Good morning, friends! Today I am interviewing a friend, blogger, and fellow writer, Rue! I’m participating in a blog tour she is hosting for her blog, This Messy Thing Called Life.
Hello Rue! So glad to have you! To get us started, would you tell us a little about yourself?
Eyy, hello! Thank you for having me!
I’m a teenage missionary in West Africa, following Jesus wherever He sees fit–learning to love Him, serve Him, and want Him more everyday. I love Africa (it’s beautifully broken. . .much like me and you), music, laughter, sunflowers, rainy days, littles, new experiences, and adventures.
One of my deepest passions is to emphasize and express the beauty of God’s love to the world around me. We live in a lost, hurting, lonely, weary world. And it’s broken. . .but it’s beautiful. Because the Creator is still looking down in love. When everything is spinning in chaos, when you can’t keep up, when nothing makes sense. . .He’s looking down at you. Holding you–small, helpless you–in His strong, powerful hands and He’s whispering “you’re mine. And I love you.”
A lot of my writing revolves around that theme, so if you want to learn more about me or my passions feel free to check out my blog at ruearrow.com.
My first question is, why do you write? Do you plan to write for a career?
I write because I have a story to tell.
And you do too.
Even if you aren’t a writer–you have a story to tell. We are all unique people with unique experiences in a world full of people trying to succumb to “normal.” And I just wanna say: don’t spend your life chasing normal only to look back and see you missed out on all the extraordinary. There’s a lot of beauty in memories full of crazy things you never thought you’d do or see.
I write because of who I’m writing for. I’m writing for Yahweh–because He gave me this passion, so I’m giving it back. And I’m writing for you. Because when I look at you, I don’t see broken or flawed or hopeless. I see: loved. And I want you to see that too.
I don’t plan to write for a career (but that is in God’s hands, eyy?), though I certainly plan to write for a lifetime! I am still working on my writing with the goal of publishing one day, but there is no rush and. Even then, it’s not something I’m pursuing as a career–just a passion.
I love that so much. It’s so true! What are your current writing projects?
Drafted & Editing: Waiting on the Rain ~ this is a coming-of-age novel about a little girl named Asa, living with her socially-reserved and mentally-disturbed aunt. Having never met her parents, Asa wonders everyday of her life: what is love? The only place she seems to find it is in the rain; the rushes of wind that bring raindrops swirling to the ground in a graceful dance. The beautiful droplets of water that bring her little moments of happiness must mean someone, somewhere, loves her. So, everyday, she keeps looking for purpose, for reasons to smile; keeps hoping that someone out there loves her like the rain. But then, one year. . .the rain doesn’t come.
Outlined & In-Progress: Sunflowers ~ A nonfiction novel based on how I see the world and the people in it. Because when I look at the world around me, I don’t see scars or wounds or broken things. . .I see sunflowers.
Outlined & In-Progress: Purple Boots ~ Several friends and fellow writers have encouraged me to consider writing a memoir. Purple Boots is the story of my journey in Africa; the goofy moments, the stormy skies, the wild adventures, the specks of gold, and all the wonderful lessons God has taught me through it.
Those all sound amazing. How do you keep up with them all?
Eyy, lovely question! I usually always have one project I’m writing, one I’m editing, and one I’m outlining. The one I’m writing is my “main project” and I give myself a weekly word-count-goal to make sure I’m investing time and energy into it. For the one I’m editing I usually have a goal of how many chapters a week I want to edit–which depends on how crazy life is at the time. As for projects being outlined, I’m that weird writer that loves outlining books in my freetime; I usually get it done within a few days.
Overall it just takes setting reasonable and manageable goals for yourself–and staying committed to them! Sure, it’s easier said than done, but it’s definitely worth the effort.
That’s a cool idea! I’ve been trying a variation of that, and it’s been working well. What was the inspiration for your WIP?
It definitely depends on the project–considering the fact that I have three WIPs right now. My main project is Purple Boots so I’ll answer it for that one. . .
There are two things, really, and the humorous part is that they aren’t related in the slightest. The first is a family road trip game where we make a list of scenarios or objects to find while driving. On one trip I came up with the absurd idea of putting ‘purple boots’ on the list. We live in Africa, mind you, and it was dry season. No one here would have any reason for purple boots. Now, I’m not going to explain the full reason because it would be a big spoiler to the book, but that was the first inspiration.
The second was a friend that started to randomly encourage me–very strongly, might I add–to write a memoir. She made me realize that all the crazy stories I have to share and little lessons God has taught me could encourage others as well. So I wrote chapter one, for her, just to see. And it was one of the most enjoyable and wonderful things I’ve ever written–not because of me, but because I can see God’s hand working in so many ways I would never have noticed before.
That’s lovely. Do you have a favorite character? Why?
I’ll use Waiting on the Rain for this question since it’s my only fictional project right now.
My favorite character is Pim–she’s Asa’s sweet, elderly neighbor with rosy cheeks, wispy white hair, and eyes that sparkle with wisdom and stories. She’s always there for Asa, always cares. And she’s so patient; she doesn’t push–just sits, listens, and waits. She was such a fun character to create because I combined all of my favorite attributes of the people that have impacted me most in life to make her who she is.
Aww, she sounds like a lovely character. What is a favorite writing quote?
Ooh, what a wonderful question! My favorite writing quote is by Ernest Hemingway who said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
It’s a reminder that what has impacted you most in life is what you will best use to impact others. Your scars tell stories, and they can be beautiful.
That is so true. I haven’t heard that quote before, but I like it a lot! What do you find to be the hardest part of writing? The easiest?
For me, the hardest part about writing is balancing it with everyday life. I either push it to the bottom of the list or put it way higher than it should be. I want my life priorities to be: God, family, people, responsibilities, passions etc. and stay in that order. It’s a tough balance, but it’s definitely worth working on.
The easiest part for me is connecting with readers and weaving emotions into it. What we writers learn through experience we can better express in pictures painted by words.
It is definitely a hard balance to achieve, but so worth it! What’s one thing you would tell any beginning writer?
I love this question; my younger cousin started writing a few years ago and she often asks me “when will it be like yours, Rue? When will I be where you are?” It makes me chuckle for two reasons. The first, because I remember asking my grandma, a published author, the same thing when I was little. And the second, because I know I still have a lot of growing to do as a writer.
But here’s what I would say: don’t give up too soon. Give yourself a fair chance. Think of your favorite authors and where they are now. . .and remember they started out right where you are. One day maybe they’ll be learning from you. Just go one step at a time. You’ll get there. Don’t give up too soon.
For sure. When you don’t feel like writing, where do you get your inspiration?
The first thing I do is pray about it. God cares about the little things. . .He’s the one that gave me my passion for writing in the first place and He’s the one that can best inspire me to pursue it. I also keep a document full of quotes, ideas, prompts, topics etc. to draw some inspiration from for the days where I’m running low.
Honestly, though? Just sitting down and making myself write, pushing through, is what often gets the inspiration flowing again.
My final question is: If you could meet any fictional character, who would it be and why?
Ooh, Scout (Jean Louis Finch) from Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird. She reminds me so much of myself when I was younger: curious about the world, a little too adventurous, overalls and bare feet instead of dresses and frills, and humorously stubborn. Though, if she wasn’t a fictional character and we were friends in real life as little kids. . . we would probably get into a world of trouble.
I really need to read that book! Thank you so much for doing this interview, Rue! It was a pleasure to participate in your tour and a joy to read your answers.