Identity. One of those words that loses all meaning the more you type it.

Identity fiction writing coke advert

That’s not my name!
Courtesy http://www.funnycommercialsworld.com

Over the weekend I had a response to my post about what name to write under. The person told me to use my real name and to be proud. Wise words indeed, although not actually applicable to me.

Nice is my real name. Actually, it’s my maiden name. I changed my name when I got married, partly because I got fed up of people telling me what a ‘nice’ person I must be and partly because the double barrel didn’t sound right.

But I was a Nice when I started writing. I was a Nice when I discovered fantasy. I was a Nice throughout all those years of writing, exploring genres and ideas and completing three or four novels. The Nice part of me is the fiction writer, and I don’t want to lose that.

That was my internal response to that tweet, followed by a quick thought as to whether I should double barrel my name. And then I realised, as I have before, that I feel like two different people with my different names. The Nice part of me is the younger, carefree fiction writer, whereas my now name feels much more grown up and wiser (perhaps in part because I write non-fiction and copy under my married name).

I’m the same person, almost, as I was then and a name certainly hasn’t changed me. Age and experience have. Perhaps having a cemented partnership in my husband has an influence on this swing of identities. I wonder if I would feel the same if I had kept my maiden name.

Maybe that’s another reason people use a pseudonym. Not just to escape a similar name to another author, or protect their identity as an erotic author from their teaching primary school. Maybe it can be just as simple as feeling the need to be someone else. That’s what writing does, after all. It allows you to become someone else.

Although that brings me back to that tweet I received, because no matter how much writing fiction allows you to go and do things you would never do in the real world, it is still you. We should all be proud of who we are and stamp that on our work. We are not what we write, but we do own it and it is a part of us.
I am proud of who I am and what I write. But I feel I owe it to the carefree, young Nice in me to write under my maiden name. She’s the writer, she did all the hard work and she deserves the recognition.

Poll results

And in light of all that, I have the results of my poll about what name I should write under.

There were 17 votes in all and only one person voted that they don’t look at the name. That doesn’t mean much, other people might not care but still wanted to help me choose a name!

What is interesting is that one of the top two answers was the name I currently write under, J E Nice. Is this because it’s short and snappy, or because it hides my gender? After all this, did I have it right all along?

Before I looked at the results, I was leaning more towards Jen E Nice. My reasoning is stupid – say it out loud and it sounds like Jenny Nice *snigger*. Most of you didn’t agree though (thank you to the three people who did!).

The winner of the poll was Jen Emily Nice, which I rather love. It shows that I’m proud to be female and also allows me to show off all three of my names, all of which I like.

However, it comes with a problem which I didn’t mention before. It’s a long winded explanation which I didn’t want to get into but I also, I forgot about it. I won’t go into it here, just know that it’s complicated in a boring way.
I have some thinking to do. I’m aiming to make a decision by the end of this week, so be warned, you might see my name change.

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