Both are alive and well.
The following is an account by a woman…
who pretended to be a man…
in order to get freelance writing assigments.
You know me as James Chartrand of Men with Pens, a regular Copyblogger contributor for just shy of two years.
And yet, I’m a woman.
This is not a joke or an angle or an analogy — I’m literally a woman.
This is my story.
Except for the name.
James was out of work, with two young children, out of savings, out of luck. She began doing freelance copywriting and struggled her ass off. Then something happened.
One day, I tossed out a pen name, because I didn’t want to be associated with my current business, the one that was still struggling to grow. I picked a name that sounded to me like it might convey a good business image. Like it might command respect.
My life changed that day
Instantly, jobs became easier to get.
There was no haggling. There were compliments, there was respect. Clients hired me quickly, and when they received their work, they liked it just as quickly. There were fewer requests for revisions — often none at all.
Customer satisfaction shot through the roof. So did my pay rate.
And I was thankful. I finally stopped worrying about how I would feed my girls. We were warm. Well-fed. Safe. No one at school would ever tease my kids about being poor.
I was still bringing in work with the other business, the one I ran under my real name. I was still marketing it. I was still applying for jobs — sometimes for the same jobs that I applied for using my pen name.
I landed clients and got work under both names. But it was much easier to do when I used my pen name.
Understand, I hadn’t advertised more effectively or used social media — I hadn’t figured that part out yet. I was applying in the same places. I was using the same methods. Even the work was the same.
In fact, everything was the same.
I sometimes wonder about my old age and whether I will need to create some young, fictional, alter ego in order to continue being heard in this, ageist, society.