I use a pen name because I write about real life. My work inside of governmental systems, law enforcement, etc, in addition to writing about my personal life. I write to teach but it’s also therapeutic for me. Using a pen name saves my personal and professional career. I can’t possibly speak publicly about many of the topics I write about because it would drastically reduce my business prospects and crush my livelihood. Because I write about controversial/divisive topics like sex, race, corruption, and politics — it’s best to write the truth using a pen name.
I like to eat, and I need to pay the bills. History has taught me well American’s love lies, we punish our truth tellers and whistle blowers. Having been on the wrong side of the the coin, it’s easier to use a pen name and not have to worry about someone punishing me for exercising my right to speak freely. If someone is reading my work and worry more about my real name than they are the content of my work — they really aren’t mature enough to understand how the real world works. There are consequences for speaking the truth, and I have paid the price a few times already. I don’t want to do it again.
Been there. Done that. Got the T-Shirt and scars to prove it.