As a writer, your name is your money-maker.
A byline links you to your work, web presence and influence. So, what’s a writer to do when a name change looms?
Stop and think, a lot!
Marriage, divorce, adoption or privacy concerns may lead you to consider changing your name, but if you’ve started building your career on the moniker, it can be a tough decision. Publicly, you may want to stick to your original name to avoid confusing your readers. Then, use your new legal name for all personal situations.
I write under the name I was born with.
I know writers who use pseudonyms, a hyphenated last name, their first and middle name initials in place of their first name or shortened versions of their legal last name. You have options!
I have chosen to stick with my legal birth name for a few reasons:
- Career Consistency: My writing and photography career were both well underway long before I said “I Do!”, and are still in place after getting divorced. I felt it would be difficult to explain to future clients that the name on all my samples is actually me after going through a public name change. I didn’t want to lose 10+ years of career building by changing my name online after I got married.
- Privacy: When I was married, and legally changed my last name, it was nice to have a separation between my personal and professional life online. News and updates related to work were communicated on my business social media accounts under my maiden name.
- Ease of Communicating: My maiden name is easier to spell and pronounce than my married was, so, all-in-all, it made sense to stick with the name I was born with for professional use!
Have you had to make decisions about what name to use for your online work? Do you use a pseudonym? Have you hyphenated two last names? Let’s chat in the comments below or on Facebook.
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Note: This blog post was last updated on May 4, 2022.