Thursday, December 22, 2011

Author R.H. Russell: Why Writing Is NOT My Life

small picIt’s my pleasure to introduce another ‘new-to-me’ author today who not only writes about an intriguing sport (to me), but also has experience in the field. Please join me in welcoming author R.H. Russell as the special guest blogger.

R.H. is the author of the Venture Book Series which features Book One, VENTURE UNTAMED, and Book Two, VENTURE UNLEASED. She is also the author of BONDED, the prequel to the series.

Here is a brief synopsis of VENTURE UNTAMED: Venture Delving is a bonded servant, a member of the lowest class in the world. Already fatherless, when he loses his mother, he veers from energetic to out of control. But when Venture's rage saves the life of Jade, his best friend and his master's daughter, Venture finds himself in the last place he ever expected--a center renowned for training young boys to be professional fighters.

When Venture realizes he's fallen in love with Jade, he knows that the only way he'll ever have her, the only way he'll ever be free to live the life he's meant to live, is to defy convention, common sense, the trust of those he cares about most--and sometimes the law--and become the best fighter in the world, the Champion of All Richland. Venture must battle not only rival fighters, but the ghosts of his past and the members of a privileged warrior class who stand between him and his dream.

VENTURE UNTAMED is an eBook with approximately 60,000 words and is geared toward ages 13 and up. VENTURE UNLEASED, also an eBook, is approximately 72,000 words and geared toward ages 15 and up.

first bookR.H. joins us today to talk about ‘Why Writing Is Not My Life.’

Several years ago, when I first began exploring online writers' forums, I kept seeing members declare, "Writing is my life!" Some would go on to brag about how all-consuming their writing was, about how they had no friends, no time for other activities. At times, especially when I saw one of them making strides toward publication, I wondered if they were right. Would only those who poured everything--and I mean everything--into their writing succeed? If that was true, there was no hope for me.

See, as a young adult, I'd already learned the painful lesson that writing was not my life and never could be. As an introvert, it's sometimes tempting to let myself disappear into a world of my own creation, to completely give in to my drive to write, and to succeed as an author. But I married and had children young, and they needed me to be more than a writer. Just being a member of my newly created family made it clear to me that there was more I had to be. Was I doomed to failure as a writer, then? Did successful writers shut out their families and the world?

Soon enough, though, I noticed that the veteran writers never threw around that phrase. They managed to finish books and publish them without being swallowed up by their desire to write. What a relief! But this realization was more than a relief, because not only is there more I have to be, but there's more I have the privilege of being.

The longer I've been writing, the more grateful I am to be able to say,VentureUnleashed.800 "Writing is NOT my life." Now when I hear people say, "Writing is my life," I cringe. Because what happens when writing doesn't seem to be going anywhere? When the dream seems to come crashing down around us? When all the work appears to be for nothing? Every writer has those moments. I've certainly had my share. And during those times, the people who loved and needed me, and the other purposes I had, were what kept me going.

Living a full life has done more than help me through the tough times in my writing life; it's enriched my writing in ways I never expected. Though there are many other aspects of my life that impact my writing, the clearest example of this is how the time I've spent practicing and coaching judo has fueled my Venture series. From the real personalities that help me to shape "real" characters, to the struggles I've observed and shared on that mat, which shape the story's themes, to the technical knowledge that helps me write about fighters, this series would not be what it is if I hadn't peeled my rear end off of my chair and gone to judo practice.

Though I love judo, at times I worried that my commitments were getting in the way of my writing goals. But the very hours I thought I was sacrificing, taking away from writing time to spend all evening at practice or all weekend at a tournament, turned out to be a great investment in my writing. Though it's important to set aside time to write, I'm discovering that the more I take time away from writing to be alive, the more my writing comes alive.

R.H., thanks so much for guest blogging. Using the sport that you enjoy in your writing is a wonderful way to combine pleasure and research at the same time. Knowing the sport as you do, you can give so much more insight to your characters and their actions.

Now a little background on R.H. The ambitions, the struggles, and the triumphs of the fighters in the VENTURE books are inspired by the author's involvement with combat sports. Eighteen years on the mat with talented young fighters have given R.H. not only the experience to write about fighters in an authentic way, but a heart for the fighter in all of us.

For more on R.H. and her writing you can visit her website, find her on Facebook or Twitter, and check out her writing blog.

The VENTURE books are available at Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Smashwords

If you are a writer, do you include a sport or activity you enjoy in your writing? As a reader, do you enjoy a book more if you know the author has personal knowledge of the sport or activity featured in the book? Sorry I’m still not around blogdom much, but thank you so much for stopping by. 


  1. R.H., thanks again for guest blogging. I enjoyed learning how you use their experiences in your writing. Wish you much success and Happy Holidays.

  2. Writing is not my life, either. In fact, I never really wanted to be an author!

  3. You're welcome, Mason!

    That's funny, Alex. Did writing find you anyway?

  4. Great post. I met Seth Margolis at a writing conference and he told me that when Raising Isaiah was optioned for a movie, he quit his job and planned on writing and living off the proceeds. It was only a few months later that he realized he had nothing to write about and promptly took another job. If you're not "living" there's nothing to put on paper.

  5. Even though writing is one of the things that gives me pleasure in difficult periods of my life I really enjoyed this sentence - I couldn´t agree more:

    "...not only is there more I have to be, but there's more I have the privilege of being."

    I love writing, but of course my family comes first.

  6. Thanks, Dorte! You're right. People should always come first.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.