March 4, 2012

WRITING ADVICE – Kristine Kathryn Rusch #10: THE BUSINESS RUSCH – You Are Not Alone

I first ran across the work of Kristine Kathryn Rusch when her named appeared on the bottom of a standard rejection form I got from The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, where she was head editor for several years. A short time later, I ran across one of her short stories (“Retrieval Artist” in the June 2000 ANALOG), which of course, led me t0 her RETRIEVAL ARTIST novels. I’m a fan now and started reading her blog a year or so ago. As always, I look for good writing advice to pass on to you as well as applying it to my own writing. I have her permission to quote from the articles. You can find the complete article referenced below, here:

This is a depressing chapter!

As a less-than-famous writer, reading this should make me give up and get ESPN and ESPN2 cable and watch sports non-stop like many of the men I know. At least then, nothing will be expected from me and I can stop flogging myself for no reason at all.

After paragraphs that wouldn’t be out of place in the Biblical books of Job or Lamentations, Kristine Kathryn Rusch offers an echo of hope and peace: “I could have been one of those casualties. I almost was. Three things saved me…I persevered… we learned…it doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked to the ground. Nor does it matter how long you remain there. What matters is whether or not you get up…”

She added one other thing later on that I think is important and that I’ve advocated for in my life in general: “Have fun.”

I’ve started to take this advice more to heart. I know it’s primarily aimed at the “famous”, those who have contracts and whose careers are being crushed or who are managing to retool and readjust and reboot their careers.

But this is good advice for those of us who are NOT famous; at least not yet! Realistically, being a writer is a hard road to follow. I sometimes think I’d rather be swallowed by a whale than continue trying to write and publish. At least then I could write about my experience and sell a first person travel piece to some magazine or other...hmmmm, I think there might be a story idea here or something!

My daughter recently discovered that she might do well to start branching out in her writing – which has been mostly fantasy until now – when she emailed me, “I think I've found a way that I like writing short stories -- by telling true stories!”

As I’ve said before, I’m already a multiple-genre writer, I just need to spend MORE time writing. And this is where her admonitions and encouragement will be most effective. In the past ten articles, I’ve gleaned wisdom (as I hope you have) that might be summarized this way:

1) Write short stories
2) Don’t postpone your dream
3) Take risks
4) Give some of your stuff away
5) Failures teach you how to be a success
6) Write short stories
7) Follow your muse
8) Read about writing
9) You are responsible for your own career.

Those sort of sound like life wisdom, don’t they?

Given what I now know about Kristine Kathryn Rusch, that’s absolutely no surprise! A last bit of advice from the article above and we’ll bid the wisdom of Kristine adieu:

“We have opportunities here. It’s hard to see them when you’ve been pushed and shoved against a wall, when you’re crowded into a corner, and people are telling you lies to further their own interests. Shut down the voices. Remember who you are and what you want.”

Good advice -- has anyone else got a bit of advice they'd like to share or a story about how KKR's advice struck you?


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