Why do some authors write under their original name while others
prefer to camouflage their identity with a pseudonym?
Let's first examine what an author gains by writing under his
real name. Publicity. And possibly popularity. This will increase
social status and self esteem, which will in turn trigger feelings
of self accomplishment and gratification.
Come to think of it, it's precisely all the above that can motivate
writers to continue producing material even when they are struggling
against numerous writing obstacles.
So the question resurfaces: Why would a writer opt to write under
a different identity if as a result s/he must forgo all these
sought after benefits?
Perhaps the advantages such an author seeks overrides other considerations.
Which brings us to the writer using a pseudonym.
First and foremost, the author using a name other than her own
aims for anonymity. Her main goal is that people do not know who
she really is. Knowing her readership may range between hundreds
or even hundreds of thousands, she chooses to express herself
through this conduit for a number of reasons:
*in disguise she feels she has more freedom in expressing herself
with honesty and candor. The content of her writing is of utmost
concern and it's important that it reach the audience in the most
*She need not worry that people will associate what she is writing
about with her background and style of life and form opinions
accordingly. This focus on the author as personality risks distracting
the readership from the import of the written message.
*If what she writes about is of crucial importance, she does
not risk it being rejected because of who she is. In other words,
her writing has the potential to reach spheres that would be otherwise
*She is freer to write about personal experiences while maintaining
her and her family's privacy.
Actually, I feel it's a lot of fun to use a pseudonym. In fact
I have a number of them. I have one for my short stories, a second
for my poems and third for my essays. I have yet to think up a
fourth for the novel which I hope to begin soon. I can create
an ongoing forum for all my different disguises without anyone
(except my editor) ever knowing that they are all the same person.
They are all me!
Freidel Chernechofsky is a pseudonym
of the author.
© 2009 by Jewish Writing Institute. All rights reserved.
Copyright to individual articles held by authors.