choose your name to suit your niche? Di you consider choosing a name from another gender? Was the website domain an important consideration? 

Looking through online pen name generators has provided me with a few interesting options including Skylar Parker, Jeff V. Jet and Dr. Jacqueline Eson. Creating a new identity isn’t as easy as it sounds. You’ve been stuck with the same name most of your life, and perhaps only changed it once when married. How much of your personal identity is associated with your name? Or is found elsewhere? Does your physical body or your mind define who you are? Perhaps a combination of both. If you were to have to change your name permanently who you still be (or feel) like the same person? This piece of writing has definitely raised more questions than I expected and will require some more careful deliberation before I make any changes to write under an alias. I look forward to fellow writers’ thoughts on this important topic!

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