Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Writing With a Pen Name

A lot of people wonder why anyone would want to use a pen name for any of their writings. Those people are freaks. What? No, they are just hideously misguided. There are a lot of reasons to go into writing, but fame just isn’t one of them. There are very few writers, and virtually no Web writers, who actually become famous for their work- even if the work itself is well known.

If you write online for money, a lot of what you do is probably not going to be what you want to be remembered for or what you want your clients to see that you’ve done. Some of it is just grunt marketing work, some of it is dull SEO work and some of it may be personal items that you just don’t want other people to know that you wrote. A lot of the time, it’s because you just get roped into writing weird things that you don’t necessarily need to have your name on.

There are also the generic privacy concerns that everyone online has that weirdos will hunt you down for your pelts in order to sell them at the local general store. Or burglary. Whichever. With a pen name, that’s pretty tough to accomplish unless you link that work to work with your name on it, which I accidently do every once in awhile.

To get Web writing gigs, you should have some items in your name, though it isn't absolutely necessary. If you use the same pen name on several sites and have a few good pieces to showcase to clients, you're fine. If you have showcase items online and you want a little veil of privacy for other things, it's nice to have a comfortable pen name on hand.

Most of my pen names are either Beaker or some dirivitive of that. I've been doing that for years, so pretty much anytime you see something written by someone named Beaker, Beakerwriter, etc., its probably me except for when the item is lame. That's someone else.

The other day I was listening to the Doors and heard the Mr. Mojo Risin' refrain. If you aren't a Doors fan (shock, horror!), that's an anagram of the name Jim Morrison. It occurred to me that I really should have created an anagram of my name instead of naming myself after an abused muppet. Hindsight. Here are a few anagrams of my name that I came up with:

Zil Zepshred

Hil Zezherdsh

Zerhi Dlepshz

Lesh Pidherzz

Shirez Pelhdz

Sherl Phizzed

As you can see, I quickly realized during the scrambling process that my name is both stupid and has far too few vowels.


Russell said...

Useful for avoiding tax too?

And indeed you could increase your own hit rate if you used Led Zep.


Les Slur said...

BTW - Are those links to marketing and seo pages your work? The seo item is particularly magnificent.


L. Shepherd said...

Lol, I know, right? SEO work certainly isn't Dickens. The SEO one was actually written for someone else and then I ended up having to find a home for it at the last minute. HubPages and Bukisa are both good dumping grounds for items that get cancelled.

LS Rules! said...

That SEO piece was so packed, you slowed down the world-wide-web in one!

L. Shepherd said...

I SO did. All traffic from the Web was diverted there, lol.