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A New Year, A New Zed

It feels like it has been forever since I last published a post on this blog. I started this blog back in 2015, and man has a lot changed in my life since then.

As you may have already guessed, Zed Amadeo is a pen name. Specifically, a male author persona that I created as a teenager. Inspired by the pen names of authors who have come before me, I created a new persona for writing self. For most of my life, I’ve enjoyed creating alter egos. Whether it was the ruler of Atlantis in the elaborate alternate life I created as a child or my superhero secret identity inspired by playing SuperBetter, I’ve found it interesting to reimagine my life as someone else.

I created the name Zed Amadeo when I was in high school. I had visited Australia and was intrigued by the fact that the letter “z” is called “zed” and thought that it could make an interesting name. Amadeo is a name that my mother really liked. Put those together and you have Z to A – the whole alphabet backwards, which sounded like an awesome idea to me at the time. My pen name was not, as some of my friends assumed, inspired by the artist Zedd, whose music I discovered years later. Thus, the pen name Zed Amadeo was created, although I can no longer remember exactly why I chose a male persona instead of a female one.

Zed, my ideal writing self, in Second Life

Under the name Zed Amadeo, I could be courageous, taking risks with my writing that I wouldn’t have the confidence to do otherwise. Zed would be an absolute badass writer who wrote whatever he wanted, commanding respect with his immense talent. He could handle criticism and rejection like a champ and wasn’t afraid to be different. Zed was, in many ways, my ideal author self. I created what I imagined he would look like in The Sims and in Second Life. I even wrote a fake interview with him and a bio for him, blending some aspects of my life with an invented narrative:

The writer’s currently peaceful life is a far cry from the way his life once was. Born to a middle-class African-American family, Zed said that he somehow knew that he was different from his peers at a very early age. While other kids were out socializing and playing during lunch, Zed prefer to sit alone with a novel or notebook to keep him company. Instead of engaging in afterschool activities, Zed would spend most of his free time scribbling down stories in his notebook.

Zed often found himself in it in direct competition with his older brother, a 6’5” muscular giant who excelled at almost every sport he tried. His brother lived a life that was almost a mirror opposite of Zed’s, with little worry about academics and breezing through the social scene. Throughout his childhood and adolescence, Zed found people constantly comparing him to his brother, including his parents, who tried to unsuccessfully get Zed into sports. Similar scenes of sibling rivalry can be found throughout Zed’s works such as in his novel Kindred, because “it was such an important part of [his] upbringing,” and had a large impact on shaping him into the person he has become today.

When I discovered that I could independently publish my work instead of having to go through years of rejections from major publishing houses, my creative life changed forever. I decided that the indie path was what I wanted to pursue, so I set up this blog and began editing the first book in my Kindred series. I finally had the courage to share some of my writing with the world, something that I had always been hesitant and insecure about in the past. But I wasn’t quite ready to share it under my name. I was a fairly inexperienced writer – what if it flopped? What if people thought it was horrible? I wasn’t sure that I would be able to handle those kinds of reactions right off the bat. All writers needed a tough skin but I wasn’t sure that mine was thick enough yet. But you know who would be able to handle all of the challenges that an indie author has to face? Zed Amadeo, my trusty writing persona that I had put away for years. So I dusted him back off and set about on my writing journey, publishing Resurrection on Amazon in 2015.

So much has changed since I hit “Publish.”

I graduated college. Moved out on my own. Got my first full-time job and transferred to another one after a year. Received some wonderful feedback from reviewers who enjoyed the book. Received the nastiest comment that I have ever gotten on my writing. Published another novella in the Kindred series. Started a few other writing projects, which largely remained incomplete. Went through an existential crisis. Suffered from some of the worst depression that I have ever experienced. Became so creatively blocked that even thinking about writing, which is my greatest passion in life, gave me anxiety. For most of 2017, I seriously wondered whether I would ever be able to write creatively again.

I have had to do a lot of soul searching and meaning finding to get back to my ideal headspace where I could be creative again. While I’m still very much on this journey, visual journaling and reading tons of mind-opening nonfiction books and taking the time to consider what I really want to achieve have helped me put life into focus.

Zed Amadeo was a writing persona that I created for myself. I had intended for him to be an alter ego of sorts, but as I moved forward, I realized that I was beginning to hide behind the identity that I had created, and that’s not the life that I want for myself as a writer, nor is that a way to build a community or interact with readers and other writers.

Who am I really?

I’m a 20-something female independent fiction author who has been passionate about writing from a young age and will never stop fighting to make her writing dreams into reality. I think I’ll keep Zed Amadeo around as a stage name (I still find it kind of catchy!), but I no longer need an alternate persona for my writing self. A new year, a new Zed. Here I am:

I wish you all a wonderful and successful 2018.

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