As I alluded to very slightly on my about page, I write elsewhere online under a different name. I could spend hours talking about why I chose to do this and why it wasn’t, at the time, a very hard decision, but here’s a brief rundown:
- I wanted to give myself the freedom to fail horribly without ever having to hear about it from someone else
- I wanted to give myself free reign on creativity – whatever I thought of or dreamt of I could write and post without worrying “Will they think I’m a total nutjob?”
- If I am ever to publish anything, I don’t want to publish under my real name for the simple reason that I really don’t like my real name. I don’t want to have someone holding one of my books in their hands and think to themselves “Is this a dude? Is he related to Dick Cheney?”
- I wanted to say anything – without ever having to apologize or explain myself
In his book, On Writing, Stephen King says “Write with the door closed, edit with the door open.” And I totally get that. Writing under a pen name is essentially writing with the door closed. Sure, there are tons of people who read my writing. I have HUNDREDS of Twitter followers and subscribers to my web serial. HUNDREDS. It’s awesome, it’s amazing, and it’s totally stress free. I don’t worry that someone will come up to me and say: “Hey, I didn’t really like that last post, you should do —” or: “Man, you should really try writing about –” or: “Zombies? Why the hell are you writing about zombies? That’s stupid!”
See, I just instinctively think that that is what would happen if I told my friends, my family, my Facebook, etc. that I write as much as I do. That I write as seriously as I do. I just don’t want to take any shit for it. I don’t want to explain myself, I don’t want to take criticism from friends (and I’ll give up the praise to avoid it) and I sure don’t want to know what everyone really thinks about me.
But then.. but then..
I’m excited about what I do. I love what I do. And sometimes there are moments when I just want to put it all out there, but don’t.
Last night I was hanging out with Alisha, Brian and Dan at Alisha’s place. We were getting drunk up in the attic in the middle of the night-ish, talking about god knows what, that led to a conversation about this guy we know who self-publishes his own stuff – short stories, poems, novels… I guess he doesn’t sell much or make much money, but he’s widely reviewed to the point that apparently even King himself has given this guy raves. And then Dan said:
“I wish more people would share their writing. I write, I want to write more. I want to read other people’s stuff. I think it’s cool.”
And it made my heart beat faster… To think, “Hey, maybe he’s on to something here. Maybe shoving a folder of hundreds upon hundreds of loose leaf pages into someone’s hand wouldn’t be a burden, but a gift…”
And so I wonder…
I’ve made a so-so committment to writing 25K more words for my serial this month. I’ve been slacking on it for quite a long time, which makes me really mad at myself because I always said that the serial was a lesson on endurance rather than a meditation on craft. I need discipline, and I need to work harder for the things I want.
So I wonder, maybe someday, I’ll be coming out of that closet.