Radical Notion

Okay, so here is the truth.

When I worked at the publisher in author relations, I always believed that one day, I’d have a shelf of books with my name on them. This was before I had my first novel published. This wasn’t an arrogant thought. I had learned enough about the business and knew that it could happen. So when I planned, I didn’t plan for one book. I began to start working on the different types of books I wanted to write.

Then, when I was fortunate to have my first novel published, I began to think about something else. Something that I almost never shared.

I believed in my heart that an author didn’t have to be confined to one box and one brand. I believed that I could be an actor of sorts and jump into any character in any—any—story.

God knows it’s hard enough to get published and continue to get published. But once again, I had this belief that I could tell a variety of stories. Not because I was such a magnificent storyteller. I felt I was decent and I could learn to become a better writer. But I just figured it could happen.

So that’s what I started working toward.

I heard what publishers said about authors who thought this way. When I would sometimes share these thoughts, they would be honest with me. I had conversations with agents about this. Some of the best and brightest told me what I really needed to do to breakout and be successful. I would nod and listen and know they were speaking from their heart to help me out.

But I didn’t pay attention to those people. I knew they were right. But deep down, I wanted to prove them wrong.

Meanwhile, I struggled simply writing good stories. I waited and watched doors close. I saw sales diminish. Yet not only did I continue to believe in that shelf of books, but I believed in this radical notion that I could write in a variety of genres. I believed that eventually, this would work out.

I still believe in all of this. But it’s not simply to prove someone wrong. It’s not to try to be anything other than a guy who writes good stories. That’s all.

These past four and a half years have taught me a lot. A lot. And the biggest thing I’m starting to learn is that this writing thing isn’t about me. It’s never been about me.

I think I’m finally learning and becoming okay with the fact that this writing thing is about telling stories about hope and redemption. About broken people finding glimpses of the truth along their journey. Whether it’s a love story or a horror novel or a YA series or a collaboration or a novelization, the common ingredient is Travis Thrasher. Yet he is irrelevant.

I am a Christian writer. If that’s my box, so be it. Brand it on my behind. I don’t care anymore about the labels and the logos and the language used. It’s not because I’ve given up, but more about God working on my pride and my stubbornness and my foolish notions of doing things my way.

Every week that passes and every month that goes by, I’m taught that it’s not about me. This writing thing, this parenting thing, this life thing.

Like a mule I’m stubborn. So stubborn. I’m a jackass. But as the Bible has shown, God can speak through an ass. I’m a living example of this.  

I’m sharing this because I want to invite those of you who are fans or those of you who are curious writers into this journey. I’ve been at this four and a half years. I could see writing for another fifty years. Then again, I could see me having to change course in just a few months.

That is the journey I’m still on. And I want to invite you to continue along with me.

I still believe in my heart that a novelist can be successful jumping from box to box. I feel if I have the ability to tell a sweet little love story and a twisted harrowing thriller, then why not do it? Why not use those multiple personalities of mine to my advantage?

I think anybody who’s worked with me hopefully knows that I’m a hard worker and that I’m not out to prove anybody wrong. I have a lot of fans in the publishing industry rooting for me. Yet still, I understand when someone tries to describe me as a writer and then pauses and can’t seem to find the answer.

Personally, I think that’s awesome. I don’t want to be so easily labeled. But that desire comes with a price.

So be it. That’s that road I’ve chosen and it’s an uphill battle.

I share this because I believe it makes the journey all the more difficult and all the more exciting.

My goal like yesterday and the day before continues to be to keep climbing and to keep hoping and to always—always—keep dreaming.

Since third grade, I’ve been dreaming.

Why change now?  

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