Nov 29, 2011

To Pen Or Not To Pen

By Leesa Ostrander

I have been thinking about if I would use a pen name. I came across a site by Jamie Hall, with a list of reasons why you would choose to use a pen name.
I said yes to the first two. My maiden name and married name are both hard to spell, say and are very long. My maiden name is Christensen and married is Ostrander (pronounce “ah-strander”).
Both uncomfortable.
So I have been thinking of adopting my grandmother’s married name. She is my inspiration many days. Since her death a few years ago, I feel I could honor her this way. Her married name is Berry. Leesa Berry. What do you think?
The question is why would a pen name suit me? The article’s author suggests trying out the pen name and seeing how people react.
Here is goes: Hi my name is Leesa Berry and I am a closet writer.
Or, Hi my name is Leesa Garrett and I am still a closet writer with two books on my hard drive.
Well, what do you think?
The topic as to why I have thought of using a pen name is not on this list. I would want to use a pen name because when my students search me on the Internet I want my writing to be separate from my day job. I know it will still come around if searched carefully.
What do you think is a benefit of using your birth name, married name or pen name?


  1. I completely understand your reason of keeping your writing separate from you day job. I hadn't thought about that.

    All good thoughts to ponder...I'll come back after I've thought about it a little more.

  2. I love pen names and def intend to use them IF I ever decide to write fiction. It works for many different reasons.

  3. I don't think Christensen is too hard, but Ostrander . . . yeah. Tricky. I like Leesa Berry. Or Garrett. Both are nice.

  4. I agree with Wendy. I agree about the separation of day work from writing. I also think the separation of genres and children's fiction from adult fiction can be a good use of a pen name good.

  5. Great thoughts everyone!!! Thanks for helping


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