Before I share about my writing journey, I want to thank Rachel for allowing me to guest post on her blog for Bane of Ashkarith’s blog tour. I appreciate the support she’s given by allowing me to be here today! So thank you for helping me out with the blog tour and supporting the launch.
My writing journey started very early on. Since I was homeschooled, my mother was able to do a lot of different activities and extra-curricular work that I wouldn’t have done otherwise. One of the things she taught me early was to read. She got me reading by four, and this sparked a love for books that has continued to this day. At that point, I didn’t know yet that I’d be a writer, but it wasn’t long before I did.
By seven or eight, I started writing short stories that I proudly shared with my mom. She encouraged me to continue writing, and I did. What really solidified my desire to write, however, were my dad’s stories. He used to tell us fantastical tales of children going on grand adventures or heroes fighting terrible beasts while we waited in parking lots for my mother to finish running into the store on a Sunday or while we waited to be seated at restaurants. I loved those stories, and that combined with my love of reading to form a desire to tell stories myself.
By the time I was about ten, I’d finished my first novel. This novel was about two-hundred pages long, and as you might expect, it wasn’t good. In fact, looking back, it was awful, and I wonder how I ever could’ve been proud of it. But I was. And I brought it to my dad, asking him to read it because I knew he was an avid reader and could tell me how the book was.
I think if I’d known what he was going to say ahead of time, I might not have given it to him. But I didn’t, so I handed it over for him to read while he was on his business trip. He travelled a lot for work, and that meant a lot of hours on planes, so I thought it would be the perfect time for him to read it since he didn’t have any other time for it.
The week to two weeks that he was gone seemed to drag by. I was really excited to hear what he thought when he returned, and I was more impatient for that than I was about any gifts or pictures he might bring back from the places he’d gone. Usually, I was eager for him to come home and show us pictures of everywhere he’d been. That was better than any gift, but this time around, I didn’t really care much about any of that.
When he finally got back, I went and asked him for his opinion on the book. I was hopeful and eager to know how well I’d actually done. What he told me wasn’t at all what I expected. My dad is nothing if not brutally honest when it comes to giving feedback to me. That held true here too as he clearly told me just how awful the book was and how many things needed to be improved.
That stung, but the worst of it came when he told me I couldn’t make it as an author. At this point, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I hadn’t solidified exactly what that meant, but I knew whatever I did, I wanted to write. So hearing him say that I wasn’t cut out for it because it was hard and often thankless work struck a heavy blow.
I was stunned, honestly, by the lack of faith he had in my ability to succeed. As I listened to the words and tried to decide how to respond, I was almost in tears. In fact, I don’t even remember what I said to him as I took my copy of the manuscript and went to room feeling humiliated. But I do remember the moment when the humiliation and lack of confidence gave way to determination.
I’m an extremely competitive individual, and I don’t much appreciate being told I’m not capable of something. Granted, as I’ve grown older, I’ve realized there really are things I can’t do. But I still have a competitive streak a mile wide, and I’m not good about turning down challenges. So, naturally, when my dad said he didn’t think I could do it, I pretty quickly decided I could.
That was the point that I became serious about writing and improving. I no longer viewed it as just a hobby because now it was a goal and, in a way, a competition because I was going to prove my dad wrong by being a published author. This was the driving force behind my writing for a long while.
Then when I was about eleven or twelve, that reason took a back seat to another reason. My mother had an aneurysm, and the resulting year of time waiting for surgery and recovery changed my entire perspective on writing. I still wrote to prove my dad wrong, but more importantly, I wrote because it provided me a safe haven to express myself and my emotions.
My mother’s illness and the road to recovery left me feeling cut adrift. My mother and I had a very close relationship prior, but afterward, we fought constantly. I didn’t know how to express myself, and I became increasingly depressed and morose. Writing became the one place I could go to explain the emotions and thoughts I couldn’t seem to verbalize. In many ways, writing has provided a place of healing for me, grounding me when there wasn’t another stable place to stand in my life.
As the years have passed, I’ve mostly moved on from the event. It left its marks, and I struggled with it for a long time. I still do some days. But through sharing about what happened in my writing and seeing God use it to help others, I’ve realized that the event wasn’t all bad. It certainly made me into the writer I am today. If it hadn’t been for my mother’s aneurysm and the hardships that followed, I might not have thrown myself into writing as much as I did. And if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be where I am now.
Now, I write because I enjoy it. I still write to share a piece of myself and to get my thoughts out of my head so I can make sense of them, but when I’m writing fiction, I’m writing because I love it. I’m writing because it allows me to share the things I’ve learned with others in an engaging, palatable way. And I’m writing because doing so allows me to create meaning and share truth through the stories I have to tell.
For those of you who are struggling with your writing for one reason or another and are in the place I was at back when my dad told me I wouldn’t make it, I’m telling you it’s possible. It’s a lot of work, and not everyone will be cut out for it, but it isn’t some unattainable dream that can’t be made a reality. There’s a lot you can do with writing of all areas and types. That’s what I want you to take away from my story. If you don’t see anything else in my journey, see that it’s possible even when it’s hard. You can make it. But only if you keep writing instead of giving up.
Ariel Paiement is a fantasy author who writes the occasional historical fiction or science fiction novel. She enjoys all ranges of books and writing when it comes to reading, though fantasy and science fiction are her favorites. She is the author of On the Narrow Way in the anthology Above and Beneath: The World of Angels and Demons and In Darkness Lost, a stand-alone fantasy adventure novel. Her novel, Bane of Ashkarith, is coming out on July 31st and is the first in the Legends of Alcardia series.
Bane of Ashkarith
Kaidan Tadegan is working on a new site trying to prove the myth that two armies of the gods clashed there. While on the dig site, he discovers the evidence he's looking for, but he gets more than he bargained for when he discovers a woman's bones in a section of the dig site where no other remains have been found.
As he digs the bones out, he discovers a journal with the woman's body, which tells a story that, if true, will turn the myths of the old world and the established concepts of good and evil on their heads. Startled by the find, Kaidan sets out to discover whether the diary's claims have any validity.
But when the diary leads to a city that's supposedly long gone, Kaidan's journey becomes more difficult than expected. Things become even more tangled when he discovers that the city isn't gone, but it's no place for the living.
Unable to give up on his quest, he forges ahead. What lies ahead is uncertain, and even more uncertain is whether Kaidan will survive this quest. He has only two questions in his mind. Will he find the truth in this city of the dead? And will the world accept the truth?
The release date for the Kindle version is July 16th due to some technical difficulties releasing it on the 31st when it was planned, but the release date for Kobo and the Amazon paperback is still July 31st.