August 10, 2018

Keeping Faith in the Headlights with @jchabotauthor #Giveaway

Keeping Faith in the Headlights By: Jason Chabot, Author of The Broken Sky Chronicles

I really should have paid closer attention to that aptitude test in grade ten.    

It seemed rather pointless at the time, and over the years I had completely forgotten about the results until I happened to rediscover them recently while recycling some old school paperwork.  Who would’ve guessed a computer program could so precisely predict my ideal job based solely on answers to a few straight forward questions?  Yet there’s no arguing with the report now when I see its recommendation at the top of the page: Become an author.

Oh why did I not listen to this sage advice when I had the chance?  

I have always envied people who claim to have known from a young age what profession they were meant to pursue.  It must be much easier to make life choices when one’s path appears ahead of them so clearly marked, with no risk of a misstep taking them off course.   But for me, that just wasn’t the case. 

When I finished high school, the only thing I knew for certain was that I wanted to go to university. Normally it takes four years to get a bachelors degree, but I did it over five – not due to failing any of my courses, but because I struggled to select my major.  How could I make a decision until I had tried every possibility?  So I took all of the first-year courses I could fit into my schedule over a two year period, then looked to see where I got my best marks.  Since I received straight A’s every semester in economics, chemistry, and English, this helped me narrow down my choices.  

People who know me now as an author always assume I must have focused my studies on English literature and creative writing, but I actually chose to study commerce and business administration, with a major in accounting. 

And I will never regret that decision.  I find almost every aspect of life seems to have some sort of financial aspect to it, and my accounting background has given me great insight into the business world, with a clear understanding of why some companies succeed while others do not.  
A few years after graduating, I was hired by an organization in downtown Vancouver, and was soon promoted to the role of chief financial officer where I faced huge demands with a heavy workload.  My free time was a scarce commodity.  A decade of this flew by, and while I enjoyed much success building my accounting career, I also reached a point where I needed more out of life.  I had a growing desire to express myself creatively, and although I initially ignored it, the drive to explore my artistic side became all-consuming.  
During that very same period, I also had a concept for a story that had been percolating inside my head for many years.  Yet the thought of actually writing a book was too daunting and I talked myself out of it.  When would I ever find the time?
As the months passed by, however, the urge to share my ideas grew stronger, until I finally reached the point where I felt absolutely compelled to do something about it.     
And so I wrote.  I scrounged every spare minute in my evenings or on my weekends, and I made a firm commitment to keep sitting at my computer until my thoughts were soaring as quickly as my fingers could fly over the keyboard.  Even for all that typing, Chapter One still took nearly three weeks to write.  The second chapter demanded almost as much effort.  But despite my slow, steady progress, I loved the creative process, and soon there was no stopping me.  I had found my calling.  I was driven to keep going.  I didn’t want to lose the momentum I had generated by taking that scary first step to compose my opening sentence.

Could I have written my three books straight out of high school, without ever having taken my detour into the world of business?  Very unlikely.  I needed to live life, make mistakes and come out the other side.  I needed to meet all sorts of people, experience different societies and places on this earth, getting a little bit wiser with each new adventure and struggle.  

In fact, I have spent much of my life trying to blindly find my way forward, which is something that many people who I meet on book tours can relate to.  I always explain to them how my path towards becoming an author – and my life in general – can be perfectly summed up by a quote that I absolutely love by E.L. Doctorow, a renowned American novelist, editor, and professor, who says, “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” 

I can certainly relate to this quote over the years spent writing Below, Above, and Beyond.  I had most of the major plot points of the books worked out far in advance, but there were still many holes within the story as well.  At the time, looking ahead, I didn’t know how I would ever connect all of the scenes and plotlines to blend everything seamlessly into a cohesive three-book story arc, but I tried not to stress out about it.  Instead, I focused on my series step by step, taking it in manageable pieces, rather than all at once.  I could only see a certain distance in front of me with each book, but that didn’t matter, because as I made progress, more of the story elements began to reveal themselves to me, further propelling me onward.

My life has unfolded in the same manner.  I was an accountant who ultimately became a published author, but only after winding my way along a path of uncertainty and tough choices, never guessing in my younger years that this exciting adventure was ahead of me.  

So my advice to everyone is always the same:  Keep having faith in your own headlights.  Enjoy the journey, wherever it may lead and whatever obstacles or opportunities might bump you onto a completely different and unexpected trajectory.   

Jason Chabot is the author of three books in The Broken Sky Chronicles: Below, Above, and Beyond (available nationwide from Turner Publishing Company), and he is currently working simultaneously on his fourth and fifth titles in the series: Years Before (Book 4) and Months After (Book 5).   Besides creative writing, he enjoys hiking, playing classical piano, ballroom and Latin American dancing, and caring for the fish in his saltwater aquarium.  To learn more about Jason, please visit his website, and follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

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An accountant who ultimately became a published author? Pretty cool. Jason, what can we expect from you in the future? My favorite dystopian is The Hunger Games. Thanks for the chance to win! I saw this post in the Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018 edition of The BookTube Your Shelf Daily Reader.

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