Writer, Oh the Decisions! How to make them and not lose your mind

Craigs' Legacy by Terry CampbellI recently put out the call for guest columnists and the submissions have started to trickle in!

Bobbye showed up with this piece about pseudonyms that made me laugh and cringe (to the truth of it)! Ah! The life of today’s writer!

I hope you enjoy it, too! Let me know! Comments welcome below!


Once upon a time, life was simple. Okay, it never was, but it was less complicated than now. When I first began writing, I wrote only as Terry Campbell, one writing name, no confusion. One genre, short romantic contemporary. E-mail wasn’t as important and blogs barely existed, along with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Ning, etc. Self-publishing was frowned upon. Electronic publishing was in its infancy and was trashed by many print-publishers and authors. I still have the scars to prove it (despite the fact I was also print published by a big house).

Fast-forward to current day and witness the schizophrenic person I am today. I’d decided to write solo and needed to make decisions about pseudonyms. Additionally, I had to plan how to spend my time. What I did is outlined here. Take what helps and throw away the rest—and please don’t judge my sanity. I haven’t been declared incompetent yet.

Pseudonyms. Do I or don’t I?
To quote from part of my poem, Schizophrenia:

We often write with pseudonyms,
And I can be a guy named Jim,
Or I could be a girl named Sue,
So no one knows which gender’s true.

Many writers have multiple writing personas — should I write as myself, Bobbye Terry, or under a pseudonym? Should I write in one genre or more? If more than one genre, do I need more than one name? Oh, the decisions! Please bring the meds … ah, much better. For me, I initially thought I should leave my own name alone, but then discovered many references existed under Bobbye Terry, “half of the writing team of Terry Campbell.” I’d blown my cover.

Next, what to write? Half my time would be spent writing fantasy and half writing suspense. To me, it made sense that my real name should be my mystery name and the fantasy books would be written by a fantasy person. How should I pick that name? I determined it shouldn’t be too long and the first name should be gender-neutral. For fantasy, how about Daryn? It had a female twist but would leave you guessing. The last name? My books all dealt with the war against evil and the victory of light over dark. What better last name than Cross? If it were good enough for James Patterson’s hero, it was good enough for me. Then I needed to do a Google and Amazon search to make sure few if any real people existed with the name and none had a book listed.

How to Spend My Time and Where?
I quickly realized I couldn’t spend all my time marketing and creating a buzz if I were going to have books to sell. I’m fortunate–I write quickly and without much plotting. Please don’t call me an organic writer. Soil is organic, not me. However I still had to make some of those agonizing decisions. Okay, I wouldn’t try to write every day on my blog, but I would have two, one as Bobbye Terry and one as Daryn Cross. I would always admit to using both names, unlike some of my writer pals who shall remain nameless, but I’d be clear that Bobbye Terry wrote mystery and Daryn Cross wrote fantasy. One person can live with only so much schizophrenia. To keep the blogs interesting, I’d enter a couple of blogfests a month and also solicit guest bloggers and interviews.

Next, I’d make a conscious effort to tweet regularly but not spend more than a half-hour a day on Twitter. Facebook I left as a spot for commiserating with friends and making announcements. Twitter worked better for me. It was fast. I decided to stay on a gazillion listservs, but only answer them as I could. If time permitted, I’d answer more. I also set a minimum for writing per day to 1500 words, a manageable amount to keep me on track.

End result: After a year-and-a-half, I have one book out and nine books coming out this year, five novels and four novellas. I will also have short stories in five anthologies. So far, one novel is scheduled for 2012, but I have an excellent chance of at least two more being scheduled in the next two months. It just goes to show a little planning and determination can go a long way. You can do it too, but I can’t promise you won’t become as schizo as I am.

About the Guest Columnist: Bobbye Terry is the muti-published writer of romantic comedy, suspense and fantasy. She also writes under the pseudonyms Daryn Cross and Terry Campbell and has books out or slated for publication through Black Opal Books, Crescent Moon Press, Eternal Press, L&L Dreamspell and Turquoise Morning Press. Her next novel release will be as Terry Campbell in the novel, Craigs’ Legacy on February 11th through Black Opal Books, and she will have the short story, “The Legend of the True Love Angel” in Turquoise Morning Press’ Be Mine, Valentine anthology.

You may also like...

  • Tina says:

    Thanks for sharing all of your personalities with us! Luckily, I only write one genre so I can get away with using one name. And since I can barely keep track of what that one person is up to, I stuck with my real one. I still feel kinda multiple however.

  • Bobbye Terry says:

    Thanks for stopping by, Tina. Re: multiple personalities, that’s all the characters mumbling in your head. Excuse me, two of mine are arguing right now…

  • Great post and this is exactly how I feel most days. Which way do I go? What do I do first? Thanks for sharing!!!

  • This was fun, Bobbye! I’m just starting to think about pseudonyms, as I also write YA. Don’t need it yet but conventional wisdom says it’s never too early to plan…

  • Bobbye Terry says:

    Rachel and Christine,
    Thanks for dropping by! It’s hard to keep on top of everything. Re: pseudonyms, Christine, make sure you love it/them becuase you’ll have to see them for a long time.

  • Excellent post. I used to write under a pseudonym and have recently started to use my real name. Love how organized you are.

  • Margaret says:

    Great post, Bobbye! My first 2 books are coming out under my own name, but I have another in the works that may be subbed under a pseudonym. I’m already dreading the extra work. I love that you limit your online time. That’s something I’ve been struggling with lately. It’s time to get back into my cave and write! Thanks for sharing this!

  • Caroline Clemmons says:

    Bobbye, yours is a good kind of schitzophenia! LOL I’m reading FAT CHANCE now, and loving it.

  • Beth Barany says:

    Thanks for stopping by everyone! Tina, Rachel, Christine, Tracy, Margaret, and Caroline!

    And to Bobbye for writing such a fun article!

    I’m starting to seed my writer name out there, Dora Wolfe, and love hearing how organized and light-hearted you are, Bobbye, about your pseudonym life. Your 1500 word minimum is reasonable. How do you handle the editing? If you do any?! Also, what made you admit to using all your names? Does it help your sales?

    Thanks again for your guest post, and I look forward to more. (Emailing you about that!)

  • Loved it, Bobbye. What a hoot. Just one question: How many pillows are on your bed?

  • AmiaEagle says:

    I loved this! I only have one pseudonym, (and it’s my Native name), but it’s driving me crazy along with most of us keeping up the Facebook, Tweets, etc. Unfortunately, I don’t write as fast as Bobbye, so if I have a good day with my actual writing, then my correspondence suffers and vice versa. I enjoyed your guest, Beth. You had a great idea. Jeanne Amequohi, aka AmiaEagle signing off.

  • Bobbye! Awesome blog and funny too! Thanks for sharing. You made my night.

  • Beth Barany says:

    Bobbye, Thanks so much for being my guest columnist today. I look forward to future posts of yours at the Writer’s Fun Zone!

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Beth Barany and Daryn Cross. Daryn Cross said: Come visit at me for a blog on pseudonyms: http://tinyurl.com/4hltw6j […]

  • >