Writing Under an Assumed Identity

Recently I was asked about this whole pen name thing. “Hey allyah, what’s up with this whole pen name thing?” There’s no big mystery behind it. I’m not in some witness protection program. And I’m not on some celebrity-like star trip. It’s a simple matter of making a name for myself on my own terms.

Here’s the thing. A couple of years ago, when I started to freelance, I decided to google myself just to see what would turn up on my writing. I wasn’t expecting much as I hadn’t published that much yet; I didn’t expect what I found. Not only were there more than 250 people with the same name as me, there were at least four other professional writers showing up all over the place in addition to a journalist. WTF? It’s not as though I have that common of a name.

My dilemma: 1) I didn’t want to be confused with any of them: what if their writing sucked? 2) I didn’t have the time to read all of their stuff to see if it was any good: if I did happen to get “accidentally” confused with any of them and they were good, it could be in my favor. This was proving to be exhausting and more work than it was worth.

So the easiest thing to do was what writers have done for eons: create a pen name and start all over. I googled my new name and discovered to my delight that no one is published under it but me … and hopefully it will stay that way. Let the rock star attitude begin!


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