Hey, good morning! Ruthy here, and today we're talking about the Edison/Churchill Factors: Perseverance is the name of the game. And never, never give up.
"Ambition is a good servant but a bad master." (Laura Ingalls Wilder)
"I look at the good in one hand and the bad in the other, and I say "Well, then" to both of them." (Aunt Eller, Oklahoma) This doesn't mean I don't get excited over good news... but I get excited and then I get back to work because resting on laurels doesn't get the job done. And I'm an old-fashioned girl who loves a job well done!
Here's another Aunt Eller quote: "That's alright, Laurey baby. You can't forget, just don't try to. Oh, lots of things happen to folks. Sickness or being poor and hungry, being old and a feared to die. That's the way it is, cradle to grave, and you can stand it. There's just one way: you gotta be hardy. You gotta be. You can't deserve the sweet and tender in life unless'n you're tough."
I think of Mary Connealy's mother-in-law when I read that second quote. I love voices of wisdom in stories, the song of the old, the aged, the wise... and sometimes that voice comes from a small person, a child, a bit of wisdom and whimsy.
Artsy folks are different by the very nature of our God-given gift. First, we think it's NORMAL.
It's not, and we all discover that at different times in our lives, but we perceive it as normal because it is "Our Normal". We assess by what we know, and if writing naturally is normal for us, we assume that it's like that for others.
But once we realize we've got the gift, the knack, the talent... How do we develop it? And do we write what we're inspired to write or do we sell ourselves to the highest bidder and write what we're paid to write?
Both, of course! At least that's what you do if you want to make money, or make it a career and earn a living wage.
Let's look at the variances of the mix: Inspiration.
I get inspired all the time. Constantly. What a blessing! I get shreds of story ideas based on things people say, hear, things I read, things I witness... They're everywhere. Sometimes I write them down, other times I let them veg in my head until something pairs with them... This can be years in the making. Literally.
And then I write it down. Or not. The niggle of stories or series ideas stay with me. Is that normal? It is for me... so then, yes. If it's not normal for you, then jot them down asap.
I "see" stories before I write them. I don't know how common that is, I know my daughter has this same gift and uses it in her work. That pre-writing visual helps me to develop scenes mentally, which helps me write them more quickly... So that's a cool thing! But I don't always write the story I've just visualized. It might be years before I get to that story... But I don't forget it.
I keep it on simmer until the "pairing" occurs. This year I developed two new series. One was based on a story I heard several years ago, and I sat on that information until I saw a video from Carol Garvin, a delightful writer from Western Canada... She saw the video and sent it to me on facebook. I knew it had to be part of the series in my head: I just knew it. They linked like polar opposite magnets. BAM! Like that elevator pitch scene from Working Girl when Trask asks Melanie Griffiths how she got the concept for the new media blitz she presented to him:
Okay. See, this is Forbes. (Holds out magazine) It's just your basic article about how you were looking to expand into broadcasting, right? Okay now, the same day, I'll never forget this. I'm reading page six of the Post, and there's this item on Bobby Stein, the radio talk show guy who does all those gross jokes about Ethiopia and the Betty Ford Center. Well, anyway, he's hosting this charity auction that night...real blue bloods, and won't that be funny? Now turn the page to Suzy, who does the society stuff, and there's this picture of your daughter. (showing relationship order of inspiration)
And then I saw these three women, with a previous bond... and all of a sudden the parts of this series GELLED in my head! I could see the stories, see the conflict, and see the parts of the series that came alive based on all these varied inputs. I could smell sweet cider and see the old fellow whose love and business acumen made such a difference to so many... and the grace and dignity of the old town, coming to life with a dash of whimsy and a bucket full of wishes and prayers. And what brought them all to this town: A new baby.
Now comes the next step: Perspiration.
I was working on a contracted book when this series mentally gelled. I can't stop writing to play with a "possible" series, but I can use my free time to check facts, see what I need to research, assess the validity of the series conflicts, and pick a setting... This is where I ignore housework or drag someone in from the street, kicking and screaming, to dust and mop before the dust bunnies go into attack mode... GET HER!!!!
In this case I wanted a northern town, a quirky place, (think Northern Exposure only with less snark and more whimsy) in a snow belt and rolling hills and rural roads. There's plenty of that in Western NY, in fact anywhere along the Northeast woodlands... So while I worked on my word count by day, I developed the series in my free time.
And here's why: Writing is a business. It's an art and a talent and a gift, but the wise writer treats it like a business. If I slough off, I lose time. If I lose time, I have to work harder to regain my professional footing. So why would I do that?
I love running my own business. I love being the responsible one, being the risk-taker, being the loser who has to take it on the chin if something falls apart. I've got big shoulders... I'm tough. No worries.
But I don't rely on luck. Not ever. I rely on God, and the strength he blessed me with... and the love of story-telling!
So I wrote that proposal while working on other books... so now the inspiration and perspiration have put me in the driver's seat. If the series didn't sell, I could write it and self-publish it. Either way, I'm the winner. (But it did sell, more about that when I'm allowed to talk about it!!!!)
And my family eats and I get to buy new sneakers now and then. SWEET!
I'm not a fan of luck. I don't buy lottery tickets and I don't gamble. (I do support church raffles because they're so much fun!!!!)
When it comes to my business, I make the combo work for me by doing the work it requires.
Why is this important?
1. If you love your job, you're more likely to jump out of bed to do it. Less likely to procrastinate. I still work 25 hours a week at my day job, so I have to stay on schedule. I think that keeping a part-time job (at least for now) helps me stay focused and on schedule, so for me that works.
2. God gave me a GIFT. He blessed me with a love of writing and a talent to do it. If I don't put my best foot forward, it's like dissing God. I've said this before, (that's never stopped me from repeating myself, has it????)... the quote from Erma Bombeck that means so much to me: "When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me'.
I want to be like that.
I want Him to know that I gave it all to my kids to ensure their strengths and future success... and then to spreading his word through my words.
I shrug off the dumb luck because a wise man once said, "The harder you work, the luckier you get."
I believe that. (This pic is how we've gotten through this year's drought on the farm. Hand watering 13 acres of veggies... Did you know that an 8 foot pick up truck bed holds 140 gallons of water??? If you're ever asked that question on Jeopardy, you now know the answer!)
And I never look around. I don't work hard to beat others... I work hard to improve myself. My competitive streak is self-aimed. I want to be the best Ruthy I can be, and I raised my kids with that same idea... to do their best for themselves, to use God's talents, and not to be slackers, but to cheer for the other guy(s) every step of the way, because they're working hard, too. (Here's the results of all that watering... A yard full of produce and more to come!)
This is what I want for you: To take that inspiration and have the perspiration and drive to get it done. So many folks talk about writing a book, and that's fine.
But if you've got that fire in your gut... that love of the written word... that romance with story-telling... DO IT.
Jump in! I remember Jan Drexler saying she felt overwhelmed when she was in the ACFW bookstore a few years ago, because she felt unworthy....
And then realized she was just as worthy as any. And look at her now, working for multiple publishers! As sons and daughters of the king, we are all worthy.
We are brothers and sisters in Christ, and whatever our talents or whims, God has given us the tools to achieve our goals. Then it's up to us to use those tools.
So wipe the dust and rust off your keyboard! Sit down in that chair or on that stool... let your visions come together in a riot of first words and see where the road takes you. We all started somewhere. Somehow. Some time.
Why not you? Why not now?
I've got faith in you! How I wish you had that same faith in yourselves, my friends!
So let's talk today. What's holding you back? Do you need prayer? Whatever is going on, we'll advise, laugh, talk, pray, eat and counsel... and then we'll give you a swift kick and say "Get on with it, darling! Because you don't want to stand before God and say you wasted what he so lovingly gave..."
Hey, the coffee's on, and I've got breakfast sandwiches with sausage and/or bacon! (Wright's bacon, out of Texas, my favorite!!!)
I've got a beautiful set of "Jesus Calling", the devotional and the Bible... and I'm going to ship it to one winner who leaves a comment today... here's the pic from the New Year's Eve party!!!
And, oh yes.... I am celebrating the release of "The First Gift" in September, and it happens to be SEPTEMBER!!!! I'm adding in two copies of this beautiful third book from Franciscan Media, and I hope you love it... I hope you see how wonderful it is to help a child in need... I hope you go all "Mother Teresa" when you read Cassie's story and the beautiful romance woven between the pages.
So that's reason enough to bare your souls, my darlings!
Come on in, grab a cuppa and let's dish!
Multi-published, bestselling author Ruth Logan Herne has sold over a million books and is on her way to a whole bunch more, a fact that delights and amazes her! She still pinches herself every morning, to see if this is real! She lives on a 50 acre farm in upstate New York with lots of little kids stopping by for food. She loves God, her family, her country, dogs, chocolate and coffee.... and she'd rather dig in the dirt than clean house, any day! Visit her website or friend her on facebook where she loves to chit-chat with folks about anything that comes to mind! Her newest acclaimed release "The First Gift" (Franciscan Media) can be found in Barnes&Noble, Christian book stores and any online bookstore. Here's a link to Amazon.com.