Hi Vance, I am a student and I don’t write professionally. However, I feel both amatuer and proffessional writers make a choice to write professionally for many similar reasons and I find it completely justified, notwithstanding the fact that as a professional writer many more things need to be taken into account, because a pseudonym is often just a demand for privacy.
When I said a pseudonym often allows for writing ‘freely’, I say so in this light. I don’t mean ‘without needing to think of any consequences’ or fear of judgement. I mean writing without compromising the privacy of the writer as well as the people in the writer’s life. Of course, not everyone requires the same level of privacy. As far as one isn’t refusing discussion by hiding behind anonymity, to each their own.
It is true that the need for privacy sometimes comes from fear. But then, if we take the space we need and use it to get over the fear, it’s worthwhile.
As for touching the people close to me first — I like to believe I do so by being close to them itself. Its the ones I don’t know that I try to reach through my writing.