Thursday, September 8, 2016

Inspiration and Perspiration and Dumb Luck... Make the Combo Work For You!

What??? Is this Seekerville's version of "Groundhog Day?" Back-to-back Ruthy alert! And then we'll return you to your regularly scheduled programs, my friends!

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.

Silly us!

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?

Two reasons: 

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 


  1. Whoa. I am pumped. Just downloaded Rachel Platten's Fight Song to my iPhone and am head back in the cave with my gloves on.

    Rocky Theme music playing too.

    Can't have too much inspiration.hahahahaha

  2. Must go see who made it to the final round of America's Got Talent first.

  3. I. Love. This. So. Much.

    Oh, Ruthy - you spoke to my soul today! I too see my stories years before I ever write them down. Sometimes I even only feel them rattling around in there somewhere trying to shake their way out into the light. And they often come out looking way different than I thought they would - almost like not being able to picture your baby's face while they grow inside but then finding him or her breathtaking the first time you hold that child in your arms. I love Seekerville, because of these moments when I realize I'm really not the only one!

    I love Jan's story about standing in the ACFW bookstore too! And another reason I love the Seekers is because you all started this whole thing on "Unpubbed Island" (or whatever you called it) and now look at all of you! It's so inspiring!!

    So this week I'm going to really take this to heart and pray for the courage and perseverance to pour out all my talent and trust in God rather than luck.

    Thank you so much for this!!! I'd give you a hug if SD and NY were a little closer :)

  4. I'm with Meg - I. Love. This. So. Much.

    This post is true, unadulterated Ruthy. All the confidence in God and longing for all of us to see the truth you see.

    I see it, dear one. :)

    This is a print-it-out-and-tape-it-on-your-mirror post. A daily, if not hourly read.

    We are different than other people. That's why it's so energizing when a bunch of writers get together. We can talk to folks who understand how our minds work. Folks who understand why we eavesdrop and people-watch.

    We feel things differently, too. We have to be careful or we end up holding ourselves at a distance, in observation mode, during the most important parts of our lives...weddings, funerals, births, deaths.

    Sometimes I think I'll be watching my own death with that detachment of observation so that I'll know how to put it in a book.

    Or maybe we have that detachment because we feel things too deeply. Because our imaginations can take us places in our emotions that very few people venture to touch.

    And that's where that inspiration comes from.

    But here's the center of the matter: I love writing. I love seeing life through this lens. And I love the work that goes into it.

    Save a breakfast sandwich for me, one with that delicious Wright's bacon, please. I'll grab it when I stop back in the morning!

  5. Breakfast and a Bible and Devotional - it's all happening here today.

  6. This was good. Breakfast (just coffee) and a Bible DevotionasDevotionasl happening here. If I can't sleep it may be sooner thasn later. Its too warm.

  7. Ruthy, it was a pleasure meeting you at ACFW! What timely inspiration your words are since I just completed a mss.and am beginning another one.

  8. TINA!!!! I love both of those songs... and Eye of the Tiger... and We Are the Champions...
    And Katy Perry's Firework song.... We can light up the night, my friend!

  9. Brummer! Virtual hugs are very special things, too, and I'm grabbing yours right now! Thank you, sweet thing, and see how funny this "normal" thing gets??? What is normal?

    Whatever we decide it should be!

    Megan Brummer, UNLEASHED!!!!

  10. Jan Drexler, what beautiful, beautiful words.

    (sighing... and smiling....)

    I've got nothing to add but a hug!!! I'm so glad you stopped in first thing to see your name in lights! (laughing!!!)

    Bless you!

  11. Mary Preston!

    I love that! It is all happening here today, LOL! Good morning, my distant friend!

  12. Cathy Ann, it can't last forever, can it? This heat?

    Guys, Cathy Ann lives in CNY and we're just not used to having over 90 degree days and high humidity day after day... And it's September and I'm building pumpkin displays and it's almost 80 degrees right now and it's 4:25 AM....

    BUT... We'll welcome those cooling breezes when they come! And we'll appreciate them this year more than ever.

    And when I get too hot, I think of Phoenix... And I stop whining!

    Cathy, thanks for stopping in!

  13. Elaine! I was so delighted to meet you in Nashville. What a wonderful time we had! And thanks for stopping in today, with KUDOS on finishing that manuscript and moving on to another.

    GO YOU!!!!!

    I loved having my morning coffee with you guys!

  14. Oh Ruthy! I love this post! It is filled with inspiration and a rump kick. I love it.

    I can use prayer. I can always use prayer. For the energy to just move through the day. Working full time and being a caregiver to my 88 year old mom is a little difficult and tiring, but I dearly love my mom and with my sweet husband's help she is doing a lot better than she was earlier this year.

    I would love to be entered for the Jesus Calling giveaway. As for The First Gift, it is next in my TBR pile and I can hardly wait to open the cover and begin reading your beautiful words. The cover is gorgeous Ruthy!

    I pray everyone has a blessed day.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

  15. Excellent post, Ruthy! Your words are so encouraging...definitely a keeper post. All day yesterday, I thought it was Thursday...I love back to back Ruthy! Please enter me into the drawing.

  16. Cindy, thank you! And prayers are coming your way, still. It's a hard sandwich to be in, work, parents, children, responsibilities outside the home, and then there's the home itself!

    Is there a law against shooting dust bunnies? I HOPE NOT! Grab the gun!

    My parents are both gone, but I remember how tough it was going from one job, stopping to see Mom, then on to the next job... And then weekends, drop a kid off, go to Mom's, etc.

    That was a true exercise in plate spinning.

    The good thing is that I look back and was glad for those moments. She was sober by then, and we had some of the best times of our lives together when she was aged and ill.

    Life is a complicated process, isn't it? But that series of complications is what makes great stories.

    Praying for you and I hope you love The First Gift!

  17. Jill, Myra even sent us e-mails saying "WHAT IS GOING ON????"

    My head hadn't quite caught up with the calendar, and I thought I was next week, and that began an interesting cycle of only-Ruthy-can-do-this messed up events, but we all lived.

    That was my mother "mantra"... "No one died".


    You're in both days!

  18. Good morning, RUTHY! Great post! I think one of the beauties of Seekerville is that here we're surrounded by people who "get" OUR normal. :)

  19. Seriously, when I think of a hard-working author, I think of Ruthy!
    You've managed to get more of your 24 hrs a day than most of us, and I'm always inspired by you.
    And you're also one of the warmest, sweetest people I know!

  20. Oh this post! Thank you Ruthie! Your words are filled with God-given wisdom!

    I love what you wrote about not resting on your laurels. I refuse to get hung up on either the praise or the criticism. I just gotta keep plowing!

    When I first began writing my book, I did a lot of research on how to get published. All that I read, it seemed, was how hard it is and most writers won't make any money writing. For a second I thought "why on earth would anyone publish my stuff?" I know I have a natural talent for writing but I also know there are way better writers out there. For me, it boils down to work hard, NEVER give up and trust God.

    God opens doors that no man can close. He also puts people in our path to encourage us and guide us and for me that has been SEEKERVILLE. You ladies have been a blessing to me beyond what you can imagine.

    TINA - without your help, I would have landed in a pit of formatting hell. Thank you for taking me under your wing.
    JAN - Your constructive feedback has helped me break through a difficult concept in my book. I'm seeing a clearer picture!
    RUTHIE - Your words of encouragement when I first reached out to you, I will always cherish.

    It feels so good to finally get this story I've been lugging around in my head FOR YEARS down on paper. Who knew?! I can't wait to write the next one, and the next one, and the next one. (I don't write the ideas down, I keep them simmering, too.) Also, this is where it's really helpful coming from a massive French-Canadian family (42 first cousins!) because I've got story ideas All. Day. Long. hahaha

    I'll never say no to prayer. I love that you all "prayed each other into publication." I've entered 3 contests, with a few more planned. Why not, right?

  21. Ruthy it was so nice to see you in person in Nashville. You are such an encouragement to me. Thanks for sharing your tips on juggling life with writing.

    What's holding me back right now? Right now I'm struggling with a dad who was in the hospital for six days. They released him yesterday but almost put him on the anitbiotic they started him on that didn't help. He had three teams of doctors until they found the right medicine. I'm still concerned about him. Meanwhile, my sweet granddaughter had her first Grandparents' Day at school. I couldn't let her down. And then there's the day job. After another sleepless night of not breathing due to allergies I told my husband I've got to get some rest so I can write. I'm definitely in the rocking chair generation, but I love each person in my family and don't want to slight anybody. I did ask hubby if I could quit the day job, and he just laughed.

    Jan, I love that you're going to watch your death with detachment so you can put it in a book.

    Ruthy, thanks for such an encouraging post.

  22. Great post, Ruthy! I wish I had your energy and drive! You're an inspiration with all of us who also have lots of other commitments that have to come before writing. But don't let that go to your head! I know you won't.

  23. Ruthy, I loved this post. You have a gift for exhorting your readers here. :) You've done it again. :)

    As far as what's holding me back . . .
    Being real honest, God is working in my heart and my life to mend some brokenness and to speak truth and kick the lies I've believed for most of my life straight to the curb. ACFW was transformational for me this year. I've been praying and journaling about the things He showed me.

    I share this because I believe that, as I deal with the "stuff" in my heart, He's going to help deepen my writing, and move me forward. But most of all, He's going to help me reflect Him more clearly to others.

    Loved your post today!

  24. Oh Ruthy---and Jan!! Thank you for sharing Jan's story because that's exactly how I feel now. Unworthy. Less than. Trying to convince myself that God doesn't need me to write for Him, but He wants me to. Who am I to decide what or who is worthy? Answer your calling. Thanks for the pep talk Ruthy.

  25. Glynna, ain't it the truth? But I noticed with every one of my kids that they had to discover their own talents and strengths because (even though I told them they were special/unusual/gifted, etc.) to them, they were normal... so they all had those AHA! moments when they realized that God had gifted them in varying ways.

    First of all with an AMAZING MAMA! :)

  26. I did not pay Deb Marvin to say all that. But if I'd thought of it, I certainly would have!

    Deb!!! So good to see you, I have never forgotten our fun trip to the It's A Wonderful Life Festival in Seneca Falls! You were such a gracious tour guide and friend! Thank you again!

    And I love seeing pics of those babies on facebook. What a fun way for us to connect when we're miles and miles and miles apart!!!

  27. Josee! I love these sweet words of testimony... And I love that you're jumping in both feet to get these stories out of your head and on to paper.

    I've found that the more I write, the more I want to write. I've learned to trust God that the ideas will gel... and when I've been hired to write something for a publisher, a novella or a collaboration, those old ideas surge forth... and sometimes just a glance back at history inspires a whole new wave...

    And I'm just delighted to see you here! Tina is beyond amazing, the gals are the most supportive bunch of women I've EVER WORKED WITH, and they'll jump in and help with anything, anytime.

    So that's amazing.

    And this community is such a God-given gift to all of us, that I don't even have words.



  28. Jackie, your situation is near and dear to my heart...

    I am just like that.

    I learned to say no to outside things.

    I cannot say no to my children. They're mine. They're my "First Gift"... the whole idea of the title for The First Gift is that the first gift of Christmas was a child... and I just love being a mom and grandma.

    Having said that, it is exactly why I lose sleep and get up so early. Now the allergy thing, that's a tough one! Oh, if I could bless them away for you, I would do so right now! Your time will come. It will open wide before you, and you'll say... "Huh... How about now?"

    And it will all come together.

    Sometimes the drama of real life simply has to take precedence over the drama of fiction... so keep writing in your head until you can put it down on paper! God doesn't take gifts away. In fact, he's probably polishing that gift for you, right now.

  29. Cara Lynn, I am determined to stave off The Big Head. This is how I do that:

    I count my quarterly rejections and WINCE... :)

    I clean bathrooms and wince...

    I help set up farm displays and get DIRTY!!!! :)

    Thank you for your kind words, my friend! I think the reason the Seekers and Seekerville work so well every day is that we all march to our own drummer... so that whole idea of being competitive with no one but ourselves is so important! It's vital to keeping us from jealousy or envy or anger... And having been an 8th grade cheerleader... I love cheering others on! GO YOU! GO US!!!

  30. Ruthy, look at this quote I found in my Omaha paper yesterday, I can't believe how well it fits.

    When you have a great and difficult task, something perhaps almost impossible, if you only work a little at a time, every day a little, suddenly the work will finish itself.
    Isak Dineson—author of Out of Africa.

  31. Jeanne, I was so glad to meet you in person finally! First, you're absolutely lovely... and you've got great buddies to write with, here and all throughout ACFW!!!

    And when we're wrestling those inner wrinkles and crinkles, I put them in a book and I fix them.

    It sounds weird. I don't care that it sounds weird. In my stories I can lay a path to fix things that were untouchable in my reality. And now I get paid to do it. :)

    For me, writing is my best therapy, partially because I love the Road to the Final Four.




    I love the road to The Happy Ending.

    I love to show how we can open our hearts and minds to forgiveness, grace and God while still being strong persons.

    And then I feel stronger!!!!

    However your road/path leads, you are the writer of your story. And Jeanne, I believe it's a very good story.

  32. Good morning, Ruthy!

    Thank you for sharing how you turned an idea into a proposal that eventually lead to a sale. I can't wait to hear more about it.

    Love the cover of your new book! Im so ready for fall and pumpkin displays too. It's been hot here in the Midwest, as well.

    You're an inspiration to us all on unpubbed island. I can't wait to join you and the other Seekers on the mainland.

    Thanks for the coffee and sandwiches.

  33. Good morning, Ruthy!

    Thank you for sharing how you turned an idea into a proposal that eventually lead to a sale. I can't wait to hear more about it.

    Love the cover of your new book! Im so ready for fall and pumpkin displays too. It's been hot here in the Midwest, as well.

    You're an inspiration to us all on unpubbed island. I can't wait to join you and the other Seekers on the mainland.

    Thanks for the coffee and sandwiches.

  34. Glynna I love that....we are surrounded by people who get our normal.

    So perfectly stated.



    I so identified with Jan's feelings that I went the distance to re-share them again today, in case I haven't embarrassed the dear woman ENOUGH. :)

    I think our vision of "greatness" is vastly skewed in a negative/bad direction.

    I love good writing.

    And there are a lot of today's writers that I thoroughly enjoy. But we have to be so very careful to not put people on pedestals. YUCK. People don't belong up there. God does. So I'm thrilled to be contracted, I'm thrilled to have an indie presence on Amazon, and I'm thrilled to be writing and connecting with people...

    But I'm still just me. And I cringe when terribly clever people like you or Jackie or Sherida or so many don't see how amazingly good they are ... because the timing is sooo slow.


    I totally believe in you.

    So there.

  36. Ideas from scraps of conversation? Storing the idea in your brain until it pairs with something else? Visualizing your story? RUTHY, that is EXACTLY how I process! You're not the only one. I just notice things and think "hey, that would be a good story idea" then my mind starts stewing around working out that idea until I've got the basis for a whole book (maybe thirteen!).

    And as for what gets in the way of my writing, well it's Writer's Block. Oh, that accursed thing! I seem to suffer it in cycles. I'll have a few weeks to write whatever comes to mind before my mind suddenly shuts down and I can't write no matter how hard I try. My brain gets exhausted easily, and even if I sit in front of the computer and start typing all that comes out is mush (my name for the intelligible scribblings that I manage to create). I have it for a week (at least, sometimes I have it for longer) and in that time I can't write at all, then all of a sudden its gone and I'm back to writing.

  37. Mary, that's perfect! I'm so glad you stumbled on that, my friend!


    Is our friendship over?

    I'm sad right now. Really.

  38. YVONNE!!! MY PRETTY!!!! Hey, I'm sending a boat back for you, no reason to swim to the mainland, we've got the Island Princess Express!

    I'm so glad to see you here! You've been in my prayers and my thoughts... and I love when I can fit idea A into thought B and see plot C coming down the stretch... wanting to get into one book or another.

    I can't do puzzles.

    Puzzles annoy the heck out of me. (DO NOT TAKE OFFENSE, ANYONE).

    I don't do Rubik's Cube (I'd take a hammer to it), I don't do crosswords (although my father was an avid word puzzler...) and I don't read mysteries because they annoy me...

    I'm saying this for a reason.

    (There's always a reason, right????) :)

    Our talents vary widely, and none of the folks I know that can do all of those more mechanical puzzle challenges... and enjoy doing them... can put together the pieces of a multi-book series mentally and have it work.

    So if this is one of our talents, darling??? Go for it!!! :)

  39. Nicky, that's so cool to connect with you that way! I love that we get inspired and energized the same way. That's awesome...

    Writer's block.

    Do I dare say this out loud?

    Will I CRUSH a young writer who doesn't want to hear my words of wisdom???


    It comes down to money.

    Ach, ach, ach don't scoff at me, darling girl, I'm old enough to be your mother (but not your grandmother!!!) :)

    When someone is paying you to deliver goods on time, writer's block becomes a non-entity. That deadline becomes the goal, and I never miss a goal. Remember yesterday you mentioned that you don't set goals?

    Well when you're contracted to produce books on a timeline, that's the goal. And to get them done and polished, that's the path to the goal, so I can't afford writer's block. If I feel like I'm stuck... I either go back and figure out where I went astray (and sometimes I do this on hard copy, not the computer because I get the "flow" better on paper, and I catch more mistakes) OR... I work on something totally different.

    That might be a novella, or edits or something with another author, but I refuse to lag because it's a dangerous habit for me...

    Now you're young. You've got lots of time. I've already had lots of time (Thank you, Lord!) so I'm on a different set of rails than you are... although after reading A Fault in Our Stars, I'm not guaranteeing you anything, darling girl! (Laughing)

    BUT... I refuse to acknowledge writer's block... it just means either I goofed up.. or I need to clear my head and work on something else for a few days while I mull.

    Try that and see if it helps.

    Unless you're absolutely enjoying getting some time off!!!

  40. Okay, for a wise and challenging post like this, I'll take the Ruthinator two days in a row! You go, girl!

  41. I love all things RUTHY. Well, providing there Seekerville's Ruth. And back to back Ruthy is just awesome! I think it's cool that you can see your stories sometimes years before you write them.
    I love that I have 4 chances to win your newest book, too!!!!!!

  42. What a beautiful post, Ruthy! You're always an inspiration to me to see how hard you work. But I have to admit I'm SO JEALOUS that your stories come formed!! I have the hardest time seeing the big picture. My stories usually come through a snippet of a character or an idea of opposites attracting. Yet, the big picture always seems just out of my reach. I think I need to somehow stretch my brain! :)

  43. Reading through the comments this morning, I can't help but thinking of CS Lewis's quote about friendship: “Friendship ... is born at the moment when one [wo]man says to another "What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”
    ― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

    I'm glad to be among friends :)

  44. What a great post. As a reader, I related to the parts of having a business. Staying disciplined, and working hard. I love what I do. (helping home educators at the end of their year) Being able to work for yourself is really a gift as you shared.

    I would of course love to win your new book. Just finished Refuge of the Heart, and really enjoyed it.

    Have a great day!
    Becky B.

  45. What an inspiring enthusiastic post! I know that I am what gets in the way of my writing. Stories have been rattling around in my head since I was a little daydreamin' Illinois farm girl. Pray with me to finish the stories I have in progress and that I will hear from the one I have recently pitched in a contest. Encouragement is a gift from God. You got it Ruthy. Blessings

  46. Myra, thank you for forgiving me for messing up!!! I will do better.

    I spit-shine promise!

  47. I stopped by to pick up my breakfast sandwich (with bacon!) and read the comments, and I'm getting energized by this post all over again.

    You have the gift of encouragement, dear Ruthy.

    Okay, maybe it's the Gibbs head-slap type of encouragement, but it's effective!

    Keep at it!

  48. Megan Brummer! Perfect quote for today!

  49. Marianne!!! RIGHT????

    This is the best kind of mistake EVER!

    And thank you for your kind words, you made me smile!!!

    Hey, Dave brought home Tops Donuts again.



    And my "bee guy" was just here because we have a monster sized paper wasp nest in our big maple tree, hanging over our porch. And tiny nests in my wind chimes. WHAT THE HECK, wasps???? Paper Wasp Nest Like Ruthy's

    So I'm relegated inside for a little while as the magic potion renders my flighted friends immobile.

    I can't believe my pumpkin customers would be happy if this thing came crashing down while they shop for festive fall decorations, right???

  50. Drexler! I miss GIBBS!!! Soon... he'll be back soon!

    And Jan and historical lovers, have you seen Poldark? English historical, totally excellent miniseries, Season 1 is free on Prime right now, season 2 starts on PBS on 9/25.

    Oh my stars, I love, love, love this series... such trying times, and the kind of romance that I only wish I could write!!!!

    Poldark Season One on Prime

  51. Brummer, I agree.


    I love C.S. Lewis.

  52. Missy, it's a gift, right? And Sarah is the same way, she'll wake up and something she's been struggling with is all laid out in neat and orderly fashion in her head, as if her brain sorted it out during sleep.

    So maybe it does?

    I can't explain it better than that, but it's as if the story unfolds in my head when the pieces align.

    And then I can see how to blend the colors and mute the edges.

    I will give you some brain if you want some.

    I'm a very good share-er!!!

  53. Becky, I'm so glad you enjoyed Refuge of the Heart! YAY!!!!! I'm tucking your name into the cat dish, and I agree... all of these points work well for any self-employed person, don't they? It's amazing how we can do a complete cross-over and analogize so many things. I think that's because the marks of success or self-satisfaction (because I never, ever equate success with money, money is more of a distraction and temptation than a cure of anything...) cross the lines of art and work and blend them together for us.

    As they should!

  54. Linda, I will gladly pray with you and for you!

    I couldn't write properly when raising my kids. They needed too much of me, and I promised God that if he gave me time, I'd do it when my first responsibility was done.

    So I started when Luke, my youngest, was 16 years old.

    But that doesn't mean others can't do it... and I was working two jobs then, we'd fallen on tough times, and we needed those nametag and hairnet jobs to pay bills.

    BUT... those jobs were the best, best training for writing stories that resonate with the NORMALS among us!

    The race that knows Joseph!


    Praying for your inner light to shine through your words as there is time to write them, and for you to recognize the timing and grab hold, both hands!

  55. RUTHY, excellent, motivational post to help all of us work harder and not waste the gift God has given us. But man, I wish I could see my stories before I write them as you do! I may get a spark of an idea for a story, but discovering the goals and conflicts and wounds, etc. etc. is like mining for coal with a shovel and pick ax. If a tidbit for a story does come to me, I must write it down, as ideas are fleeting in my head. But enough of whiny. We get what we get. Even if my creativity sputters like a car running out of gas, I want to use the talent God's given me. No buried talents in Seekerville!


  56. Janet, that's such a good point. Mine just stay swimming in my brain until they meet up with a sympathetic or copacetic friend (who knew that was a "c" in copacetic????) and join ranks to browbeat me into telling the story.

    But when that doesn't happen, it's got to be clutch to mix and match and write things down, right?

    And I love that we've been blessed with these gifts... so beautifully... and that every single one of us has been able to use them and reach that goal of publication and beyond.

    How amazing is that????

  57. Great information and encouragement for me, as a new writer. Thank you so much. :-)

  58. Melissa! So glad you're here, and you're welcome. Glad to have you joining the party!

  59. RUTHY, that is amazing! I'm still awed when I see my name on a book cover! #thankful!


  60. Ruthy
    one, your books have the most gorgeous covers EVER!
    two, I always feel revved up and ready to conquer the world after reading one of your posts. Not that I've actually done anything writing-wise - but I do feel very encouraged to be creative (a bonus, since that's what I do all day... creative stuff - making boring information interesting via graphics).
    three, what's stopping me is ME. Giving myself permission to take my "hobby" and treat it like a second job. well, that and the Gupster. I'm attempting to nurture the little man to find out how God wired him and have him run with it. He's six, so he's not real knowledgeable about the heavenly hard-wiring, but I figure planting the seeds cannot come too early. Bedtime prayers always include the request for filling us with the Holy Spirit so we can grow into the people God made us to be.

    I keep writing bits and pieces of story ideas that will ferment in the recesses of my mind until I can put them to paper. In the meantime, I keep learning and enjoying the community of Seekerville where there are folks of like mind.

    Plus, my favorite new past-time is watching you and Mary poke at each other...Priceless.

    Lunch break over. Back to work. *sad face 'cuz must turn off internet*

  61. Melissa - I'm so happy you popped over! You'll love it here.

  62. Love this post! These words really resonated with me: "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 read Ruthie's words today and then later saw a post by Micheal Hyatt about the abundance mindset. These ideas go hand-in-hand. No need to feel competitive against our fellow writers because we should believe there are plenty of contracts and readers to go around (for those who are willing to do the work.) In the end, all we can control is what we do. And on that note, I better get back to work!

  63. The 'career change' sign you put up, Ruthy, reminds me of that MOMENT when I decided, 'if no one's going to publish my books, I'm just going to write to entertain myself.'

    Up to that point I'd been aiming at Silhouette Romance, remember them? They were the last truly 'sweet' line at HQ. The whole company with their growing lines kept getting hotter and allowing increasingly explicit sex and profanity.

    It all edged in slowly but I had to keep backing off which lines I could pitch to.

    So that limited what I'd write, until I just started writing to have fun. It was a freeing moment. Out of that came the gothic romance I wrote, all the romantic suspense and TADA!!! the historical cowboys...which finally found a publisher.

    So that was my 'new career'.

  64. Seems I've saved the best for the afternoon! Had church this AM, then a million errands and a trip to the hair salon, which always takes time! Just got home to savor your lovely post.

    All so true. All so Ruthy. All so inspirational!

    Could I order produce from your garden? Did you mention 13 acres? Oh my gosh! Wonderful. I'll take summer squash, cukes, tomatoes, green beans, eggplant and lettuce. Thank you, ma'am. Delivered, right? :)

    I love when folks say, "Well, are you working on another book?" And I say, "You bet!" When people ask how I can come up with stories, I blame it on a deviant mind. :)

    Writers are a different breed. Just wish the house could keep going on autopilot. If only, it cleaned itself and could cook!

  65. Cindy W., covering you and your family with prayer. Remember this time will pass, and God will provide a way for you to write. Maybe not as soon as you would like, but if it's the desire of your heart, then He will open doors and provide the wherewithal!

  66. Deb Marvin, love your new pic. Missed you at ACFW. How's life in your area of the world? Hugs!

  67. Ruthy,

    What an inspiring post! I really needed to hear this today! You asked what's holding me back? ME! I could certainly use prayers for direction on a few things in my life right now.

    Thanks again, and please throw my name in the drawing.

  68. Super post, Ruthy!

    Health challenges are holding me back. I sure would appreciate prayer. I know others are suffering far more though so prayer for all who suffer.

    Please enter me in the drawing. Usually once I read a Christian book I send it to my mom for her free Christian lending library but I know I'd keep that Jesus calling Bible.

    May God bless you and all of Seekerville!

  69. Deb, I'm laughing and hugging you from up north!!!

    You know, it's okay to trust God with the timing.

    If He hadn't given me time, then I wasn't supposed to have it. I learned to live fully in the present and be hopeful of my future, but not dependent on it or worried about it.

    Stay strong! You are such a wonderful and blessed person, and I love having you on my side!

  70. Leslie and Phyllis, praying for both of you!!!

    Phyllis, JESUS CALLING is a keeper. You'll want to buy a second copy for your Mom! :)

  71. ALISON!!! You hit on the exact thing that drew the Seekers together all those years ago... this is such a competitive business, and publishers were talking about "1 spot/year for newbies, 2 spots per year for new authors, etc." and we just refused to be daunted.

    Why not us? Why not pray each other into one of those spots instead of competing for the spots?

    We believed things would open and they did. (Of course there may have been a tiny bit of whining, sulking, pouting before that call came, but the work never stopped.)

    I love that theme of Michael Hyatt's "Abundance". Humans worry foolishly when we generally have the very things we need... LIKE EVERYTHING WE NEED!!!... in our hands, minds and hearts.

    We just forget to use them!!!

    Alison, I'm so glad you stopped over!!!

  72. Mary, you were the wise one who told me (and some others) that the whole trend toward eroticism and sex opened a door for our genre, for Christian fiction and sweet romance.

    Because everything skewed so far to the left, a broad gap appeared at the right.

    And here we are.

    That was brilliant reasoning on your part.

    (You probably overheard someone saying it, didn't you, dear? But that's okay, I'll tell no one that you stole someone else's brilliance! It's just between friends!!!) :)

  73. Deb, I'd go for that autopilot house. Or a housekeeper. And a cook.

    Although I don't mind tuna sandwiches on those all too frequent crazy nights. :)

    And thank you for not only your kind words today, but your kind words every day.

    You are our very own Lady Crawley and I am always in awe of how kind, generous and selfless you are. I would tell everyone here, but I'd embarrass you, and I don't mean to do that.

    But Debby is the kind of person I'd love to be.

    If I could remember to be thoughtful!!!!

  74. Leslie.

    That's generally the finger of blame, darling. Pointed right back at us.

    And usually it's because we don't want to take that chance to fail... or take the risk to succeed.

    I think after so many different jobs all my life, that to finally be able to do this is a stinkin' dream come true.

    It's what I was meant to do. And I love it so much.

    So find that part of you that loves this.

    Connect with whatever part of you longs to see your name on a cover or a check in the mail! Whatever it takes... Jump in and try the water! You'll love it!

  75. Phyllis, it's hard to struggle through health issues... And family issues, too. And huge thank yous for sharing through the lending library. I think that's awesome and I totally appreciate it!

    So maybe it's not your time right now. Maybe it's your time to be the story and not tell the story. Maybe a time of trial is meant to help you shape future stories with the breadth of reality because you've experienced it.

    I always took comfort in writers who started later in life. Laura Ingalls Wilder at age 60...Bram Stoker, age 50.... Richard Adams, in his 50's... Herman Wouk (one of my favorites) kept writing into his 90's...

    God's time.

    We've got to rely on that to happen and unfold as it should, but I'll pray for your discernment and good health! I love good health!!!

  76. Phyllis, I agree with Debby... Jesus Calling is a keeper, for sure!

  77. Purdy shure I made it all up me-own self, Ruthy. I'm elokwant like that

  78. Connealy, laughing! Of course you did, but it got you to come back and be funny!

    I luv ure elokwance!

  79. I get inspired the same way- from everything! And I'm doing my best with my stories so that one day I can hear 'Well done, good and faithful servant.' But I've got to work extra hard because I've been extra blessed and those to whom much has been given, much is required. Oh, boy!

    And, boy, am I glad we're called to be faithful and not successful!

  80. Boo, I love that you're faithful... and I'm 100% on board with you there.

    What's success, anyway?

    A silly, fleeting thing by so many standards!

    I love your sweet, funny, gentle creative heart!

  81. Debby, thanks for the prayers!

    Ruthy, you really nailed it with this comment: "And usually it's because we don't want to take that chance to fail... or take the risk to succeed." So true!

    Thanks for the encouragement :)

  82. Ruthy, Inspiration plus perspiration, got it! Thanks for the perseverance pep talk, and a reminder of how fortunate I am to be doing something I really love.

  83. RUTHY, I'm doing a fly-by here, but wanted to tell you that I'll be back later to read your post again, as well as the comments. Thank you for your encouragement! Been out a big chunk of the day, but I couldn't stand to miss anything here. Btw, I downloaded "The Pastor Takes a Wife" from Amazon and I'm so looking forward to reading it!!

  84. Thanks for your interesting post, Ruthy - I so enjoyed learning more about your writing process, absolutely amazing!! Your life principles are such an inspiration- to writers and non-writers, alike!! There were years when I didn't fully use the talents God has given me, I pray I'm making up for lost time in these final years.

    Please drop my name in the drawing, thank you!!

  85. Ruthy, it's been said but I'll repeat. You definitely have the gift of exhortation. This isn't a season of writing for me. I hope to get back to it but only God knows if the day will come when that can happen :) I just wanted to tell you the cover for "The First Gift" made me want to wake my husband and ask him for a trip to Tennessee this fall. I've already gone twice this year so I probably shouldn't "wake the sleeping bear" lol. Loved the cover and as usual can't wait to read the book.

  86. Tanya, my beautiful friend, you're welcome! We stand together... That way when we slip and fall, there's a whole crew to help us back up.

    I love that!

  87. Laura, thank you! I hope you love it, that sweet historical "Sewing Sisters Society" series makes me laugh! I am in love with Hattie McGillicuddy, she's like the perfect bridge between old world thoughts and women's suffrage.

    With a bank account, LOL!

  88. Pat, those seasons of writing ebb and wane, just like the moon, don't they?

    And we move on.

    I love Tennessee. I love the Blue Ridge. I love Northern Appalachia. And I'm tucking your name right into this drawing!!!

    Thanks for stopping by, Pat... There are no requirements of writing in Seekerville... just hugs, great pretend food, and kinship!!!

  89. Ruthy, You are such an inspiration, an encourager, exhorter! There will be extra jewels in your heavenly crown, not only for being an amazing woman, but also inspiring us to be amazing women and amazing writers!

    Thank you for sharing from your heart!

    Please put my name in the drawing for your new book!


  90. Ruthy, I'm sorry to be so late commenting! I loved this post!! Encouragement and a kick in the pants at the same time. Thank you so much for your hard work and dedication to helping others reach their writing goals. ((Hugs))

  91. Ruth, you literally brought tears to my eyes. How do we not see, not act on our blessings? If we love to write, God expects us to write! You are amazing and I adore your books. Blessings and hugs and thank you you!

  92. Sorry I missed you yesterday. Great post. Again. smile

    Happy writing.

  93. Ruthy -
    What a blessing you are to me! This is one post I will read over and over -

    I can get so discouraged with writing lately. I have written all my life, never (hardly) submitting it due to lack of confidence. I have boxfuls of 'stuff' (before computers were born) and unending digital files from poems to chidren's stories to novels to devotionals. When I have submitted things I am always surprised by the response (a good one - positive).

    But now I am fighting Young Onset Parkinson's disease since age 44 and now at 56, battle typing and handwriting is out of the question.

    All to say, your post is the kick in the pants I needed to keep on keeping on and to persevere. I love your books, your heart and wish I knew you personally! Your heart seems so similar for the things of life - writing, family, growing things, taking pics - and we both share a grandson named Finn who I am sure would be best friends, reading about your experiences!

    Thanks so much for the constant inspiration you give just by being you! - Sherri

    P.S. - I would love to read your new book!

  94. Ruthy, I could chat with you every day and learn something new! I'm really looking forward to that book of yours and I'm so disappointed I was too late to snag a copy of Home on the Range from Blogging for Books. I will just have to stalker your giveaways when it releases ;) Hugs!

  95. This comment has been removed by the author.

  96. Ruth
    I just wanted to say thank you. Perfect timing

    btw - there are days that I hate auto-correct:-)

  97. Thank you, but I didn't come up with it. I first head the 'faithful, not successful' from my grandma's pastor's son.