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  • Writer's pictureTaj McCoy

What's in a Name?

Updated: Jul 21, 2020

When I first joined the writing community on Twitter, I did so using a pen name. I was hesitant to use my full name, given my position at work, and I wasn't sure that I wanted to blend my professional and creative lives.

But what name should I use? Years ago, in a long term relationship, I came up with potential names for my future children, believing that my then relationship would go the distance. Unfortunately, we didn't make it, but those names remain near and dear to my heart.

I decided that the name I picked for my first future daughter, Simone Marrise, would serve as my pen name. I created Facebook and Twitter pages, though only my Twitter page really survived. In all honesty, I don't check Facebook nearly as often as I do Twitter or Instagram, so I didn't put in the effort to really gain a following there. As I got more familiar with the Twitter community, and began to really engage with other writers, I had a front seat as others announced one success after another. It made me think ahead to the possibility of eventually publishing a novel of my own.

Would I really be okay with publishing under a different name? Would that success feel real to me if my name wasn't in print? If people couldn't recognize my work on a shelf, is my knowing that it's there enough?

The bigger question was whether I wanted my creative and professional lives to remain separate. The more I mulled it over, and the closer I came to finishing the story closest to my heart, the more I was convinced that I may come to regret publishing under another name. The honest truth is that I want my creative life to BE my professional life (eventually).

It's always been my dream to be a full-time writer. Whatever my brand, I want to see my name (even if it's still a portion of the full name) in print. Seeing my name in print will make things more real for me, and I know that my family and friends will shout from the rooftops if (when) they see my book on a shelf.

That's not to say that I'll never make use of my pen name when it comes to publishing. I have some ideas outside of the women's fiction/rom com world, which may best be published under a pen name to keep branding consistent (but that's something we can talk about another time).

The other future kids' names might end up being characters in future projects. Time will tell!

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1 Comment

Jeida K. Storey
Jeida K. Storey
Aug 25, 2019

I completely understand this. I think your reasoning for keeping your name is awesome. Meshing the creative and professional identities only adds depth to who you are and how the world will see you. Love it!

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