I’ve had a few people lately who have asked me why I don’t use my real name on this site. I’ve certainly thought about it from time to time, especially as I’ve been blogging under an semi-anonymous identity for about eight years now (six years on another site and two years here). It isn’t like it’s all that hard to find, but why not just put it out there?
My name is Jamie Grove.
There. I said it.
I guess I’ve always had this little identity problem. I’m not alone in this. I’ve read about plenty of writers who have gone through the same sort of problems.
As a eulogy to my mask, here’s a little story about how I came to be afraid of my own name…
I got hooked on writing because my fifth grade teacher let me skip class.
A friend of mine was working on a long story that spilled over into multiple chapters and detailed illustrations. The teacher was so excited that she let him work in the hall for an hour a day. To me, this looked like an easy way to ditch class so I started writing a story too… The same story my friend was writing, only it wasn’t as good.
I remember how quiet it was in the hall…
My friend made steady progress on his book, while I started to wonder what I was doing out there. My thoughts began to wander and I found myself scribbling a few ideas of my own.
After a few weeks, my friend finished his book. The librarian bound up his book and made it available for checkout in the school library.
But when I was asked to show what I had, I turned in a pile of messy notes instead of the book. Something about seeing all those thoughts and feelings with my name on it terrified me. I froze up and could not force myself to produce the work I’d struggled to create.
This is something that’s happened to me again and again, but now it’s time to say good-bye to all that.
It is a waste of time and energy to keep secrets about yourself. You care way more than other people care about your life and what you may or may not have done. It is best to open up, vent, move on, and advance to the next stage. Let others worry about hiding in the corner.
— The Masked Millionaire
More About Me
You can find out about my professional life via my LinkedIn profile http://www.linkedin.com/in/jamiegrove.
Below is a picture of me before I got half loaded at the Irish Lion in Bloomington, IN. I highly recommend this pub.
I really have written two bad novels and lots of short stories. Those all bear my name… And yes, I do indeed have a journal crammed with 2MM words.
If you’re still not sure about coming out, check out this older article by Sonia Simone, Come Out of the Closet:
No one gives a rat’s ass about the huge investment of energy you spend trying to be like everyone else.
Most of us spend our time and energy carefully cultivating our masks. And those masks are almost universally a) laughably transparent, and/or b) boring.
It seems simple, and it is, but it’s also hard. Being remarkable means being different. “Different” is not actually all that far from “weird.”
One of the great cornerstones of marketing (note to self, must add this to the marketing tool kit for my newsletter) is differentiation. You’ll also see it called the unique value proposition or unique selling proposition. You need to find out, and communicate, what makes you unlike all of your customers’ other options. What makes you uniquely valuable. What makes you interesting. What makes you remarkable.
What makes you weird.
I hope this post of mine inspires other writers to come out of the world of anonymous blogging. Chuck the masks and get on with life!