I get asked a lot if I ever regret choosing to be a writer, and I always think to myself…I chose this? I’ve been a ‘writer’ since I was three years old. I never chose it. It was chosen for me. Stories have given my life purpose since I can remember, and so my life has been written around them.
It’s not all been fairytales and fantasies of course. Throughout my childhood, I was constantly told (by people who love and cherish me and only wanted the best of course) that I shouldn’t lay my life on a pipedream and that I should focus on more realistic goals, like learning the family farm. Instead, I continued to read as if it was as necessary as breathing, and write stories that baffled and concerned my family. I wrote my way through school, adored by my writing and English teachers-all but one who was an essayist and hated my freewheeling nature. I began my first book when I was 13 and finished it at 17; and believed I was made of sunrays and unicorns.
Then reality caved in.
No one wanted to publish me. I received rejection after rejection until I just gave up. I was nothing. I had four books written by the time I was 20, and couldn’t get a single one of them published. With the encouragement of coworkers and friends, and crafty advertising, I eventually self-published the first two books in my fantasy trilogy Graves of Good and Evil, at the tender ages of 20 and 21, and learned a ton.
I could go on about the dangers of impulse publishing. I could whinge about how I was lied to and cheated and all that great stuff, but in reality, I just learned a very great lesson.
Being a ‘writer’ isn’t about how many books you’ve published, or how many successful signings you’ve hosted. It’s about the stories you have within you that need to be told, what lost memories you’ve been chosen to relive and retell for this world. Most of us didn’t choose to be writers, we just are. The sacrifices we’ve made. The days of staring blankly at the screen; the sleepless nights of frantically fighting the sheets to get out of bed before the thought filters out of your brain. The meals of stale potato chips you found in your desk drawer. The personal truths you hide in the lies of fiction.
I just published my third novel, sadly not the conclusion to the trilogy, but a standalone called Nkayt’hei. I wrote it at a down moment in life; and it shows. The story is gritty, impassioned, and desperate. It was a story that needed telling at that moment and I was the writer chosen to do so. It’s the greatest thing I’ve written yet, and I believe this is because I let it flow out of me; I bled every time I sat down at the computer. I let my inner storyteller loose and she took over with a vengeance.
It all comes down to what it takes to be a writer. That’s what I learned. No matter the dollar signs, no matter the sales reports…it’s about staying true to the voices in your head and writing the best dang story you can.
About A.B.B. Olson
A.B.B. Olson is the author of Elven Race Reborn, Honor of Assassins, and most recently, Nkayt’hei. She currently does freelance editing through her website http://flyingelephantediting.weebly.com/
Though born in Tacoma, Washington on April 27th, 1988, she was raised on a farm in Mountain Home, Idaho. In 2006, she graduated from Mountain Home High School and moved to Boise to attend Boise State University. Discarding the one time dream of being a pink elephant, she became a writer. It has been her passion since, and intends to write until her fingers fall off.
You can find Nkayt’hei here : http://www.amazon.com/Nkaythei-B-B-Olson/dp/1511532149/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1435473566&sr=8-1&keywords=nkayt%27hei
Or through iBooks on any Apple device
A Writer's Tale
Scarlett Van Dijk
Writer of young adult, fantasy series, the Sky Stone series, poetry and short stories.
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