Blogging/Writing Anonymously & Under a Pseudonym

It is precisely twenty-three days since I started The Bipolar Writer blog in September 2017. I can’t wait to finally reach that milestone.

Today I want to talk about something I have found very useful– writing under my pseudonym James Edgar Skye (which is my pen name but not my actual real name.) While I have talked about my real name in blog posts before I generally write under my pen name. In the following blog post, I will talk about my thoughts on why writing anonymously or with a pen name/pseudonym has helped me open up about my mental illness.

Why James Edgar Skye was a Game Changer

I was looking through so many blogs over the weekend, and I noticed that when it comes to some bloggers, there is a hesitation to share the experience part of mental illness within the confines of their blog when they use their real name. This is not true for every blog, but there is out enough there that I realized that writing under my pen name changed the game for writing my blog. Part of the reason comes from the stigma that surrounds mental illness.

It made me think of something my javardh-740705-unsplash.jpgpoetry instructor told me recently, “You tend to work better when you are outside yourself and writing about mental illness. Writing a character helps you come to grips with your writing and your illness.”

I am not sure how many times I have talked about this, but The Bipolar Writer blog was not my first attempt at writing a blog. The success that I have had was almost non-existent in my first two blog attempts, once in 2010 and again in 2014. It is true I took a class last year that helped me grow my brand and my blog which contributes to some of the success that I have had here on my blog.

The truth behind the success of my blog is much broader than that, and I owe a lot of that success to writing under a pen name versus writing under my real name. It sounds crazy, but I found that in the past so much of my illness went untold because I worried about what people would think about me of when writing under my real name (the stigma of mental illness kept me from being me.)

I am long past caring if people hate what I write about, but within the community, there is still that fear of “what will the people that love me think if they see this?” This was a constant thought when I wrote my other two blogs, and after a few weeks I gave up. Lucky for me I stuck it out this time.

I envy the fantastic bloggers who use their real names because they can be true to themselves, but I have found the same level of success writing anonymously or with a pseudonym. Early on it helped me to take a step outside of all that I am and create a character– my pen name J.E. Skye. Unlike my fiction writing, everything I write here and in memoir is my story told from a real perspective that can be objective.

I don’t hold back, and I tell my daily life within the confines of this blog precisely as I have lived it.

For me it was essential to take a step back and say, “okay this is my story, but I can be objective if I tell it like a character in one of my novels.” It worked for me because it opened up my mental illness life to the world and I don’t mind the scrutinization as James. I can take the good and constructive critizism that comes with writing about mentla illness. I found what makes me successful. It may not work for everyone, but if right now you are struggling with the narrative take a step back. Create a character and see if that makes it easier.

It’s funny. I wrote a novel and a screenplay beforewilliam-krause-697816-unsplash.jpg starting this blog. I was already James Edgar Skye, but I found myself here on my blog. It gave me the courage to finally share my story, it launced my blog, and it gave me the courage to write my blog. Shifting my perspective changed my narrative. Don’t feel bad if you prefer to write anonymously. Never lose the fight to share your story because every story is different in this mental illness life.

Stay active in the fight my friends.

Always Keep Fighting (AKF)

James Edgar Skye

Please Help me Publish my Memoir

I am almost done editing my memoir “The Bipolar Writer,” and I have decided to go down the self-publishing route. If you can donate anything towards my goal, it would mean the world to me. I am still working towards enough to pay an artist for a good cover. Those that donate will get a special mention in my memoir on a page dedicated to those that made my memoir possible. Thank you in advance!

$2.00

Photo Credit:

Jaroslav Devia

Javardh

William Krause

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37 Replies to “Blogging/Writing Anonymously & Under a Pseudonym”

  1. Fascinating examination. I pondered using a pseudonym for my own blog, for all the reasons you give, but finally opted to “come out” for the simple reason that I am Will and I live with depression. Whatever one decides, it’s just vital that those of us who struggle in that way can write and talk about it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am glad you have the courage to make that leap. It just made more sense in my life. The right thing is that we are taking and continuing the narrative. Thank you for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love your insight here. I can imagine how writing under a pseudonym would liberate you to write what you might otherwise avoid writing. I use my real name, and in ways I am envious of people like you who don’t. Your blog is phenomenal, content is what is most important.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I actually relate to this too well. In fact, the name I’m using right now is my second name (and I’m borrowing my surname from my stepfather) and I feel better writing under this pseudonym. I dunno if I were to use my real name, I don’t think I would last long. But using this one kinda helps? I can still be me while using another name.

    I like that.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes exactly! Being open about my mental health under my name really helped me a lot. I feel more empowered to be open and accepting of it. It makes me love myself more despite my flaws! It was the best thing I ever did. I… really don’t want my family and friends to find my stuff out. Lol

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I am recovering from anxiety disorder and PTSD, (I have felt depressed and full of despair at times, from the crippling anxiety and health issues that came with my PTSD, but have not been diagnosed with depression). I believe those illnesses came about as a result of past traumas from being abused in my childhood. Like mental illness, there is a stigma to abuse and abuse recovery. I chose a pseudonym for safety reasons, (the reality is that some people in my life are still dangerous) and quickly realized that I also wanted to write anonymously because of the stigma I feel in owning my abuse story and the resulting mental illnesses. I feel I need to keep owning it, somehow, publicly, in order to finish healing. BUT: it’s difficult to do that due to the stigmas attached to it all. Perhaps, after I have healed further, I won’t care as much what others think, or if I am putting myself in danger in any way by using my real name. I’m not there just yet.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I couldn’t imagine blogging under my real name for all the reasons you wonderfully articulated here. When members of my family became aware of the existence of my blog I was devastated, because I had been writing in an open and honest manner that I would not have been comfortable doing under my own name.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I know what you mean. My family knows about my blog as I am open to talking about it, but there are others that don’t really know all that much. As open as I am it makes it easier to write as James.

      Like

  6. Thank you for sharing your perspectives on this. Everyone has to do what is best for them. I just have to say that I am always saddened when people do not use their own names. It saddens me that the stigma is still that awful today that people feel they must hide behind a name. It saddens me because I believe we become part of the stigma when we don’t use our own name. To truly fight stigma, we have to be completely honest. We have to show others that we have absolutely nothing to be ASHAMED of. Only the people who stigmatize mental illness should be ashamed. I believe until we learn to not be ashamed, stigma will continue on. When a person is newly diagnosed with mental illness and they see or hear people are not using their real names to tell their stories, don’t they wonder why? I believe others will learn they need to hide behind a name, too and that they should be ashamed. Everyone else is. The sad reality is that people with mental illness will follow the example and lead. They will continue to hide behind their names and be ashamed. It is so beyond freeing to just let it be. It is hard at times, but I believe I only have this one life to make a difference and I am just me. I can’t make people think or feel a certain way, but I can be honest, truthful and always forthright when sharing my experience and story. To combat stigma we must share without shame. We cannot continue to hide. I know it is one step at a time. So, take your time and please one day let yourself soar and become free from the confines of fear. Please do not get me wrong, because if you can only write behind a pseudo name than please write that way. At least you are writing and educating others about mental illness. If that is the way it begins, let it start there. I hope I did not come across judgmental. I am not judging, I am only sharing my views. I hope it is okay. I still applaud you for your fantastic writing and amazing blog. I admire you and thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you do and allowing me to be a contributing writer on your blog. Much love and hugs, Sue

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I see where you are coming from and it makes sense. For me it wasn’t just about writing under a different name because I was afraid, but more that I can be more open when I use my pen name as create this idea. It’s different for each of us and I am glad you are fighting using your real name.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I understand. It makes sense. I wasn’t entirely writing about you when I wrote my word.s I was speaking of the many others as well. I am sorry sometimes I say too much. You are doing great things. Keep it up. Your blog is amazing and has so many followers. You are doing the right thing in an incredible way.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Until I started my current blog (only a week ago), I had always written under pseudonyms. I had a terror of revealing too much about myself and would’ve had unbearable anxiety at the thought of anyone I knew reading anything I wrote.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I have to say I really like it. It flows well, a touch romantic sounding but also realistic . I was surprised the first time I heard it was a pseudonym. Well done. I’m trying to decide on one for myself and it’s really tough. Believable, interesting and memorable is tough.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I thought I would do a follow up to our brief conversation. After talking about your pseudonym I spent a day thinking through various names and combinations until I finally found one that suited me. As I mentioned, I’ve been torn about utilizing a pen-name because it goes against my goal of mental health being an open, honest conversation. Sadly, reality does still creep in. With the work I do, it is important for me to maintain some privacy. If necessary, I would reveal my struggles there, but because of the potential stigma I choose not to. More importantly, I want to feel like I can say whatever I need or want to say on my blog. If I’m censoring, it’s not real and it’s not helpful (to me or anyone else.) So, my writing identity has been born.

        Miranda (a name I’ve always loved, plus there’s the tie to one of my favorite TV shows Firefly – although I recognize it’s a weird element to tie yourself to) Rae (in honor of a dear friend who committed suicide about 2 years ago) Brooks. It feels good to me. Thanks for making a pen-name feel ok and not sketchy or plastic.

        -Miranda

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I am glad you found a pen name that works! It is something that helped me talk about my past and present. It was less about hiding my real name and more about being open to talk. Good luck with your future work under your pen name!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Sometimes I have wondered if I should have used a pseudonym because I share so much personal stuff, especially stuff about my family and history of abuse/trauma. However, part of me really wanted to own my own truth too. I want to be known for who I truly am, even when it scares me. There are a few subjects I have still not dared to broach believe it or not, but maybe I will some day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is why I decided to use my pen name because there were man topics I felt I couldn’t talk about but felt better discussing. It’s different for each of us and I am glad you have he strength to do what works for you!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I too, chose to write under pseudonym. Sometimes I feel Kella is more of me than my real name because I can speak freely about mental health/illness.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Well that put it more in perspective for me. I got to tell you my previous blog was an experiment of persona that seemed to fail whenever I wrote really gut wrenching stuff about abusive relationships or sexuality. I broke it down into six versions of me : Ages 1-5, 5-10, 10-20, 20-30, 30-40, 40-today. Even making crude drawings with my left hand(I’m right handed) to try to embrace whatever age I was portraying. Some people never read the about, so they assumed those were actual kids drawings not drawn by a guy in his late 40’s. So, I trashed that memoir experiment, refocused and started over with Prolific Potpourri. Writing heavy shit but in different poetic styles as me, Matt Snyder. Thus, it has been more of a success.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I totaly agree! I talk a bit about my anxiety and my love/dating life in my blog. I’m normaly a very reserved person and would not be able to comunicate what I do in my blog if I used my name. People that know me in real life have no idea I have this blog… One of the reasons I can’t share a lot of my blog. But the stories are all 100% true, and I think that’s more important to me!

    Loved your post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your point of view is a valid one. Most of my family and friends read my blog but it’s easier to open up writing about my experiences where I can be objective. It’s good to hear that you found a place you can share as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. There still seems to be a stigma around mental illness. Could it be the reason, why many people are afraid to open up and find it hard to take of their masks?

    Liked by 1 person

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