I often feel I have to explain why I write under a pseudonym so here goes:
When I first wrote using a moniker, I labelled myself as an anonymous writer. Only recently did I discover that there was a more flattering description. I was not anonymous. It’s just that I am not comfortable with releasing my real name due to various reasons that I will reveal.
I read that there is a distinction between anonymous writers and writers who use a moniker. Anonymous writers can assume different personalities and fake identities, but those who write under a nickname are as authentic and what is revealed is their real personality and honest thoughts. Their actual ‘voice’ as such. Well for me at least.
The very reason why I even started writing is to be as honest and authentic as possible and writing was an outlet for me – like breathing. I never dared to use the label of writer, but my commenters on this blog give me so much confidence, that maybe one day I will own that term proudly.
Here are my 6 reasons (& I hope I don’t sound too arrogant or offend in any way):
1. I am not brave enough to write about certain experiences as I feel that I will immensely hurt the people in my life and that’s the last thing I would want to do. It feels like such a release to write about things that upset me and if someone out there can connect with it, it encourages me further. In a way I feel the pseudonym allows me to be honest.
2. Being from the older generation I have this huge mistrust of the internet. I hope you understand as the internet only came into my life when I was in my 30’s. My relatives who are older are even more suspicious of it. Cases of internet theft really scare me. And once I had a scary internet stalker and on another occasion a death threat that really spooked me all because I had a more liberal political view. I try to refrain from commenting about politics after that. Yes, call me chicken, but there are scary people out there.
3. If I am known, then my partner and family are known and so I can’t do that to them. If they are willing then it would be a step towards me changing my mind about this. But for right now, I have to respect their wishes, so I can’t.
4. In my mid life I have become a total recluse. I often want to disappear into the ground and the thought of some people, known to me in real life, discovering that I write this blog would make me so self conscious it would devastate me. (a tad melodramatic but true as I imagine they would only mock)
5. I value my privacy and can understand why celebrities are tormented by fame. It means you have to be on your best behaviour at all times and with awful sites like STOMP out there you have to be nervous every time you’re out. It’s no wonder celebrities hate going out only to be gawked at like animals in a zoo. (the irony is, I am guilty of celebrity worship as well as derision – aka when celebs wear high heels while carrying their infants – although it’s none of my business – unless of course they promote that all mothers should do the same)
6. Can’t go backwards. Now that I’ve started off with a pseudonym and written in an unguarded manner, I can’t now reveal my real name. If I had started out writing with my real name, this blog would be very different and not so authentic. The reason why I admire online writers who are able to write honestly while revealing themselves. That takes guts.
The main problem with not revealing my real identity is that I can’t use the blog as my portfolio. I can’t take any credit for it in my real life unless the opportunity comes to me and the company does not mind me not revealing my real name and can work with that. I can’t participate in invites of any sort (not that reclusive me would want to) but some of them do seem enticing especially if books or travel are involved.
However I know deep down, I don’t want to have a space that is over-commercialized with flashing ads that distract from text or an over abundance of advertorials, where you can’t write freely and your real voice gets drowned out by what the company wants you to sell. I don’t want to write about something in order to sell it. I want to be able to give my honest to goodness truthful account. (which is why I always turn to ad free for years, Travelling Hungryboy, for food tips). My partner told me something very true – when you turn your hobby into a business – it can sometimes take the fun out of it. I guess it’s the reason musicians have such an issue with their record companies. They get their creativity squashed?
If I hate a particular product, I want to say I hate it and if I love it, then I will rave about it for free. I have been offered money to place links on my blog but I just can’t do it. It’s against my principles and those were products I would never use. Also the products I do rave about are well placed brands(aka Moleskin which is my guilty pleasure) that don’t need any help from a little ole blogger but it would be sweet if they asked. I recently noticed that the owner of a beautiful site I love, Brain Pickings, surmounts this problem by declaring hers an ad free space and having a tip jar instead.
Also I sometimes yearn to meet some awesome people and feel awful when I have to reject meeting up with them because I am not ready (secretly I think no one will like me if they knew me in real life so I’d rather keep it this way, where they can still sort of think I’m ok? I am too self conscious to ever show myself and I’m never pleased with myself. In fleeting moments I am confident, but mostly I am plagued by doubts about my ability). I really hope they understand. I am a huge fan of some lovely girls and I think they know who they are as I have raved about them before. Hope they are ok with me just chatting with them through the Blog and Twitter and Instagram. They really do feel like my colleagues – the angel ones who were kind and helped me survive the awful world of office politics and mean people. Thank you for making this recluse feel not so lonely and for understanding my agoraphobic tendencies. If I ever do come out (maybe when I’m 70 and say heck with it all – it’ll be to you guys).