October 31, 2014

Tap Into Your Inner 12 Year Old Through Method-Writing

How a Pen Name Can Help You Write Like a Boss

Walk the mall as a pirate and talk to shoppers in a salty voice.

Remember making prank calls?  Faking a foreign language on an elevator just to get a rise out of the other riders?  Donning an unnecessary eye patch?  Packing up all of your worldly possessions in a bandana, tying it to a broomstick and declaring with a flourish that you were moving out?

Whatever your affectation or farce du jour, tap into it.  Get in character – or get into someone else’s.  Let Twitter, or some real-life antics, become your muse - the cure for your stale writing syndrome.

Create a method profile, wherein you can quickly change the profile image and bio to mirror your inspiration of the day – or moment. Don a fake mustache, crutch, or uniform. Or, take a stroll around town with a fanciful cane, a trumped up accent and engage strangers.

Then tweet about it from your method madness Twitter profile. Use the reactions of unsuspecting tweeps to the faux-you to move your writing from stale and stagnant to fresh, freaky, or downright funky. Think of it as a revolving door, or temporary insanity, whatever works.

Fake it and see which of your personas make the cut for public consumption.

Or don’t.

Tomorrow allows room for another image and bio entirely.

Who cares what people think about what you write?  It’s not you doing the talking — or free-styling — it’s Ivana Hump, Monsieur Monocle, or that peg-legged fellow in the crow’s nest, whose parrot has a freakishly foul mouth and a Cockney accent.

Character Counts

By getting into character, you can impose method to what may otherwise look like madness, or worse, an exercise in self-indulgence.  In the words of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, “Let your freak flag fly.”  Keep it real — you know: “Free your mind and the rest will follow” (insert gratuitous sexy femme silhouette) in the spirit of the less immortal, yet spot-on, lyrics of eighties girl-group En Vogue.

Writers have assumed nom-de-plumes since, well, as long as there have been plumes. Anonymity can liberate your mind and free your writing from mediocrity.

But, only fiction writers use pen names. Right? Wrong.

Back in the day of the Bard, female writers used male pseudonyms when they submitted their work for publication so publishers and editors would take them more seriously. If you remember your history, the culture of the middle ages, and societal mores even long after, frowned upon the notion of women working outside the realm of household (or estate) management.

Even men used pen names when writing about controversial topics. They wrote literary criticisms, talked frankly about dysfunction in the politics and culture of the day, through the power of their pens and the protection of their faux personas. Writers of both genders used closely guarded pen names when they turned their purple pens to erotica.

Clearly, writing behind the veil of a pseudonym has always served many functions — some practical, some whimsical, some inspirational–paramount:  LIBERTE’!  Go on and get some – liberty.

Modern Day Patrons of the Pen Name

Clark, allegedly playing the truant and chatting up some school skipping teens.

One of the masters of spreading sparkle and shine in the online content world, Brian Clark, uses a pen name. Not sure we’ll divulge his actual pen name here – find out for yourself like we had to. While we know Clark uses a certain nom-du-plume for posts with a little more [ahem] edge than readers can find in his amazing work on the Copyblogger site, we suspect other online powerhouses may use them as well.

 

Who knows?

Perhaps that tantalizingly odd, strangely enticing and interesting new twitter follower is really Pete Cashmore using a nom-de-plume to pull himself out of a techno-genius writing slump.

Or maybe that sweet, smart, avian-like girl chatting you up lately on Google Plus wears boxers and writes best selling youth fiction in real life. Anyone ever hear of an author named James Patterson, famous for his Maximum Ride series for teens and numerous best-selling adult thriller novels? Course you have.

It’s Not About Dishonesty

Don’t make the mistake of using a pen name to dupe your friends or accomplish any sophomoric sleuthing. They’ll find you out, probably take offense, and never return to the full trust relationship you enjoyed before the indelible blight of betrayal appeared. Use your method madness profile to talk to those with whom you wouldn’t otherwise connect. Ask bold questions and discuss topics that would make the real you cower behind the sofa.

Then write about it. Like a boss.

 

Photo credits: staugustineduckrace dot com, bbc dot co dot uk (with permission)


About Samantha Gluck

Not only am I the chief editor of this multi-author online magazine, I'm a content creator and social media marketing strategist with a background in journalism, finance, & healthcare. I began my content marketing agency, All Media Freelance, LLC, in 2010 and lead a well-rounded, talented team of multi-channel content strategists and niche writers. I've developed and managed print and digital content projects for health care, fitness, financial services, mental health, non-profit, and automotive publishers, as well as for biotechnology brands.

Comments

  1. Um, I hate to break it to you, but I don’t write under a pen name anywhere. At least not yet.
    Brian Clark recently posted..Happy Holidays from Copyblogger!My Profile

    • What? You mean you’re not “Hotpants Harold” who’s been following me and giving me copy advice? No freaking way. I’m confounded. So confounded, that I may have to be truant from my basket weaving class today! xoxo Brian. Thanks for stopping by. #excusemewhileipassout

      • “Brian Clark” (if that is your real name?,-) has an heroic ring to it…sounds like you may hop into a phone booth, don a cape & save the world one Copyblog at a time. No? A girl can dream, can’t she? I, for one, adore a man in tights! Super Happy Holidays from Freelance Writing Dreams

  2. Krishan Tandon says:

    Enjoyed reading this. You incorporated some of my thoughts. Felt nice. I recalled a piece I had written on ‘ On not answering the phone ‘.

    Our greetings to you for the coming new year with wishes for lots of joy for the family and wonderful write ups from your pen.

    • I don’t think Amy and I have seen your posts. Please send some links our way. We’d enjoy checking out your thoughts as well, especially if yours jive with our sparkly ideas! Thanks for dropping by Krishan and Happy New Year to you from all of us at FWD.

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