Hello and happy Wednesday!
We’re almost halfway through the blog tour for The Toymaker’s Doll, and I’m just blown away by the supportive and encouraging community that’s taken part. Each message of congratulations or of thoughts on the story make my day. I’ve been so very blessed!
The Toymaker’s Doll is my first published story (which you can learn more about by clicking on its name above), but I’ve been writing, blogging, and sharing my stories for quite a while now. And doing so under the name of E. G. Bella.
I don’t think it will be any surprise that E. G. Bella is a pen name. Many people that publish using initials are either using a pen name, or at least shortening their real name. Maybe they think it sounds better, maybe it fits their genre more, maybe it fits better on book covers…there are many reasons writers choose to alter their real names or adopt completely separate ‘pen names’ for their writing endeavors.
Not everyone does, of course. Just as many people use pen names, there are also plenty that use their real names. It all comes down to the writer themselves, and their writing goals. Do they want to keep their writing and their personal life more separate? Do they want to link them? Do they think their real name is suitable for the genre they want to write in, or would they rather take a more stylistic approach and change it to something more fitting?
There’s no right or wrong answer. Just the answer that works best for you.
I messed around with what name to use with my writing for quite a while. At first I tried my real name, or my real name with initials. But as I thought about where I wanted to go with my writing, I decided I’d prefer to keep a little more anonymity. Not that I’m going to obsess over keeping my ‘real identity’ secret, but I’d rather not plaster my real name across the internet either. If someone knows me enough to know my real name already, than I don’t mind them knowing the connection to my pen name. If not, I’d rather not share it.
But if I was going to use a pen name, what one would I even choose? I wanted to be sure of it. After all, I was essentially renaming myself – my author side, anyway. My website, my books, my blogging, would all be done under this name, so it had to be something that fit. And because I write in so many genres, I didn’t want to pick anything that only seemed tailored to one or two.
As those closest to me know, I’ve never been good at making decisions. I’m very indecisive and second-guess just about everything. No matter what name I considered, I could always find a reason that it was off, or that it just didn’t fit me. After a while, I realized my problem. The names didn’t have meaning, which is something I prefer to keep in every aspect of my life. Picking a name that looked or sounded nice wasn’t enough – it had to mean something.
Which is how I ended up choosing E. G. Bella, a name honestly packed with meaning.
The initial ‘E’ is a nod to my name in real life (which is as much as you’re getting from me, haha). So it was definitely the most straightforward part of the pen name to figure out.
The initial ‘G’ is a reference to my older brother, who is no longer on earth, but was one of my first and most passionate encouragers of my writing. He was always willing to patiently listen to my stories, and as kids do, we had many plans and dreams to turn my stories into all sorts of things: series, movies, radio dramas, even games. Including his name with the one I used for those stories felt right. Like I was bringing him right along with me.
The name ‘Bella’ serves several purposes. First of all, it references another dear friend, who is also no longer on earth, but enjoyed writing as well, and even self-published a book of her own. Just as with my brother, it felt right to ‘bring her along’ too, as she was such a inspiration and encouragement to me. She had many plans to continue writing her own stories, and I was really looking forward to reading them.
(For those who’ve read The Toymaker’s Doll, this is where the stuffed kitten Isabel gets her name. In many ways, she was inspired by my sweet friend.)
‘Bella’ is also one shortened form of Isabel/Isabella, which means ‘devoted to God’. And it serves as a constant reminder of why I’m writing and publishing. Every time I see or read my pen name, I’m reminded that I’m ultimately devoting it all to Him. Every book, every blog post, every email . . . it’s all for Him to use for His glory and His perfect purposes. It helps me to keep my focus in the right place and not be distracted by other things.
And so every part of my pen name contains meaning to me. It reminds me of several loved ones who greatly impacted my writing journey, and also keeps me journeying in the right direction. And while I wondered at first if the two initials would make me seem impersonal (referring to myself as E. G. just didn’t seem to fit, but using the full E. G. Bella seemed too formal for all the time), I often just go by Bella, and it works perfectly. It fits well.
I don’t regret using a pen name at all – and definitely not the one I’ve chosen. It’s given me that separation between personal and author life, and it’s also served to inspire, encourage, and remind me of why I’m writing in the first place. I don’t feel any sense of sadness over not seeing my real name on book covers, because E. G. Bella is still me. Every part of the name speaks to who I am and what’s brought me to this place in my writing journey.
My real name is my birth name, but E. G. Bella references many of the people, experiences, and lessons that ‘birthed’ my author self. The name is practically a story in itself, and I always enjoy explaining it and telling that story to others. I don’t ever plan on changing it.
So if you see an E. G. Bella floating around the internet, chances are it’s probably me.
And it feels like me. It never feels fake or like I’m trying to hide or play tricks on people. There’s so much meaning in it, so much personal experience behind it, that I feel at ease introducing myself as that name. When it comes to my writing, I really am her. She’s me.
I am E. G. Bella.
Everyone’s situation is different, and neither the choice to use a pen name or to use a given name is right or wrong. In the end, all that matters is that the author themselves is content with it. But with the release of my first published story, I thought I’d take a moment to share the reasons behind my pen name. Thanks for sticking around!
What are YOUR thoughts on using a pen name? If you’re a writer, do you use one, or would you consider it? Or do you prefer to use your real name? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so let me know in the comments below!