Dueling Identities

Have you ever met yourself coming and going? It seems that is all I have been doing. It’s like my two identities are stuck in a revolving door.

I’ve been trying to figure out my place in this writing world, which has left me in the driver’s seat wandering around aimlessly. That’s not to say that I have been ignoring my writerly-self. I’ve just been making a lot of pit-stops along the way.

Some of those stops have been constructive. Others not so much. I guess all this confusion and aimless wandering is a consequence of my indecisiveness. If there is one thing I dislike, it’s making decisions especially when the pros and cons balance out.

When I first began writing, I had decided, without a doubt, to use a pen name. Out of that decision birthed Renee Lynn Scott. At the time, I was dipping my pen into Scottish historicals. Not because they were popular. Not because I thought I could write them better than anyone else. No, I began writing them because I have a weird kind of connection to that magical land of Celts, both Scottish and Irish alike. The fables passed down through the ages thrum through my blood. It’s a part of me. A part of who I am.

Ever since I can remember I’ve had visions of standing on the craggy cliffs as the mist from the frigid ocean bathed my cheeks, so it was quite natural for me to be drawn to Scotland.

(I’m trying to stay on track, but y’all know me. I’m the queen of rabbit trailing.)

Then one day (or I should say night), D paid me a visit. She stood on a hill with her back toward me. Her chestnut tresses whipped near horizontal with the steady gust of wind. Her ankle-length prairie skit tangled around her legs. She beckoned me. Not with her eyes, nor with her hands. No, she called out to me with her isolated silence. She asked me to write her story and to give her a happily ever after.

My dilemma? She wasn’t in Scotland. No, she stood on a hill, virtually in my backyard. A place I had sworn to never use as a setting. So, before the ink on the Scottish historical was even dry, I hopped across the ocean, navigated the Mississippi and found myself in Kansas, a place I had thought was as drab and dreary as the cracked earth in the desert.

Renee was no longer just a Scottish historical writer, she was now a Western writer.

And then, came this undeniable calling to write a Biblical Inspirational Romance (that is another story for another day).

So . . . you can see why I’ve been roaming around as if I don’t have a clue. I’ve been torn between two identities and three-four genres. The good news is for the last few months I’ve been following a map. I’ve remained focused and haven’t taken any pit-stops, which means I’m almost complete with one project, which means, hopefully, soon it will be out on submission.

Somehow I’ve got to find a way to share my time with myself. Not an easy thing to do when writing time always seems so very limited. But I’ll figure it out a way to halt the battle between my two identities and bring them into constructive working order.

To Pseudo or not to Pseudo

It’s been a long while hasn’t it? Well, sometimes life gets in the way. I’ve also come to the realization that there are times in a writer’s life when we slip into heavy contemplations. I say heavy because we often, (at least I do), sit in contemplation mode until I can make a decision. And decisions, no matter how minor, are one of those things I dislike.

I suppose you expect me to tell you here and now that I’ve quit writing, but that’s not the case. In fact quite the opposite. I’ve just been working on a plethora of things that my time hasn’t been conducive to blogging.

Which brings me to my contemplations.

When I first started writing I wasn’t sure who I was. Over the last few years I’ve grown, not only as a writer but as a person. I no longer try to blend in with the wall-flowers (all right, there are occasions). I’ve also grown in my relationship with my God. But the journey here has been confusing, not only for me but I’m sure for my readers as well. You get what you see, right? I’m real. I’m not fake. Yeah, I might use a pen name but that has nothing to do with hiding and everything to do with branding.

Let me explain. My university novel, my first, was a Scottish set in 1603. My real name doesn’t say Scottish Historicals like say Kathy Maxwell. And when I decided to start writing Westerns, my real name still doesn’t say Cowboys and feisty damsels that don’t know they’re in distress. But writing Ancient Biblical romance, yeah, my real name works.

It took me a long while to decide whether or not to keep my pen name. When I asked for advice it often came down to one question: What do you have to hide? Well, nothing. At least not that I know of. But I just couldn’t bring myself to do away with my pen name. I mean come on, I like it. And it means something to me. So I waited. In confusion. And I waited. And wondered, would I have to hang the pen name from the nearest tree?

Thanks to a discussion on one of my writers’ loops and to a few industry professionals who answered, I’ve made my decision. Renee Lynn Scott is here to stay unless a future agent/editor asks me to do away with it.

Renee will continue writing romantice Westerns and Pioneer full of faith. And if you’re interested in my journey writing Biblical Romance, you can find me here.

Hopefully now that I’ve made a firm decision about my writing there will be less confusion in my brain.