What a Difference Two Years and a Month Make…

 ….. wrote nobody, ever. Even Dinah Washington couldn’t have made that scan. But sometimes it’s good to look back and that’s what I’m doing with this, my last ever blog for Authors Electric. 

Back in January 2021, I’d just published my first novel, the diary of Isabella M Smugge and I was riding high on adrenaline and the joy of realising a lifelong dream. That same month, the redoubtable Wendy H Jones asked me if I’d like to start contributing to Authors Electric. 

“Would I?” I replied jauntily, flexing my fingers and cracking out a new ink cartridge. “I love a blog.” 

And so I do. Writing for the More Than Writers blog (thanks again Wendy) is what got me my start in publishing fiction and the discipline of turning out 600-800 engaging words once a month honed my style no end. The enormous header tank of ideas sloshing around in my head was ready to be plundered and I loved the freedom Authors Electric gave me to write about anything I fancied. Knowing that other great writers all over the world might read my words was a huge encouragement. 

You can read my first blog from February 2021 here: https://authorselectric.blogspot.com/2021/02/five-true-things-and-novel-into-bargain.html 

So what to write about in March 2023 for my last blog? I now have three Isabella M Smugge novels out, I’m publishing “A Great Deal of Ingenuity”, a collection of Pride and Prejudice short stories based on very minor characters in the novel in June and I have just received two commissions to ghost write a memoir. My writing life is changing. On Saturday I delivered my first creative writing workshop in my local village. I wasn’t sure how it was going to go, but the ladies who attended bonded immediately and there were lots of laughs. I’ve done workshops many times before, but they’ve always been part of a larger event. This was the first time people had shelled out good money just to see a middle aged woman in a green frock and a dangly silver necklace talk about the writing journey. 

As you’ll all know, being a writer can sometimes feel like you’re the king of the world and sometimes as though you are all alone in a whirling maelstrom of fear and lack of confidence. Voices whisper in your ear.

 “Why don’t you get a proper job?”

 “You’re kidding yourself – why would anyone read your stuff?”

 “People are just being kind when they say they like your books.”

 “This is a complete waste of time. You’ll never have another original idea ever again.”

 Two and a bit years on from my first book coming out, I have got some evidence that I am a real writer. I’ve got reviews on Goodreads, Amazon and Waterstones, people often email to tell me they like my books, I do talks at local schools and get asked back, the feedback forms from the workshop said nice things and I have invested in the three things every Lady Writer and Speaker needs, namely: 

1.    An important ring

2.    A chunky silver necklace

3.    Speaker’s lippy

Slipping into my Roman Originals forest green dress (forgiving, flowing and has pockets – come on!) adding the jewellery and slapping on the red Speaker’s Lippy (makes you look good in photos and acts as a focal point) I began to feel like the real thing. I had notes, piles of books, anecdotes, some great literary theories (Barthes’ Death of the Author anyone?) and more to the point, some actual people who actually wanted to hear what I had to say. 

Standing by myself in the gallery space taking some deep breaths and readying myself for whatever was to come, I had no idea how the workshop would go. In they all came, clutching coffees and ready to learn something. Within five minutes, we were all laughing and bonding and by 1.00 I had realised that the fear I’d felt about doing my own workshop had fled.

So here I am. It’s mid-March 2023, I’ve nearly finished my next book, I’m starting some ghost writing work, I’m going to write a series of “How To” books for writers and I’m planning my own workshops in the Palace of Creativity. Everything’s changed. 

So thank you Authors Electric. It’s been a blast. Here’s to the next two years and a month or so.

Ruth is a novelist and freelance writer, the author of the Isabella M Smugge series, contemporary humorous page-turners with heart. She is publishing a book of Pride and Prejudice short stories in summer 2023. Ruth is also a freelance writer and blogs at ruthleighwrites.co.uk. She has abnormally narrow sinuses and a morbid fear of raw tomatoes, but has decided not to let this get in the way of a meaningful life. You can find her on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and Twitter at ruthleighwrites and at her website, www.ruthleighwrites.co.uk.


Amy Arora said…
I loved reading this post, Ruth. It just shows how far the author journey can go once you start believing in it.
I love your author must-haves too. I think mine are oversized pink glasses and earrings, even when I'm writing in my pyjamas.
Good luck with what comes next!
Christine Cacot said…
As always this is a thoroughly enjoyable read,Ruth.
I am so happy and excited for you,regarding your progressive writing ventures.
I really believe you are finding your 'writer's niche'.
I look forward to reading more of your books and hearing about where your writing journey takes you.
All the best for everything!!
Ruth Leigh said…
Thank you so much Amy! Oh yes! Those are definitely Lady Writer Must-Haves (and did I mention chocolate? For medicinal purposes). Exciting times ahead. Thank you for your kind words and I wish you every success with your writing journey. Do keep me posted.
Ruth Leigh said…
I think I am, Chrissy. It feels good! And thanks for your constant support and for cheering me on
Umberto Tosi said…
Sorry to see you go. Congratulations on your books and other achievements! We will miss your posts. Here's wishing you the best with your new projects.
Ruth Leigh said…
Thank you so much, Umberto. It's been great being part of the AE writing team and I've so enjoyed reading all your posts. All the very best.
SC Skillman said…
Your new projects sound so exciting, Ruth! I'm looking forward to the Jane Austen book!
Ruth Leigh said…
Thanks Sheila! Not long now
Peter Leyland said…
Sorry to hear that you're leaving us Ruth. It sounds like a real upward trajectory but I expect there were some moments of self-doubt. Good luck for the future. AE will miss you.
Ruth Leigh said…
Thank you for all your support and encouraging comments, Peter. I'll miss you, but for me, it's the end of my season with AE and it's a time for which I'm enormously grateful. Lots of moments of self-doubt! I suspect we all have them.

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