The decision to take or not take a pen name is a very intimate one. Each writer and each case is different. There is no good or bad, simply pros and cons to each scenerio.
As you can see from the title of my blog, I have my nickname of “Pagan Poetess,” but I am not using that in total replacement of my real name. The only time I have used pen names was for fanfiction. This was because I used fanfiction purely as practice. I neither expect nor desire to use those works to bolster my fledging writing career. As much as I am pro-fanfiction, I think it would be unethical for me to showcase those writings to gain recognition for myself.
After some reflection, I’ve come to realize that my reasons to keep my real name as my writing name fall into three categories.
1. I’m Rebelling Against Conformity
I myself am white, but I’ve taken my husband’s name, whose is Iranian-American. Part of keeping his name for my writing persona has been my small way of not contributing to white-washing.
I know there are authors who write under a pen name because they feel their foreign-sounding name will be a hinderence to their marketability. I don’t deny that there may be some truth to that, but for me persoanlly I believe one should try to push through those challenges, otherwise nothing will change.
2. I Have Nothing to Hide
An author may have perfectly legitimate reasons for keeping their writer persona separate from daily life. Maybe their genre clashes heavily with or would outright hinder a writer’s profession in another field. Yet for me I feel I have no justifiable reason to do so. My innate nature is to wear my heart on my sleeve.
3. I’m Making a Personal Point
My choice to write under the name Sophiamehr derives greatly from why I chose to take my husband’s name in the first place. Several years ago my husband was the victim of a vicous cyberbully, one that was relentless in trying to assassinate his character by whatever means possible. This bully’s petty activities included trying to sabotage our relationship.
While it was always my vision to take my eventual husband’s name, I espectially took Amin’s name because I wanted to make the point that, no matter what lies this cyberbully was spewing, I was not going to be shamed into minimizing my association with my husband. I am proud to be his wife and I shall forever flaunt his name shamelessly.