Fairy Dust or Hard Work?
May 27, 2011

Ernest Hemingway's desk in his house in Key West.

So the writer can only do his or her part to the best of his ability and place himself in the best position for the next steps. There are ways to get noticed, but still no guarantees.

Editor Beth Hill    Click here: Editor’s Blog  


I’m of the camp that believes a writer can make their own luck through hard, hard work. In a sense, the first part of an author’s career is an apprenticeship to Writing. To experiment, practice, (and above all), write. Again, dare to suck. The only way to write amazing, get-noticed material is through writing dull stuff, wrong stuff, first drafts, embarassing ideas, the grocery list, if necessary, as long as you keep the pen (or keyboard) moving.

When we write, we train our brains to write. To think. To create. It’s no different than anything else we do, from drawing, knitting, riding, *fill in the blank*. We don’t draw perfect people, knit perfect sweaters, gallop and sidestep right out of the gate. First, we learn. We practice, put in the hours. Study what those further ahead of us know. Be willing to fail. But, also be willing to get back up, get back to the page.

Neither magical thinking  nor daydreams of ones books on the shelves will make it happen over the long haul. The best tool a writer has is hard work — to keep writing — to persevere.

Every day is a new page.

Dare To Suck. That’s right, Writers.
April 22, 2011

It’s Friday, I’m happily pounding the keys as I work on revisions (very exciting!) and a light beer is beckoning, not to mention ranch chores, so let me make this short and sweet.

Dare to suck. Doooo it.

Daring to suck means you’re thinking, writing, practicing, evolving. There’re no edits, no rewrites, no revisions, no polishing — no words — if you don’t first dare to suck.

And you just might find, as you read your words back, that they’re not so bad, after all.

Good writing, everyone.

Is Writing Ever A Waste Of Time?
January 18, 2011

The questions writers ask themselves during different stages of the writing process, especially writers pursuing publication, seem to be universal:

Is writing a waste of time?

Will I ever get anywhere with my writing?  

The good news is, you, as writer, have the ability to influence the outcome. Perhaps it all comes down to another question, underpinning the two above:

Why do you write?

Up until three years ago, I wrote for the sheer joy of writing. Agents and publication weren’t part of it; writing felt as necessary as breathing. I felt fiercely protective of my words, not wanting anything outside myself to put constraints on how or what I wrote. It wasn’t about the market, grammar, or craft. It was about expressing myself through a medium that fits my soul perfectly.

And then, one day (I can’t explain why) I felt ready to take my writing to the next level. After two years of querying, (along with hundreds of rejections), and two manuscripts, I signed with an agent in October. My first novel is out on sub to publishers, and I feel excited, exhilarated, but most importantly, ready.

I know everyone sees the agent as the brass ring, but there are other ways of looking at the process. Using myself as an example, those years I wrote for myself were just as valuable as those offers of representation, if not more so. The writing grew me into the person I am now, and taught me much about being that person in the world.

Why do you write?

How about the joy of words, the journey of mind and soul and the growth within it, the lessons learned about hard work, perseverance, believing in dreams, being true to yourself, doing what makes you, you?

 Nothing we do with our whole hearts is ever a waste of time. Even when the writing benefits only ourselves, it can still develop us in ways that benefit others and the world at large.

Does your writing pass the smile test?

It goes like this:  the joy felt when doing what you love puts a smile on your face, and then you go out into the big, wide world and smile at strangers, who then feel buoyed up and smile at other strangers, changing the energy of the world at large.

If your words can do that, how can they ever be a waste of time?

A saying in the horse rescue world also applies: saving a horse may not change the world, but it changes that one horse’s WHOLE world.

The same goes for your writing, even if the audience is an audience of one.

Why do you write? Is it ever a waste of time, in your experience?

Six Agent Offers!
October 24, 2010


After writing three YA novels, navigating a close call with my previous manuscript, and spending four months on Query Road for my present work, hollyrusken@yahoo.com, I received an offer of representation on Thursday — and another on Saturday!

As if that isn’t heady enough, three more agents are making their decisions by Monday, and I eagerly await agent-phone-call-number-three Monday afternoon.

To say my head is spinning would be the understatement of the century!

After years of drought, the floodgates have opened. I feel so many emotions — relieved, excited!, thankful, validated, and the list goes on and on. The champagne, chillin’ in the fridge for ten months, has been cracked …

One word -- YUM!

… the roses sniffed …

From my husband, my staunchest supporter.

… and happy dancing has commenced all over the house, even if it causes the terriers to bark at their crazy, face-hurts-from-grinning-so-hard human being.

I wish I could adequately convey the feeling of a lifetime of hope and dreams mixed with years of hard, hard work culminating in the representation I’ve been dreaming of!

I will, when I can. But more so, I want to reiterate to my fellow travelers that the dream is POSSIBLE, DOABLE, REACHABLE if you continue to work hard, believe in yourself, and most of all, SHINE!

To my writing community, my beta readers, my supportive writing friends, my old friends who believed in me from the start — YOU ROCK!

I wouldn’t be here without you. For that, I thank you with all my heart.

Nailed to the wall by the phone for 8 months. There are more questions on the back, also.

I have until the 30th to make my decision, so I’ll be back to announce the news.

Until then, honking at you from the Happy Writer rest stop on Query Road, still grinning like a fool and pinching myself!    

By popular demand: the B side!

 (No saguaros were harmed in the taking of this photograph : )

Agent Interest In My Novel, Brave New Girl!
October 25, 2009

I can’t say more for now, as other agents still have my manuscript, but I’m ecstatic!

It’s been a long, winding, twisty-turny road of continuous writing, hard work, perseverance and hope that’s brought me to this day.

Big thank you’s to my friends and fellow writers for your support, encouragement and belief in me and my words.

More information will be forthcoming in the future.