I started using the name Miriam Joy in 2011. Until then I’d been mostly using the username @delorfinde — that was the name I was known by on Protagonize, which was by far the platform where I was most active, but also on Twitter and the NaNoWriMo website and more or less everywhere else I signed up between 2007 and 2011.
(The only place I still use the name delorfinde is on the NaNo website. For a long time you couldn’t change your username, and by the time they added that feature, I was too uncertain about my ongoing plans for my name to feel like committing to a new one.)
For the record, if you’re wondering where that name came from, I wrote about it way back in 2011.
By 2015, if not earlier, I was beginning to think that it had been a mistake to use Miriam Joy. It was too feminine, especially once I started identifying as nonbinary and didn’t want strangers online to default to ‘she’ pronouns. It wasn’t particularly genre-appropriate for the kind of stuff I write.
Nearly two years ago (yikes, already?!), I attempted to make some further progress towards a name change, asking for feedback on a few ideas I’d been playing with.
I have not yet succeeded in changing my professional name, even as I grow increasingly uncomfortable using it.
However, I have made progress. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you may have noticed that while my username remains miriamjoywrites,
my name is displayed as Finn Longmore. This is also the name in the header of my Tumblr. That doesn’t mean that’ll necessarily be the name I stick with.
It’s there because I know that whatever name I choose and no matter how close a connection I feel to it, there will always be an adjustment period. After using one name online for eight years, of course it’ll take time before I feel comfortable with something else. I don’t know if I like Finn Longmore. I have some mixed feelings about it. But I’m not sure if those mixed feelings are because it’s new and unfamiliar, so I thought I’ll try it for a while, and see how I get on, before I go through the fuss and bother of changing my actual usernames everywhere.
“But hang on,” you might be saying. “I know you talked about using Finn, but where did Longmore come from?”
Oh, yeah, that. It was a typo. I took my grade one Irish dance exam in October and when the certificate came through, they’d made it out to Finn Longmore. Everyone at dance calls me Finn and most of them don’t know it’s a nickname, so that part wasn’t a surprise, but the surname was. I joked at the time that I’d been looking for a pseudonym, and the more I thought about it, the more it grew on me.
My actual surname is Longman, as you may be aware. I haven’t ruled out the possibility of using that instead, but I wanted to avoid any ambiguity or confusion with Longman Publishing (mostly an educational imprint), with whom I have no connection whatsoever. I also felt that using a slight variant might help me maintain more separation between my public and personal life — which was part of the reason I dropped my surname from my professional name in the first place.
Like I said, I’m not sure about Longmore. I’m trying it out to see how I feel, but it’s equally as likely that I’ll switch instead to Finn Longman — or, perhaps, an entirely different surname, though I haven’t found one I feel comfortable with as of yet. Given that it’s so new, though, I feel like I need to give it a fair chance.
This does leave me in a slightly tricky situation with regard to querying, however. I’d like to query Butterfly of Night. It’s ready; I have a query and a synopsis stored up from when I did Pitch Wars, and I don’t think there’s any further editing to be done alone. Though I remain confused about the direction my writing career might take (I feel like I’m firmly in the upper YA / lower Adult category and it’s confusing), at the present it’s not going in any direction, and won’t until I force it to.
But do I query as Miriam Joy? If an agent were to Google me, would they find my Twitter and be confused as to why I’m displayed currently as Finn Longmore? I can’t query under a new name at this stage; I haven’t committed to anything, and don’t have an email address ready. I have email addresses in the names Miriam Joy, Miriam Longman, and Finn Longman, so I guess I’m settled if I want to use any of those, but… it’s tricky.
It’s been holding me back for a long time now, because I’m reluctant to put anything more out into the world without knowing what name I want it to be under. That’s why I’m so determined to actually make a decision soon. But, you know, I’ve never felt certain about anything in my entire life, so it’s proving a challenge.
I’m tempted, then, to query as Miriam Joy but to make my pinned tweet a link to this post, therefore explaining the current status of my name-changing attempts and to clarify the situation with regard to my Twitter display name / username mismatch. It’s still the name that virtually all my internet activities are under, so it’s probably the best option I’ve got.
(Not that that’s necessarily a good thing. I have been on the internet a LONG time, and I’ve posted a lot of rubbish. Once I finally make a decision, I’ll be faced with a choice: either I embark on the laborious process of changing my username and URL and updating Every Link I’ve Ever Posted, or I archive this blog and start afresh with a new site. But that’s not a decision I can make at this stage.)
Anyway, that’s the current situation. If you’ve any thoughts on Finn Longmore versus Finn Longman, or any other suggestions to make, I’m always keen to hear them.