Why I Killed My Pen Name After 12 Months of Writing Online

This is something I never expected to write when I started.

Stephan Joppich
6 min readApr 2, 2022
Is this picture a metaphor for walking away from my pen name and embracing my real name? I don’t know, but I’ll take it! (Images by author)

Over the last twelve months, I published all of my content under the pen name Leo Sharp. Hundreds of blog posts, newsletters, and comments — all of these things carry the badge of my online persona.

I also went to great lengths to keep it that way. I had separate email addresses, purchased a website domain, and created social media accounts.

The result? Despite all the writing breadcrumbs I sprinkled over the internet, there’s no trace of my real name. Everything is neatly separated, like food bins at a buffet.

Until now.

From this day forward, I’ll be publishing under my real name: Stephan Joppich. You can’t imagine how weird it feels typing my name for the first time in a blog post. After all, it has never appeared on top of my content. I never even associated it with my creative work.

But I’d like to change that. And I’d like to explain why.

Let’s start at the beginning.

Why I Was Using a Pen Name

There are dozens of reasons why I chose a pen name. But these are the three that stood out to me the most. And they all have one…

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Stephan Joppich

Engineer turned philosophy student • I write about loneliness, minimalism, and books that changed my life • More food for thought → stephanjoppich.com