A writer's profile? Me? Yes, it is time to step up to the task God has given me.
To give you a better picture of who I am as a writer I conducted a little interview with myself:
Self, tell me. How long have you been writing?
Ever since I could hold a writing utensil of any kind in my hand. I'm sure my greatest masterpiece was lost forever when our mobile home was hauled away to it's destiny as "scrap".
As I grew older I advanced, of course, to recording my musings on paper napkins, old bulletins, gum wrappers, receipts ...
Why do you write?
That's a loaded question! Let me see, because I simply cannot NOT write? At any given time there are so many words in me that I feel I will bust open if I don't get some of them out. Sometimes that means writing them on the nearest scrap of paper, talking to myself, or saving them on-screen with a word processing program. Of course, very little of it at that stage is any good, but at least it's out and I can move on from there.
What has the journey of your development as a writer been like?
SLOW! Wrought with doubts, anxiety, discouragement, do you want me to go on? (chuckles) Actually, I don't see it much different from any other writer out there. I started out with a dream to write. I allowed myself to write all the time and anything was worthy of being recorded.
As I grew older and "wiser" I stifled that silly notion that my words could inspire or entertain someone else and began to pursue more "grown-up" things. You know, like earning a living and providing a roof over my head. My only writing outlet became a diary.
Eventually my willpower gave out and I enrolled in a correspondance writing course. That was a great move! I felt validated as a writer. I also discovered that there was more to writing than just recording the secret life inside my head. Actual skill was needed to present my words in a way that made sense. (pause)
You looked really sad just now as you paused. What are you thinking about?
I never finished that course. I think I'm, like, two assignments away from completing it.
Why didn't you ever complete it?
I let life get in the way. I doubted myself. I procrastinated. I think I was afraid I didn't have what it took to be a writer and if I finished the course I'd HAVE to be a writer. Does that make sense? It's a shame, too. I had a great instructor named W. Terry Whalin.
Obviously you changed your mind about being a writer. What inspired that?
A couple of years ago I stumbled onto a Christian Writer's website called "FaithWriters". I owe this all to them! Through this site I published my first article on-line. More than that, though, I found a family in the fellow FaithWriters. We have prayed together through the message boards, celebrated each other's accomplishments, and had fun playing word games like only writer's can do!
This past August (2007) we met in-person for the first time at the Inaugural FaithWriter's Conference. It was like a huge family reunion. It also was a KEY moment of realization for me. Through the conference and a Bible study for writers written by Marlene Bagnull (Write His Answer, Write Now Publications) God confirmed his call to me to write.
Where do you plan to go from here?
Forward! Actually, I am back to honing my skill and discovering my options. I spend time every day with God and specifically talk to him about my writing. I also make sure I do SOMETHING to advance my writing each day. Sometimes that means reading an article on writing, editing an old article from my FaithWriter's profile, or creating something new. I enter a story in the Faithwriter's Challenge contest once a month and try to focus on a different writing skill. My next focus will be "no gerunds"!
What's a "gerund"?
A verb ending in "ing". Good writers use them sparingly because it shows "lazy" action. For example, you could write - "Walking into the room, she immediately inhaled the chocolate." That's using a gerund. Showing would be more effective if you wrote - "She walked into the room and immediately inhaled the chocolate."
Do you have a favorite writing experience?
Actually, I have a couple! A fellow FaithWriter started a group called, "Peculiar People". We just call it PeP. Simply, we are a group of writers that write together. The very first project was a science fiction story we "dialogued" in a chat room each week. We literally acted out the story on the fly each week. It was a blast! An editing nightmare but fun. We're still waiting to decide just what to do with that story.
Last summer we created another PeP project that will be published sometime this fall. About 27 authors came together and wrote a mystery novel together titled, Struggle Creek. It was wild! We each wrote a chapter or two telling the story from our character's perspective. Our poor editor took almost a year to edit it! She says it's still kind of "schizophrenic" in it's telling, but she really loves the story.
You once put Chicklit as your genre. Do you have any comment about that?
I was a little nervous about restricting myself to one genre, but a lot of my writing tends toward that. My chapter in Struggle Creek is definitely chicklit style. However, the novel I am currently working on is definitely not humorous chicklit, so I guess I'm confused.
I just love writing about quirky, witty women and their everyday experiences. That's chicklit, right?
Aside from writing, who is Ruby T. Johnson?
She's a zaney, funny Pastor's wife and mother of two adorable cherubs. She is passionate about being a good steward of ALL God has allowed her to have - family, home, abilities, body, things like that. She tells her children that sugar is the "fruit of the devil". (smiles) They LOVE to be wicked and indulge.
She was once described as NOT your typical Pastor's wife. The gal giving the description said she shows that Godliness does not have to be boring. She takes that as a high compliment.
She sings, colors her hair in all different shades (it was once blond, brunette, and burgundy all at once - she's currently experimenting with other shades), reads any form of Jane Austen, WATCHES any form of Jane Austen - that is, when she's not reading and watching any form of J.R.R. Tolkien or any number of other classics. However, she's like a cameleon - her tastes are varied and always changing. It drives her poor husband crazy.
She also really loves to act...up?! She has received various drama awards and even toured with a drama team (one of the members of this team later became her husband). Momhood kinda put that love of acting on hold. With a busy husband and young children, the idea of committing to regular rehearsals seems a bit unrealistic, but someday she just may step back into it. After her bestseller is written, of course. (wink)