Ah, the Nom de Plume, or pen name as others will better recognize it by! It can be a pain in the rear end, but if you’re going this route then choosing the right one is of the utmost importance. Some may say: Well, there are people who write under multiple, and to them I say this is true. That doesn’t minimize the importance though. When choosing a pen name I feel at the top of the list should be how you feel when you hear it. If it doesn’t resonate with you then that means it shouldn’t be an option. For awhile there I was messing around with the pen name Michelle Briddick, and while I liked it at first there came a point where. . . that faded into discontent and a lack of connection. I chose that particular option for all the wrong reasons.
The importance of hiding is vital for some people and I can respect that quite a deal. An author might not be able to put their real name out there for fear of ostracization by their family or getting fired from their job, and instead opt to use a pen name to post their work; a practice that has been going on for centuries, possibly millennia, as evidenced in the world’s literary history. They also might use multiple pen names if they write in various genres. All of these make sense, but for me. . . none of that worked. All I could realize was that I was hiding myself completely to avoid people that were toxic and had spread some horrific things around the ‘net about me that others believed without question. One of the ways that drama happens to spread in environments that are endlessly destructive.
Even after I pulled myself away from that place, and those people, I was constantly in fear that they’d find me and disrupt my life. Putting me once again through the same stomach knotting, acid inducing stress that made me run away from that area and put the lid on a creative endeavor that I enjoyed quite a deal. So I continued to hide myself until eventually I became unhappy. . .
I deal alot with depression and feeling unhappy, but my writing and other creative interests are places where I don’t want to experience those emotions. In fact, I use them to escape those feelings often. Hitting that point where I became tired of letting these worries color my decisions was a good moment. Finally it drove home why the old pen name wasn’t something that held any attachment when mentioned or used in combination with my writing. That was the moment when I decided that using my first name — that I hated at one time oddly enough — was what I wanted to do. Once I made that decision it was easy enough to figure out that my last name wasn’t an option since it was too common, and so I went on the hunt; seeking out a last name that worked with my first name and sparked something inside me.
Months. That was how long I ended up trying to figure this out. Constantly saying ‘Oh, I like that name!’ only to toss it out an hour or day later. It was actually a writing friend who helped me settle on a name. Talking with them about some of the aspects keeping me from considering some names that I did find interesting opened me up to the realization of how silly I was being. That’s when I decided finally to go with a last name that came from an origin of one place I’d been obsessing over since I was young: Ireland. No, I am not Irish in the least; though some part of me believes in a past life, or lives perhaps, that I must’ve lived in Ireland, Scotland, Wales as I adore learning anything about them.
This last name resonated and it flowed with my first name as well, and so I finally had a pen name that spoke to me. Having a name to write under that I can honestly say I love fills me with a warmth that was missing for a long time. . . and let me finally throw off the shackles that were holding me back.
I hope that if you do decide to use a pen name, or multiple ones, that you find something that calls to you in the same way and hope that my story helps anyone that might be struggling with this same problem.
And on a finishing note, and only a little unrelated, I want to share the news about the paperback release for Lupus Animus! I posted a cover reveal for this book before and it has been out in e-book form for a bit, but now it’ll be available in paperback form. If you want to be part of the release and help support charity that helps animals then here’s the Facebook release party link: https://www.facebook.com/events/410656962410331/