Becoming a writer does not happen spontaneously. Many failed attempts, many rejections and countless disappointing reviews leave room for nothing less than determination.
The initial decision in launching a career as a writer is to select a genre, or is it?
I write what I thought I knew something about. “Write what you know,” peers, family and friends said. “This is good; you really know what you’re writing.”
Living and growing up in rural Wyoming I know cowboys, I know horses and ranching and agriculture. I am the community 4H leader, a mom, a rancher’s wife. But that’s not what I want to devote my writing to, forever!
In this beginning, as I launch a career, I write of this. This west is where I am, who I am, and what I do. And this is where, I begin.
In this launch of my writing career, I chose the pen-name OLShepp, for Ondi Laure Shepperson. Choosing a pen-name is not necessary, nor is it essential.
Yet my name being so long gave me one reason to select a slicker identity, not to mention a sleek attempt to maintain a hint of disclosure, right? OLShepp has a ring to it, some western aesthetic appeal, and OLShepp looks good in print; it’s elegant, simple and be even sexy!
So I launched under the pseudo name OLShepp in 2007, plastering my pen-name across the web, attached to everything I wrote. I near completion of my first novel, “Big Horn Catchmequick” (Indeed about a horse.) I take a step back and question this choice of identity.
OLShepp, rings coherently true to a writing life of cowboy books and western lore. One day may arrive when I write of another genre, another voice, another audience, though.
When choosing a pen-name, an image, be careful not to choose a name synonymous with a sheepdog. For now, writing as OLShepp is justifiable. My audience may drudge up, even, some respect to OLShepp. And perhaps my next novel shall be about a sheepdog, or better yet written for the sheepherders amongst us.
I expected my future to entail this writing of westerns, until I read the best advice I have ever read. “Forget writing what you know. Learn what you need to know to write what you love!”
Having been granted this freedom in my writing to write what I love, brings me back to writing of the west, of the heritage that makes the west unique and appropriate for OLShepp and her sheep dog.
One’s writing is the determining factor; the content is where it counts. The writing makes the writer, not the name.