You should leave pen names to red-labeled authors because Medium readers want to know who you are.

Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash

I’ve been asked what would be better, to use a pen name or your real name when writing on Medium. I didn’t have to do pro-active effort to produce my answer.

Who writes on Medium is here to get out of anonymity and share valuable experiences. As well as to learn. This worked for me, so I think it may have worked for many others.

Medium writers have a purpose and we can identify three major groups of writers on this platform:

  1. The…

Quarantine and isolation (and a vampire) led me to a seven-month hiatus and confinement-sickness. After that, I became a dashboard writer.

A playground in my hometown suburbs. Photo credits: Me.

I took my driving license late in life. But in the end, I guess it was just the right time. Because it saved my sanity and my creativity alike.


The fake love

Covid has killed many people, and even though I never got ill, during quarantine and beyond I experienced other kinds of suffering.

I fell victim of a pathological narcissist. For those of you who don’t know who these people are, I can sum it up for you. They build up…

Three years of drafting, multiple endings, merged with its own sequels, the first book in a series that screams for not being completed.

Model: Pauline Korzun. Photo credits: Masha Raymers

It may read like a blurb more than a flash fiction piece, and in the end, that’s what it is. Not that I don’t want to finish the novel, but I really grew sick of procrastinating and piling up words I had to edit out later. Truth is, in the last ten months I was uninspired. All the time.

Great scenes for a poor story

I said it before; my characters saved my story. I never had great story ideas, not even decent…

And to keep on writing even if you feel sick about it.

Photo credit: Me on my favorite quarantine shelter, the rooftop.

For some writers, quarantine has been a chance to refresh creativity. For others, the isolation that it generated had the opposite effect. And their writing got stuck. If you, like me, fall in the second category, chances are you’re still struggling to get your juices flowing. In order to do so, you have to rely on specific strategies to face emotional crisis and creative stagnation.

The origin of stagnation

How it started

When lockdown began, I lost my job. I am a full-time waiter in a coffeehouse, and those places, along with restaurants, were the…

Today you have followers. Back in the day, you had pen friends, and they wrote a lot more than just tweets.

Photo credit: Just me.

Once were words

A few days ago, I learned that since 2011, Cambridge University is publishing thick volumes containing all of Ernest Hemingway’s letters since 1907 onward. A detailed collection of correspondence that the writer had along his life with loved ones and friends. Letters. They said that the collection, since its inception, will be complete in twenty years. That is, in 2031.

Until now, five volumes came out, and none of them is shorter than 500 pages. All containing letters; words…

How the pandemic awoke old guilty feelings, and how to fight them.

Photo by Yuris Alhumaydy on Unsplash

“Wait, I think I saw something.” I said. My mom stopped, her look half annoyed, and asked me what it was. I was not feeling good myself, and maybe it had to do with our walk. I don’t recall why we chose to go out, but it didn’t end up being a good idea. Until I saw the Communion And Liberation gathering at an open-air theater nearby.

I saw them hustling all around to set up the meeting. A young woman, one of the managers, spotted me and…

Last October, I experienced a downfall. It was my blessing, because I only had one way to go, and it was up.

Photo by Matheus Ferrero on Unsplash

When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I see is a small Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride rag doll hanging from my desk lamp. Crossways around her body, there’s a plastic band you recognize right away; one that’s used in hospitals at patients’ wrists with their name, sex and birth date written on. The one around the doll’s body has my data on it and across one of its holes there’s a thin, three-inch long metal…

Just because it’s sunny, it doesn’t mean you can get out.

Photo by Joshua Rawson-Harris on Unsplash

Phase 2. We’re not safe yet

Utopian landscape

Springtime was never so beautiful. Maybe that’s because during springtime I was always busy with my job and I barely noticed. Or maybe because this time, being unemployed, I realized skies are clear, and air is fresh and filled with the scent of distant flowers and plants.

Then I realize that all of this doesn’t have to do with me being unemployed. It has to do with the lack of average pollution due to quarantine, and the lack of human presence on the overall territory. Environmentalists must be happy.

Dystopian perspectives

And still am. But I’m working on it. Here’s what you can do.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

I think I’m paranoid

I’m a writer, but for the most part of quarantine, I didn’t write. If it wasn’t for Camp NaNoWriMo, a month-long writing initiative based in Berkeley and taking place in April, I don’t think I would have written a word of my work-in-progress novel.

I missed my day-job, my steady and monthly income, I missed my girlfriend and her calls, I started to think she didn’t want to hear from me anymore and my mind began to build up dark scenarios when she was drifting away and…

And don’t show it to anyone until it’s finished.

Photo by Andriyko Podilnyk on Unsplash

As fiction writers, we want feedback, we want to know if our story works, if we’re doing it the right way. We are anxious to meet our expectations. Or maybe other people’s expectations? Yes, that’s more probable. And that kills our laser-like focus into accomplishing our primary mission: completing our first draft in safety.

Quarantine issues

Don’t show your first draft to anyone. This should be your safety rule. The first draft exits for one purpose; you tell the story to yourself first. And as you tell it for the first time, the…

Alessandro Tinchini

Dashboard writer and dance-therapy scholar.

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