The Art of Leading a Double Life

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(JB does it right!)

I’m curious…how many authors out there separate their writing careers and their day jobs entirely? And readers, are you aware authors do this?

I’m certainly one of them.

I wasn’t sure what to talk about here today at the SMP blog, but a few nights ago, I had some downtime at the hospital while working a night shift. I had my iPad with me, so I loaded up Spotify and played some music to fill the silence in the reading room.

One of the techs entered as Jay-Z’s beats thumped against the walls and she asked me to check out a study. I gladly pulled it up and she kept looking at me funny.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“You’re listening to Jay-Z.”

“Oh, sorry, I can change it if you don’t like him.” (and for those who know me, Jay-Z is one of the most benign artists I listen to)

She laughed nervously. “No, it’s okay. It just seems so…normal of you.”

Huh? Normal of me? Why?

Because I’m a doctor, that’s why. And I guess doctors shouldn’t listen to Jay-Z.

Honestly, I wasn’t the least bit offended. I get it. An M.D. tagged to the end of your name comes with expectations. You should behave a certain way. Do certain things. Listen to certain types of music. Be politically correct, socially acceptable, graceful in everything you do.

I hate to break it to you, but I’m definitely NOT graceful!

Don’t get me wrong, I consider myself very good at doctoring (okay, maybe there’s an eensy-weensy bit of ego in that statement). Granted, I’m still in training, but I work hard and do the best I can every single day. That’s all any resident could ask for.

But the above incident is one of many reasons why I choose not to share my writing with my medical cohorts. My books are not only out of the norm, they’re dark, sexy, horrifying and violent. The creative world I live in is politically incorrect, socially unacceptable and not the least bit conservative by any means. I write about monsters, death, love, hate, revenge, possession, addiction. My stories can be morbid and macabre, and even if they end happily, the journey to that final destination is brutal.

Think of your primary care physician (hopefully you have one!). Imagine if they wrote stories like this, or some other “taboo” topic like say, BDSM. How would you perceive them? Sure, some would find it interesting, even fun, maybe. Others not so much. Particularly if they’re your colleagues, your boss, the administration (THE CAPITOL!). A fellow writer friend of mine pens steamy romances and is an elementary school teacher. I can intimately relate to her fear of parents discovering her sexy author counterpart and demanding that she stop teaching or “influencing” their children. Isn’t that sad? But it’s a reality many of us have to face.

And it’s hard. My life is so consumed by medicine and I spend so much time with my medical colleagues that I wish I could share my writing achievements with them. “Guys, I published my first book!” “Guess what, I signed a three book contract for a series I’ve been dying to write for years!” “Look at this awesome cover, ahh, I’m so stoked!” But alas, I cannot, and it’s disheartening at times.

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Yes, secrets can be revealed, and if my colleagues find out about L.D. Rose, then they find out. There’s nothing I can do to stop them. But I’m going to try real hard to keep them disconnected, hence why I use a pen name and an alias to at least separate these two “entities” within me. I know many people do this for a variety of reasons, and this is mine.

What about you, dear reader? What’s your take on this and have you ever experienced a similar conundrum in certain aspects of your life? Inquiring minds want to know, so please feel free to share. Don’t worry, your secret is safe with me. 😉

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About L.D. Rose

Physician by day, award-winning author of dark PNR/UF by night. Music addict. Wannabe superhero. Amazon author page: amazon.com/author/ldrose
This entry was posted in Life-Snippets from L.D., Soul Mate Publishing and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to The Art of Leading a Double Life

  1. I can totally relate, L.D. I work in scientific research during the day in a building filled with PhDs busy writing grants for their next project. When we convene in the lunch room, I stick out like a sore thumb. As for music, they’re all shocked to discover I’m a metal fan, and attend concerts regularly. Okay, so I’m the oldest one there, but still…

    I guess that’s why I love writing the kind of novels I write. Underneath the science geek, I’m a closet Goth Chick.

    Claire Gem

    • L.D. Rose says:

      Claire, I think that is super awesome! People who stick out like a sore thumb are those who intrigue me the most. And I absolutely love metal–hard rock is my favorite music. Nothing wrong with an inner goth chick. 😉 Glad I’m not the only one who feels this way!

  2. What’s disheartening to me is that we can’t just all be ourselves. That we have to be ‘certain’ people some of the time and then our true selves when no one’s looking. I get it, there are parts of life that require that, but someday and in honor of MLK – I have a dream that we can be who we are and not be judged because no one in any position in life is expected to act a certain way.

    Happy writing and happy doctoring. You’re awesome at both 🙂

  3. CristineGzr says:

    I used to sequence DNA and later temped as a graphic designer… now, I write full-time and get half as much done. I was much better at time management when I managed a lab or ran around Boston making gifs for dot-coms.
    Don’t be offended by your technician, too many MDs and PhDs take their frustrations and insecurities out on them. I managed a Harvard lab, classical music was their shield and after a tenured professor rips out their lungs, it’s the technician who gets their insecure wrath.
    I am sure you’ve scored points and found a technician who’ll now go the extra mile for you.

    • L.D. Rose says:

      Cristine, I have a feeling the same would happen to me re: time management! I The busier I am, the more I get done, oddly enough, LOL.

      I used to be a tech myself, so I never take anything out on my fellow employees (or anyone, really). Just because I have some extra schooling doesn’t mean I have the right to make demands and treat people like crap. I get so angry when other physicians do this and belittle other people. It’s wrong and foolish.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting! 🙂

  4. Madelyn Hill says:

    Great post! And I can relate. I’m in the teaching field and keep my writing life and identity a secret.

  5. kathybryson says:

    Mine’s the opposite experience, but then my ‘secret identity’ and writing life aren’t that far apart. I’m an English instructor, so I tell students they won’t get points for reading my books and swap publishing tips! Amazing how many people I run into who are working on a book or poem or screenplay.

    • L.D. Rose says:

      You are very lucky, Kathy! I envy that. 🙂 I’m always amazed at how so many people hide their creative endeavors. I feel everyone has an inner artist in them they’re just dying to let out.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  6. Terri-Lynne DeFino says:

    Nope. I am and have always been blissfully and ridiculously me. Never did the soccer-mom thing. If I wanted tattoos, I got tattoos, piercings, colorful hair. I also read to six elementary school classes, led a girl scout troop for 12 years, and was a councilor and director at the local GS camp for seven years. Did some parents look at me askance? Yeah, but they got over it quick. I found if you’re sincerely yourself, people will look beyond what they see. Or maybe I’m just oblivious. Either way, it works for me.
    Writing has been the same, though that’s the easiest part of my existence to wear in the open.

    • kari lemor says:

      I love that you can be you. It’s a little different when you have a job you can get fired from. And you are the only breadwinner with the insurance in the family.

      • L.D. Rose says:

        Agreed, Kari and I can totally relate. My husband is also an artist and I’m the one with the “secure” job. I honestly love my career (both of them) and would be devastated to lose doctoring. Hence, the “double life.”

    • L.D. Rose says:

      Have I mentioned that I’m totally and completely jealous of you, Terri? You are such a wonderful person and free spirit, and I’m so envious of that freedom. I always tell hubby if I didn’t mold to societal norms, I’d probably be covered in tattoos, drumming in a rock band, and yapping away about my books to anyone who’ll listen.

      Maybe someday I’ll be able to do all of these things.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your awesomeness. 😉

  7. Susan b James says:

    Great post

  8. Neely Powell says:

    True. I write for a regional magazine and still get strange looks when I saw I also write fiction.

  9. kari lemor says:

    I totally understand. As a teacher of 8 year olds, I have to be careful. I don’t write erotic or BDSM but I do write romance and that comes with sex scenes and sexual tension and a few swears here and there. And even though I know my students wouldn’t be reading my work (I hope to God they wouldn’t) there could be the parent who does. And it’s sad to say but there are those who would object and have a few words with my principal about not wanting their child in my class. I’m the breadwinner and the one who has the health insurance so I really can’t afford to lose my job. It’s as simple as that. I don’t even have a FaceBook of my own, only one with my pen name. And my avatar is a cartoon figure. And I don’t “friend” any of my family or people from work or neighbors. But that also limits the exposure I can get with my books. Maybe someday when I retire, I can be more open but until then … I lead a double life.

    • L.D. Rose says:

      Kari, sounds like you’re in the same boat as my friend. She’s scared to lose her job (because she really loves it) and does similar things with social media to keep her writer life a secret. I don’t have a FB under my real name either (or any social media service for that matter), just my writing persona. It’s definitely tough to keep something you care about from your friends and loved ones–I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels this way. I’m not sure if I would necessarily lose my job, as long as I haven’t associated my “real name” with any of it, but I’m sure my superiors wouldn’t be thrilled. It’s sad and frustrating, isn’t it?

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing. ❤

  10. Well you know I can relate. Okay, so midwives do tend to have that slightly to the left and off kilter reputation so I can get away with letting my colleagues know I write fantasy fiction but I always get that “Wow, that’s cool” response. Sort of like when I get down on my hands and knees to demonstrate how to do a breech tilt or write out moxibustion on an RX pad with the name of a local acupuncturist for a patient desperate to avoid a c section.

    I do have to be taken seriously in an emergency and people do need to listen and do what I am asking them to do, RIGHT THEN. So I keep my writing pretty much under wraps and have this very serious you “betta pay attention ta me” demeanor that I throw off like an invisibility cloak when I get to a writers convention in costume.

    I also write memoir so at the very least you’d think they’d mind their manners. But alas, it seems they don’t take that seriously either. My motto: Someday I’m Going to Write a Book.

    Keep going, Linda!

    • L.D. Rose says:

      Definitely, Carole! It’s not just your colleagues, either–it’s your patients too. I’m sure some of my colleagues would find it intriguing, but I know many would think otherwise. There are even times where I get a bit silly and goofy at work, and then I have to check myself in fear of being viewed as too “lax” or not serious about doctoring. Which is total bullshit, cause I think we all need a little fun and humor, no matter our “status.”

      I’m glad you can at least share a little here and there. Some days I’m just dying to tell someone, but I have to rein myself in.

      Thanks for the encouragement and for stopping by! Glad you could take some time out from delivering babies. 😉

  11. Yes, I write under a pseudonym. I originally did it for my children, I didn’t want them stigmatized; however, with time, it seems that everyone pretty much has figured it out that Belle is Tema. I can totally understand your dilemma, L.D. The only thing that is really a pain in the ass is, two facebooks, two twitters accounts, two emails, the fricking list goes on and on. Eventually, I think I will just bite the bullet and merge the two. I leave you with these quotes:

    “Literature–creative literature–unconcerned with sex, is inconceivable.” –Gertrude Stein
    “Sex is like money; only too much is enough.” –John Updike

    Tema Merback

    • L.D. Rose says:

      Doing it for your children seems to be another very common reason for a pseudonym, Tema, and definitely understandable. Trying to juggle two identities is definitely a pain in the ass, but one of mine doesn’t have a social media presence, which makes it easier. If you can, I would merge the two of yours–why not? And I love the quotes–so very true! 😀

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting! 🙂

  12. Tina Susedik says:

    I can relate. I write children’s & history books besides teach (sometimes). I write contemporary (with some spice) under my real name, but the “other stuff” under my pen name. Like others have commented, having double everything can be a real pain and a lot of work. Nice blog.

  13. jendoyleink2 says:

    Thanks, L.D., for such a great post. I know that I am incredibly lucky that my day job coworkers and bosses are aware of my double life and in support of it. (The fact that I work in administration for an eight-location preschool tells you how rare that is.) And my name is generic enough that it doesn’t hit people over the head. Yet when I was about to pitch my contemporary romance I did send it to my bosses first, just to make sure that they were ok with my name going on it. Since I do communications for the preschool, I am also highly aware of what connotations it can have, even though what I write isn’t even close to erotica, nor do I work directly with kids. I can’t even tell you how relieved I was when I first saw my book cover and saw that it was something I could show to my 15-yr-old daughter (who then immediately showed her friends) without anyone being uncomfortable.

    The bigger issue for me is that I do have a double life, and sometimes one part takes precedence over another. Since the writing gig is, by nature, public, it is sometimes difficult to reconcile that with everything else I have to do. But I am grateful that I have a book contract, grateful that my family and friends (both through work and outside of it) are supportive, and grateful to have a community that is both understanding of the challenges and willing to listen to the occasional (um, ok, so maybe a little bit more than that, LOL) rants when a sympathetic ear.

    Thank you for sharing this aspect of the work we love but the difficulty involved. And I wish the best of luck to all who are pursuing the creative path, especially when in a position where daily life doesn’t allow for a whole lot of leeway.

    • L.D. Rose says:

      Hey Jen! You are very lucky to have so much support around you and the freedom to speak about it whenever you’d like. I’m certainly grateful for the support I receive from those who are aware of my writing, and it really is wonderful to have people to talk to about it. Thank you for stopping by and sharing with us! It’s great to hear all of these perspectives. 🙂

  14. Reblogged this on and commented:
    Do you live a double life? Writing VS Your Day Job

  15. fais says:

    I can picture u holding the intercom Mic and screaming “thug life ,,, I am out”at the end of every shift :-p

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