Since I started publishing on Kindle I have been writing under two pen names. Authors have all kinds of reasons for doing this and mine at the time was to have one name dedicated to the 1929 series and have the other free to play around with all sorts of genres without tainting the seriousness of 1929. That worked fine for a while as I would actually get into a different mindset and developed a slightly different writing style with each personality. Come to find out, I’m not a good schizophrenic. Both names, websites, blogs and emails quickly became too much. I have decided to merge the names, eventually dropping Jane Carrington for good. In the process of purging everything Jane related, I realized that this wasn’t solely based on separating genres. It was based on fear. Deep down I figured that if the books from one pen name flopped, that one could fade into the sunset and I’d have another to fall back on. I don’t need to be a self-help guru to tell you that fear based decisions fail, as this one did. It created more work, hindered productivity and helped me stay safe in my shell. I’m a Cancer sign and I really really like my shell. I also like parenthesis and commas, but, that’s another story.
When I realized this was holding me back I had to do something about it. That meant stepping out of my comfort zone and beginning the process of merging. It’s something I wish I hadn’t done now because not only is it a digital nightmare, but it’s delayed the process of growing that I have needed. While I’m at it, I will tell you the meaning behind the M.L. Gardner pen name. M is for my first name, Molly. L is for the Muse’s first name who is a vital piece of the plotting and planning of the series. I wanted to give her some recognition for that. Gardner is my grandmother’s maiden name.
We all need to step out of our comfort zone in order to grow and expand the awesome experience of living. Whether an author, a stay at home mom, or a waitress at Bee’s cafe (located in Roy, Utah right off the freeway and makes frigging fantastic food–sorry had to plug for a dear friend that works there) Everyone should challenge themselves to do something that takes them out of their proverbial shell and break free from whatever is holding them back. I’ve spilled my secret, now tell me yours. What’s holding you back? And more importantly, what are you going to do about it?