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A Newbie with a Pseudonym: Three Things I’ve Learned

My pseudonym journey began in November of last year (2016), that’s when the idea started and I began doing some research. You know what I found? A whole lot-a nothing good convincing. I officially decided to just go with it in December and picked a name. I started the blog in January and then took a wee bit of a backslide in February and March before picking up again full swing in April. So, I’m still really just getting my feet wet with this whole journey, and I’ve already learned some things that I wish I’d known before I started. I’m sure I will learn some more along the way and will definitely blog about them as they arise, but instead of waiting for some undefined right time, or long enough to be considered an expert on the topic, I thought I’d just share my experience now so you can learn from it.

Going into this I had decided to tell no one on purpose, because it didn’t make sense to be anonymous otherwise. Nobody except my darling husband who designed this beauty (and is my biggest supporter) knew about it. My oldest, who prides himself on being an eavesdropper and figuring things out walked around gloating about how he knew my secret, calling me Anastasia in public to try and get a rise out of me …. Is it against blog etiquette to use emoji’s? Because that sideways cry/laughing emoji really needs to go right >>here<<.

Anastasia. Really? Do I seem like an Anastasia?

I guess it’s not that different than Andréa, but the latter seems lighter, more carefree, to me.

So after deciding to use a pseudonym, pen name, nom de plume, everything I did was with the intention of keeping my secret safe. Still all my hard work was blown to smithereens a few weeks ago, and while the damage hasn’t been too bad, and I’ve decided not to let it bother me, I still wish I’d known this could happen.

 

  1. The best reason to use a pseudonym is yours.

    • If you’re thinking about using one, then like me, you are probably scouring the internet looking for the who’s/how’s/and why’s. Finding much? I know I didn’t. Essentially they all said the same thing; you should have a really good reason, it’s not easy, managing multiple social media accounts is work, easier to just use your name yadda yadda yadda. What I gleaned from them is that the number one reason to use a pseudonym is if you are a school teacher writing erotica. . .Technically it’s if you are writing something that would be frowned upon by your employer, and the number one example of that is teachers and sex books… I’ll pause for a minute while you think about that. How many teachers actually fall into that category? It must be a lot if that’s the primary “acceptable” reason for using one. Are my kids’ teachers at home writing about heaving bosoms and swelling bratwursts like the lady portrayed in Ten Things I hate About You?( —-Oh my goodness, I used to love that movie and forgot all about that scene! {laughing hysterically at the memory of it now….my parents let me watch that?})
    • I’m not. I’m not even writing anything controversial, I’m not worried about my employer finding out about my writing and firing me. I merely wanted to write about things that I felt like writing about without worrying about who was reading them. So I haven’t really written anything that would turn heads  yet, but the option is there.
    • I wanted to trust myself again. The truth is I wasn’t happy with my previous attempts to get into the writing game. I wanted to redefine myself as someone who started and kept going. That’s the primary reason for doing this. Because I had stopped believing in myself, I figured my friends and family had gotten fed up too, and well, I was tired of disappointing us all. But I can’t find that listed as an acceptable reason anywhere. But it is. It has to be.
    • I wanted to spend a year writing, and putting my writing out there, without merely putting it out there for my aunt, my pastors mother, neighbor three houses removed, and the Lunch Ladies, to read. If they find their way, awesome! The more the merrier! Especially since a few of those people listed above have been my life long cheerleaders and keeping this from them has been so hard. I’ve had to talk myself down from calling them multiple times. But I didn’t want to write for or with them in mind, I want to write for me, and for Him and whomever He brings this way. 
    • Using a pen name is a long standing practice and I have a hard time believing a large fraction of people using them don’t have reasons similar to mine. It’s the perfect way for a rebirth, fresh start, and comes with sliver of privacy.
    • I thought about it, prayed about it, and decided. As simple as that, and whatever the reason, even if it’s not one of the same 5 repeated over and over again online, you should know that if you are drawn to doing it, understanding that like anything worth doing it takes work, and still want to, then do it!  Be confident in that decision. Take pride in it even. Be bold my friend, step out, and see what the Lord will do with it.
  2. You will have to defend your reason for using a Pseudonym.

    • So, like I just said above, own it. I didn’t actually expect this, but it’s true, and I know I’ve questioned it about other people in the past, so I should have expected it. It’s part of human nature to question.
    • People are going to ask, and you might stumble through your answer for awhile, that’s okay. I know I have this last month, but the practice has been good for me, I’m gaining confidence.
    • I’ve gotten to the point where I’m not going to apologize for it, I knew that it was the right decision for me before they found out I was doing it, and them finding out doesn’t change my mind about doing it.
    • I’m proud to be Andréa, I’m excited to see where we go together. What other people think about it does not matter.
    • What you think about it, what you believe, why you chose the name you did, that’s it. That’s everything. Don’t let research or opinions affect you. No matter what reason you give in defense, chances are they’ll still question you. Let them, and let it bounce.
  3. Setting up social media in your new name can reveal your real identity.

    • Here it is. The biggest thing I learned, that I wish I had known. Everything I read about the topic discussed social media, how much work it would be keeping up two different sets of accounts, and how this was a big reason people chose not to use one, unless they fell under that number one reason. Work, as in time. I knew it would be a lot of work, I got that, and it didn’t sway me. Life takes work. Anything worth doing has it’s challenges. Bouncing between accounts might be a pain, but it’s doable. Why didn’t any of these articles mention the risks involved? Are you ready? Here it is. Be careful friends, because big brother is watching! 
    • Pinterest
      • I think I started with Pinterest, oh actually my email address then Pinterest, and it was smooth sailing. I created my page, started pinning, and adding my pins, have followed bloggers, have been followed by a few handfuls of people and life is good. No problems. It’s been muy bueno! (Nope, I’m not Hispanic, I just like throwing crazy phrases around sometimes.)
    • Facebook
      • Evidently, setting up a second Facebook account under a fake identity isn’t allowed.
      • I’d started with this avenue before I knew that it wasn’t okay. Lot’s of people do it, but ultimately I deactivated my account for now, while I figure out if it’s necessary or not. Evidently, if they catch wind of it they’ll lock you out and getting back in is a pain, and requires a DBA etc etc. Well, since I don’t have, and am way too early in the game to worry about a DBA, and I only had 4 blogger friends, I said forget it and deactivated it for now.
      • Instead, it’s recommended you have an author, or blog, Facebook page under your personal profile. Well, my concern with doing this, is how protected it will be. All the pages I’ve set up previously have been listed on my profile, but did I do that, or was it a natural occurrence? Since I can’t remember, and haven’t yet found a reasonable answer I’ve delayed in actually doing this. So be warned, look into it before setting up a second identity on FB and be careful about pages unless you know more than I do. I’m sorry I don’t have one, be patient with me while I figure it out and in the meantime follow me on Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.
    • Instagram
      • Instagram does allow other identities, score! b u t … wait for it…
      • I’d read a few things about how Instagram is becoming a great way for writers to connect with readers and grow their blogs. So about three weeks ago, I decided to set up an account. I had a new email and the new Facebook account (only deactivated it after this happened causing me to do more research and discovering what I mention above), that I used during the profile set up. I was logged out of my personal FB account on my phone at the time, but somehow, when I went to post the first picture to Facebook it pulled up my personal account. I un-linked the account several times, and tried again yadda yadda.
        • Well, evidently it’s linking even that one time, however it did it, caused a message to go out to ALL of my Facebook contacts saying “Your Facebook friend, Real Name, has joined Instagram as AndreaLaneWrites” in an effort to grow my followers on my behalf. Without asking me, or giving me any way to opt out. Within a few hours of opening the account an old boss and a cousin had followed me and I was like, “what the what?” Within the week about 6 people had found and followed me, and it took me that whole time of wondering and worrying before I figured out exactly what had happened.
          • Just this week I’ve had two friends who started new Instagram accounts of their own and they immediately followed Andréa, so even though I can not track it down, somehow it’s still connecting to Facebook.
            • MAKE THE MADNESS STOP!  Why is it so complicated?
      • So, what do you do about it? I don’t know. I’ve searched and scoured and from what I can tell Facebook owns Instagram so there is nothing that can be done. In my case the notification is out there and so now I just have to sit with it, and own my decision to use a pen name, and trust that the people who know me and love me will understand and will be excited for me. So if you are one of the few who “made me”, welcome! You know the secret, and I know you know, but we can keep pretending we don’t if you’d like ;). As a result of this incident, I did reveal that I’m writing again to my closest family members including my Dad, who as far as I know for sure, was the first person to get all of the info all at once and actually come here to my site. I was so nervous, but he seemed impressed, and mostly just happy I’m writing. Phew.
      • If I could go back knowing what I know now, here are some steps I would try first…
        though I don’t know for sure they’d work.
        • I’d deactivate my personal Ig account from my personal FB account. Delete FB and all of it’s counterparts, anything logged in with FB off of my phone entirely (or use a computer and clear the cache/history in the browser before beginning). Then I would sign up and never connect it with FB at all. I would also hesitate before reconnecting my personal accounts as the app might still somehow pull that personal information.
        • But honestly, I sort of think the only way to do it would be to have two completely separate phones. Never connect to a personal FB anything on the Pseudonym’s phone.
        • Pretty ridiculous right? Do you know a better way? I’d love any and all advice you might have!

There you have it, things I’ve already learned on this journey! I know this post got to be a little long, but hopefully, this insight can help you start your own journey with confidence, preparedness, and awareness!

Let’s talk… Are you using a pen name or thinking about it? What have you uncovered that I should know? Please do tell, as I’m clearly new at this and have a ton more to uncover along the way.

Blessings,

 

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About me

Welcome to Writeria Lane, where I write about the things that matter most to me in life; my love for Jesus, my family, and all things fiction. Writing has always been a way for me to process the world and what the Lord is doing within it, when I’m writing I can feel Him whispering to my soul. I hope you will join me on this journey as I hope to seek Him out and share authentically about all the things that inspire me.

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