Should You Write Under a Pen Name?

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To be free of preconceptions

People who know you, as a result of the passing of time, have already created their opinion of who you are (or who they think you are). If they see you as a jolly person who does not take life too seriously, then an article you’d write about politics or poverty would not be very well received.  If you are a conservative and always attempt to blend in with the crowd, then an article about the latest fashion trends would not be very believable.  If William Shakespeare were to write a book about nanotechnology, well… there you have it.

To be free of stereotypes

To be stereotyped in life is common, and fairly tolerable to some degree.  However to be stereotyped in your writing would be a bridge to literary suicide.  If you aren’t a very social person or if you are the kind that drives people away, any piece with your name on it may seem uninteresting to the people who know you.  Although this could work the other way and serve as a stepping stone to reveal your true self and the inner workings of your mind to the unknowing world, it could also go the other way around.

To be free of intrigue

It’s not only the characteristics of the writer that influence the writing; it goes both ways.  For instance, when a student whose political views are singularly different from the rest of the population expresses his/her opinions in writing, the pressures of conformity and a judgmental society would render him/her a target for social prejudice.

To be free of self-deceit

If you publish your writings on the web through blogging or other means, and if you survive by the number of views or clicks your work gets, revealing such to thousands of your friends would bring you that fame in just seconds.  However as a writer, you wouldn’t know if your views came from the fact that people wanted to support you, or from the rather wonderful notion that your writing may just be worth reading. 

To be free to write

Writers who want to explore horizons will want to write about anything under the sun.  The kind of protection provided by a pen name or by anonymity allows him/her to do just that, without consequence.  It may be cowardice or faintheartedness to some, but to others it is one of the noblest things a writer can do – to give up personal acclamation for the sake of his own work.


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