Freelance Blog + [plan]

Open Thread: Would You Change Your Byline Post-Wedding?

Mr. Muse asked me awhile back, "if we got married, would you change your name or do you think that would be too much of a professional handicap?" Good question (and no, we are not engaged ... yet). On the one hand, I already have the domain susan-johnston.com and hundreds of clips published under my maiden name. But "Susan Johnston" is one of the most generic names on the planet, and I have several googlegangers (a few of them are also writers and one of them keeps getting email intended for me). If I took Mr. Muse's more unusual surname and bought a new domain, it might make me more distinctive. Or it could add to the confusion. I came to the conclusion that I'd probably become one of those professional women with two last names: Susan Johnston ______. (Don't want to jinx it with a premature announcement.) That way I'd maintain some association to my pre-wedding self, but also avoid the confusion of being married but not sharing the same last name (I hear it gets even harrier when kids are involved). I know other writers who have completely shed their maiden name (and waited until after the wedding to set up their website) or stuck with it as if nothing had changed. Another creative couple even switched around a few letters and came up with a new last name (both of them had theirs legally changed). OK, writers. How did you deal with this situation? Did you alert editors and clients about your new name, hyphenate it, keep the same byline as before, or come up with another creative solution? I'd love to know!
Flickr photo courtesy of Lauri Väin