Posted by: Matt Q. McGovern | September 16, 2015

Writing without a name

During a recent web surfing session I found myself reading some anonymous writing. After spending a good amount of time on it, I was reminded of the positive experience – to the writer’s point of view as well as the reader’s – that I’ve seen to be consistent with the writings of mostly nameless authors. (There are many authors I read online that give their full names as well as those that just go by a nickname/avatar).

The first time I discovered anonymous writing was on a mainframe terminal with a monochrome green on black screen (showing my age here Winking smile ). I was on the internet finding my way around news servers and I stumbled upon some writing forums/groups where anybody could submit their writing, usually categorized by a particular theme. Nowadays, this is commonplace, of course. It was remarkable to me at the time because I wasn’t expecting it; I felt like I found a secret treasure trove of writing without knowing how much there was.

I’m not likely to replace my first memory of being in a library any time soon – that youthful feeling of wonder I experienced as a child – with this digital discovery. But it was very comparable. Part of the wonder of online writing I felt was that there were no boundaries. I could find just about any genre represented, and there were many short “scenes” of writing fragments such that it gave the impression of some experimental subject matter. Writers could try stuff out completely unhindered by what anyone might think.

This characteristic made a big impression on me as a young reader, and years later would have an equally big effect on me when I first started writing.

At the time, email group lists were popular and I created one that was international (blogs would accomplish the same thing nowadays). Aside from the basic rules of civility the only rule was that each post to the list had to be a writing post and not discussion.

The list had a good run and I found that the most productivity happened when people didn’t know each other.

The lack of boundaries and anonymity may provide for a more intense and less restricted expression of the muse.

Over the years since, I’ve made several anonymous blogs, and still get the urge to do so every once in a while. It can serve as an effective exercise to jumpstart a new writing idea, or just give you something to write about while you’re in between projects.

Or it could just give you a really great escape for you as a reader since you’re not hindered by what you’re looking for because you haven’t found it yet. Winking smile

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