Dear Zulie… should I use a pen name on Medium?

Who knows who’s hiding behind a computer?

What are your thoughts on using a pen name in Medium? I have lots to say as a single 40-something dad trying to navigate this world, but I want to protect my kids for now from my content. It’s not dirty – just honest. Any suggestions?

-Eli, from the CoachDaddy blog.

Hi Eli,

You might know this already, but Zulie Rane is a pen name! I changed mine about one month into my writing journey on Medium and have never once looked back.

Honesty matters on Medium – and anonymity can help.

First, it’s worked really well for me because I never worry about my friends or family reading anything about them, and I can freely tell my story without needing like I need to moderate it to avoid offending anyone. I change names in my stories, but my experiences are personal and I love feeling like I’m completely unhindered when it comes to being honest and personal – two qualities which are important when it comes to writing successful stories on Medium.

My Medium pen name lets me build a name for my writing career.

Plus, my given name is quite common so the pen name means I stand out more which has worked well for me.  Google “Zulie Rane” and you’ll see what I mean – I think I’m the only one out there!

The worst case scenario is that I get work under my pen name rather than my given name off the back of one of my Medium stories – in that case, you can come clean and explain your thoughts, or stick to your pen name! I’ve created an Instagram, a Facebook, and even a LinkedIn to share my articles. I’m actively hoping someone will contact me on one of those channels for a Zulie-related opportunity.

I have to say, the only downside to using a pen name on Medium is that it can kind of take over your life. Zulie is her own person now – she’s more outgoing than me, she’s more honest than I am, and she’s a lot more confident putting herself out there. Personally, I hate self-promotion, something that can be a little necessary when it comes to getting big numbers on Medium. Zulie? She doesn’t care – she knows she’s great at writing and she’s not afraid to tell others.

So actually, maybe an upside!

My advice to anyone wondering whether a pen name would work on Medium? Go for it. For me, it lets me be much more vulnerable in my storytelling and it’s given my writing a virtual life of its own.

Happy writing!

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