What are the benefits of writing under a pseudonym?
Even when we find the courage to publish our ideas, we often get tripped up by our audience. The idea that our parents, co-workers, or clients could potentially read our essay is enough to scare the life out of our writing voice. It only takes picturing one audience member to suppress a whole lot of great material. Specific topics, tones, and words are strictly off-limits. Whether conscious or not, there are certain lines we never cross under our real-world name. And, it’s a shame.
Writing under a pseudonym lets you write with honesty and ease. A pen name makes the writing process unrestricted and fun. When you can say what’s truly on your mind, you’re more likely to pluck the hearts of your audience.
Do you need a pseudonym to be vulnerable? No! In fact, if you can write without hesitation under your real name, do it! But sometimes, the pressure we feel is so debilitating that it prevents us from starting.
In the early days of the Internet (we’re talking 1993-1997), so few people were online that the ideas you published were hidden from society. You could express your thoughts openly and unfiltered, without repercussions. Compare that to today, where search engines can surface everything you’ve ever said. (Don’t even get us started on what’s possible in the future.)
In many ways, we’ve been engulfed by the Instagram Era. Since our social media posts are instantly visible to everyone we know, we’re careful about what we share. We tend to filter out our vulnerability and instead showcase the highlight reels of our life. Don't filter out the parts of you that make you distinct. Those ideas or traits that feel edgy might be the things that define your voice or your Personal Monopoly.
Don't think of a pseudonym as a mask to hide behind, but as a key to uncover what's locked within you. When we step into a costume, we feel comfortable stretching the boundaries of our identity. Every day is like Halloween. You're more likely to take creative risks, and you’re more likely to spill your personality onto the page.
Whether you write under your name or not depends on your circumstance. If you’re trying to build momentum around a career you’ve developed for over a decade, stick to your real name. But if you’re looking for the freedom to explore and express, consider a pseudonym. Even though it feels like you’re starting from scratch, writing online makes it possible to quickly build an entirely new career under a new name.
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