On the Yes Side:
For one thing, I don’t write this blog under my real name, mostly because I talk about my job and because the internet being what it is I would rather not have my personal and (dubiously) professional life connected.
Even if I did use a pseudonym, it would probably be just a cut-up version of my first name and my actual last name. This is because the fields I want to work in–hard science fiction and comic books–are traditionally male and I am named after a princess. I don’t want anyone seeing my girly-ass name on the cover of something and assuming it is a paranormal romance instead of blood n’ guts n’ spaceships. I’ve always kind of liked those authors whose names are asexual. Maybe that’s sexist of me. But I think it wipes away some of the preconceived notions (or maybe I’ve taken one to many Victorian Literature and Gender Stereotypes classes).
I’d also like to work in academia someday, and most Super Official Universities don’t go all hearts-and-unicorns if their professors write genre fiction. That said, I wouldn’t make a pen name a secret–more Lewis Carroll than Lemony Snicket. Sure, the pen name would be on there but if someone really liked my stuff it wouldn’t be hard to find that Ms. X isn’t my real name.
On the No Side:
What if I pick a pen name and decide that it sucks three years later? Then you have the issue of some works being under one name and the rest being under another. Or you have to see your stuff under the name of “H.G.P.G. McLongname” which you thought was totally creative when you were a perpetually drunken undergrad, but which you now see is stupid.
Or there’s the whole thing that it’s kind of nice to have stuff you’re proud of under your own name. There’s a little extra thrill, I think. You’re signing your credit card receipts with your Author-y Name.
Plus I’ve never quite understood how people get used to responding to another name. I forget to respond to my given one sometimes–let alone the years it took me to get used to one friend calling me by my initials.
But Then Again:
Maybe this is one of those self-inflating writer worry-fantasies and I ought to just go spend time writing more.
Yeah, that’s probably it.