By Rondi Bauer Olson
A few months ago I was making small talk at a wedding reception when another guest, someone I did not know, asked me what I did for a living. Up to that point in my life, my answer had always been clear. I went to college to be a nurse. My job was as a nurse. Writing was something I did because I loved it, not because anyone wanted to hear about it. But now that I had a publishing contract, and a book coming out, I realized I needed to start talking about that part of me if I ever expected to sell anything. So, after my usual explanation of what I “really” did, and the inevitable healthcare discussion, I added, “And I write, too.”
The gentleman’s eyes lit up. He wanted to know more. What did I write? Had I been published?
My smile faded. I hadn’t been expecting this. Reluctantly I told him I wrote for young adults. Yes, I had been published, but only in a few children’s magazines. I did have a publisher for my book, but they were a small independent. Finally, I had to admit I had been published in
The gentleman’s interest plummeted. I had, after all, only written a book for children, a plucky-girl-saves-the-world story, and a Christian one at that.
Later, as I went over the conversation in my mind, I saw that from the moment I had begun talking about my writing, I had been apologizing. I don’t believe writing for children and young adults has less value than writing for adults. To the contrary, I think stories can have a bigger impact on young people than their older counterparts. And I have read enough quality literature, Christian and otherwise, to know Christian literature can be as good as anything out there. So why was I apologizing?
I’m not sure. Maybe it’s because in the past I have encountered people who saw less value in writing for children, and in Christian literature. Maybe it’s writer’s insecurity. I never feel anything I write is good enough. But God called me to write, and while I didn’t set out to write for children or the Christian market, it’s where my work fits, at least for now.
Since my wedding reception encounter, I have made an effort to embrace my writing, regardless of what I fear others may think. Yes, I write about plucky girls and cute boys, and from a Christian world view. Isn’t that great? Mostly importantly, I have accepted my work is evidence of God’s calling in my life, and I don’t ever need to be ashamed or embarrassed of that.
Have you ever avoided talking about your writing, or made apologies for it? How do you handle derogatory comments about your genre, or Christian literature in general?
Rondi Bauer Olson is a reader, writer, and animal wrangler from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Her debut novel for young adults, ALL THINGS NOW LIVING, was a finalist in the 2012 Genesis Contest and is scheduled for release in early 2016 by Written World Communications.