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  • ruthmonsell

A First Time Author's Journey - My first blog!

Updated: Jan 16

Ever wonder what inspires someone to write a book? Or how it gets done?

In several installments, I'll share my story of how and what I've learned in the past 5 years or more. Feel free to ask questions or insert comments as I try to review the process, both the agony and the ecstasy!


Let me take you back to the late 1950's. For those of you in Gen X.Y or Z, I was a Baby Boomer: the largest segment of people ever born in America, from 1945 to 1964. There were no video games, internet, cell phones, computers, or even interesting day time TV shows when I was a child, and that left abundant free hours.

Kids who lived closer to a sandlot played a lot of stick/soft/baseball. But never athletically gifted anyway, I mainly stayed inside and drew pictures, and read. And wrote.

My first big spark of inspiration as a writer came when I decided to write the Autobiography of Ying Lee, the Siamese kitten my family had been gifted. To me, his first year was eventful, and as he was an exceptional and very vocal cat, I decided to immortalize his first year in a chapter book, illustrated by me.

My proud mother chose to type all the chapters up, leaving room for my original art work, and then bound it somehow, in golden toned leatherette. I still have it. She had it done in time for my 11th birthday.

Decades passed. I went to college, not knowing what I would select as my major. I was pretty sure of one thing: i would choose between my three biggest loves in life:

ART, MUSIC and DRAMA. So I picked my school out of the back of Lovejoy's College

Catalog. There seemed to be just one ranked excellent in all three. I figured I'd dabble in them all and then narrow it down.

Easy, huh? No way! I never could decide upon a life (or even 4 years of it) in just one, to the exclusion of the other two, which seemed a necessity. By year two, inspired by a standout teacher I had in high school, I became an English major.

Ah-ha! Maybe that's why I reverted to writing later in life. I did enjoy, and clearly remember, my classes in creative writing and journalism. But what I actually planned to do was become a college English professor after earning a doctorate.

Well, as we all know, life can be full of detours! I never got past a Master's degree, and then, finding many a door closed to me in the business world because of my gender, I worked for numerous years as a teacher of English. I mostly enjoyed being one, though truthfully, it involved the good, the bad and the ugly. However, it did keep me reading, teaching writing, and doing some of my own. I sometimes had the chance to teach creative writing as well as composition, and it all gave me practice.

I don't feel I ever stopped being a writer. I was sometimes called upon to write play reviews, as early as my undergrad years on the college newspaper staff, and concert reviews, and scads of press releases for both organizations I served and plays I directed. Later there were numerous PR pieces written for my freelance art career. So a biography wasn't outside my wheelhouse too much.

But stay tuned for the next episode, as they say! It wasn't necessarily easy.

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