Marife.S, Online English Teacher at Acadsoc.
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I guess a lot of people have wondered why writers use the so-called pen names and code names for their literary works. I personally did, when I wasn’t writing yet. Why can’t they use their real names? Are they ashamed of what they are writing about? No, rather the opposite… You see most writers aren’t ashamed of their works, most of them are left awestruck ones they finish a piece. Then why hide under a name rather far from their real name? It is as simple as they want to distinguish the difference between the writer and their own person. Most of the people I heard of as writers are rather introverted. Here I am not giving it as a general norm for every writer; but more like I am speaking of the ones I came in contact with, those I have read about and those I follow in my social media accounts. I will be recounting the details that I have seen as the most common reasons why writers use pseudonyms.
Authors are Shy to use their real names?
We all tend to feel shy, especially when doing something publicly. But it doesn’t mean that we are ashamed of what we write about. Shy in a sense like I mentioned earlier. They feel that at times their work is too much for them to contain. Majority of writers doesn’t set any boundaries for their literary work; they write as far as their imagination can go. The limits of being a writer are infinite. Thence, the writer can sometimes be overwhelmed by the depth of even their personal work.
However, in real-world, we will be different kinds of people. We will return to roles of mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, food lovers, babysitters…As for me, I have two different characteristics when being a writer in my social media account or conducting English classes here as an online English teacher.One may research and consider an issue seriously and deeply when writing/reviewing, but he/she won’t consider that much when buying vegetables and clothes. Teaching English online is more like doing a presentation, your audience won’t allow you the time to think about something deeply when speaking. The golden rule for online English teachers is a quick response to any situation to build up a mutual relationship, even if you need to think about something, you will have to do it really fast.
Trolls and unreasonable critics
Secondly, to be able to be free from judgment and criticism. The writers like being left free to explore their imagination. This can be a good thing for some and the total opposite for others. You see, it is pretty obvious we can’t please everybody in our daily life. Time and time again, we bump into a person who can get infuriated with the thing we did and yet didn’t mean to offend anyone. This thing applies to writers too. Authors of articles, books, novels, all of them fall into this. People judge them for what they wrote, but believe me; writers don’t only express what they think about, they sometimes are influenced by other writers themselves. They do researches before writing; this means, they get references, outlines, etc. These things can affect the way the literary work is written.
We welcome valuable and thoughtful comments under our articles, not trolls or any garbage. Troll means someone, anonymous, talking about something irrelevant to your topic, but controversial and debatable, i.e. politics, racists, something extreme, inciting hatred, etc. I accept critics from my readers, but I don’t want someone to call up a war in the comment field under my work and make my readers the players in the troller’s game.
Protect their loyal readers and followers
As authors, they want to protect not only themselves but most especially those whom they care for. There is an old saying that if a writer loves you, you’ll never die. You’ll continue to live in that person’s works, even if it is unintentional. This saying clearly shows the reason. Anyone who is caring for another will do everything to protect that person from any kind of harm. Whether the harm is physical, emotional, psychological to until spiritual, I think. That won’t change in the case of writers. People in the literary business have people and families to care for. They are also the people who can be easily misunderstood and placed in another light, sometimes even convicted for it since they can’t reason out. Keeping their names hidden would not only prevent people from going after them but more so that the people they care about wouldn’t be placed in the case position as they are.
Authors are not actors or famous stars, who want to be in the centre of focus. On the contrary, most readers will never know the exact name and address of their beloved writers. To let readers remember our words instead of our appearance, to protect their imagination and reverie. One’s writing can always be far beyond who he/she is, education level, character and social status…You wouldn’t expect a perfect romantic novelist to be a young boy, who not yet finish schooling or a deep thinker who is just playing video games every day in a net cafe.
They don’t need to be recognized. Following the trend of the first argument; writers are typically shy persons. Thus, once their writing gets recognized, they feel much satisfied already; at times even more than when they’re names are praised for another reason. The latter might even have a bad or adverse effect on the writer. Instead of being encouraged to write, they get too shy to even express themselves with their only weapon… their pen.
Lastly, there is no any particular reason. I guess you all know that writers have wild and broad imaginations. Hence, writers would like the mystery of hiding behind a name. The writer would love these theme most especially since while studying English Literature we dive into the Middle Ages; the time of chivalry. Where masks are still a thing, where love, power, perfection were all in the air.
Hopefully, they weren’t boring and easily comprehensible. Would you take a pen-name too? If so, any particular one to start with? Why did you choose it?