A writing friend of mine asked me today why I chose a pen name and why Jessi Gage. I hadn’t actually put a great deal of thought into it, but answering his question made me articulate what might have been going on behind the scenes in my brain when I chose to use a pen name and why that name in particular.
I chose a pen name because I didn’t want my writing to take over my life. It could if I let it because I’m so passionate about it and find it so rewarding. I just don’t want “writer” to be the first thing I say when someone asks who I am and what I do. I want to remember that I’m a wife and mom and a Christian and a friend and writing is the thing I do when all those other ducks are in a row. Cheesy, right? Well, I like cheese, so there.
Gage is actually a family name, and using it as part of my pen name serves the dual purpose of keeping my writing life distinct from ME and showing that family is important to me.
The post http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2010/08/11/wana-wednesday%E2%80%94it%E2%80%99s-a-pen-name-not-witness-protection/ is by a writer I really look up to and describes some excellent and not so excellent reasons to use a pen name. The post title still makes me chuckle: “It’s a Pen Name, not Witness Protection.” Kristen Lamb is all about writers marketing themselves, and the writer’s name or pen name is part of the marketing package. Check out her blog and her book, We are not Alone, The Writer’s Guide to Social Media if you want your books to sell well.
Do you use a pen name? Or two or three? Why do you use one? Why did you choose the one you use? (hey that rhymes!)