The Pseudonym


Doodle I drew at work the other day. Came out quite nice I think, for a little pen drawing on a notepad.

I always wondered what drives writers to publish under phony names, to hide behind another face when they present their works to the world, but since I’ve become a bit of a writer myself, I don’t wonder anymore. When you hide behind a mask you become a different person, a scapegoat for yourself. You can say or do anything without fear of people’s judgment. Your pseudonym becomes your Mr. Hyde. It’s pretty nice.

But some things about the pseudonym bother me. Writer Poppy Z. Brite said, “I can’t think of a reason I’d ever use a pseudonym, as I wouldn’t want to publish something that I didn’t like enough to put my name on it.” ( It makes me wonder if I really even like my own writing. In many ways I don’t.

When I publish I wonder if readers can relate to me when I never reveal my real name or any personal stuff really. I want people to know who I am, and I want to know them, but that sort of communication takes a strong person who isn’t afraid to reveal deep personal truth. I don’t think that’s me. Baring yourself to the world as a writer or an artist, or anything that you are, is incredibly scary.

The great thing about the pseudonym is that if you are afraid, it gives you something to hide behind. It can also be pretty mysterious, especially if you are already kind of a well-known person. And even if you are unknown it still makes a difference. I think it affects writing, allowing us to spill our guts in a less withheld fashion, at least I know it does for me. I just need to learn to stop using it as a buffer between me and the rest of the world. The pseudonym can be an inhibition to communication, or an excuse to write with no holds barred. It just depends on how you use it.

“I suggest to my students that they write under a pseudonym for a week. That allows young men to write as women, and women as men. It allows them a lot of freedom they don’t have ordinarily.” – Joyce Carol Oates (

All original content copyright S.D. de la Rosa, 2012.


~ by Sara on November 27, 2012.

2 Responses to “The Pseudonym”

  1. I understand why people do it and respect it, but I never could. Gosh I didn’t even name my blog, I use my own name haha My writing totally has my name imprinted on it, the good stuff, the bad and the ugly. And I’m not shy about sharing my worst or best as it’s all part of the big picture.

    I’ll be famous once I’m dead. 🙂

    • Haha you never know. You might get lucky and strike fame before you die. I just recently started putting my real name on everything and I’m surprised at how rewarding it is. You’re absolutely right.

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