Coming out of the closet (as a fiction writer)
In early 2017, I got the irresistible urge to start writing horror short stories.
It had been years since I wrote fiction last. It's a periodical thing for me, even though it's always been my dream to be an author.
Now, I'd gotten inspired to write stories in a contemporary setting, but with a Swedish folklore theme. I was bursting with ideas. And I had just read a book (Fiction Unboxed, by Sean Platt and Johnny Truant) that really unblocked and motivated me.
So onwards I went. I wrote one short story and one novella over the course of a few months. I had a blast. My close family read them and gave me improvement suggestions and ideas. I re-wrote, and completed my projects.
I didn't want to publish the stories under my own name, which had been associated with everything under the sun: My early entrepreneurial years, and the relating press coverage. My different blog projects. My freelance career. My various acting jobs… *sigh*
"Louise Stigell" felt like a very messy brand poking in all directions. None of which had anything to do with my lifelong love of books, stories and creative writing. It felt tainted. Not a blank canvas to build a writing career on.
So I chose a pseudonym. Elvira Dahl.
Elvira is my middle name, after my maternal grandmother. And Dahl was her maiden name.
Writing as Elvira felt exhilarating. I planned on publishing my short stories anonymously, so that I could feel totally uninhibited. Not worrying about what people would think. People who'd known me for many years and in different contexts.
But I never got to publishing. Two years went by and the stories gathered dust on my computer. And now, I've decided to publish them under my own name. I hate it and love it.
Hate it, because it's terrifying and uncomfortable and I feel exposed and vulnerable.
Now I have to actually stand by what I've written and not we a wimp about it. Like every real author has to do.
Love it, because this is my lifelong dream. I've never liked keeping important parts of my personality quiet, out of fear of confusing people. And now, when I finally run a business where fiction writing fits in, why would I keep it hidden? Why wouldn't I claim it as my own?
That's why I'm doing it. So far, the stories are in Swedish, but I'm in the process of translating them. As soon are they're done, I'll put them up on the site. 🤗
And I can't wait to write more about writing. To share my journey and process. To review great books I read. To get to know other writers and authors. To exchange feedback and pep talks.
So if you're a fellow creative writer reading this: say hi in the comments and let's support each other!