Rue Arrow is a wonderful writer and friend of mine, who I had the pleasure of interviewing last month. Some of you may remember her story, Remembering Laughter, which won first place in the short story contest not too long ago.
Now, today, you will get to read more about Rue, as well as more about the inspiration behind Remembering Laughter.
Tell us about your journey as a writer. What first inspired you to become a writer?
I’ve always loved storytelling. Even before I could write, I would draw pictures in a notebook that held all my little-girl stories. I was first inspired to write, seriously, at least, by my grandma who is an author. She was the first person to ever notice any potential in my writing and she strongly encouraged me to give it continual effort. I was a serious young writer by the time I was eleven…still had room to improve, of course, but the mindset was there. In the following year, I joined the Young Writer’s Workshop and my writing content, style, and journey has improved significantly since. It is, and will always be, a work in progress, but that is the adventure of it all, eyy?
What is the hardest thing about writing for you, and the easiest thing?
The hardest thing, for me, is probably brainstorming. I have a hard time coming up with worthwhile ideas at random. The easiest part for me is drafting, once I have a clear idea and outline, I can easily get the words down. It’s all humorously interwoven though which is part of what makes writing such fun.
What inspired you to write your story, Remembering Laughter, for the short story contest? How does that story speak to you?
I was inspired to write Remembering Laughter from a conversation with a struggling friend. I was complimenting a picture of her and said, “you’re beautiful, luv, but I do miss your smile” and she responded by saying simply, “me too.” Sometimes in life we get stuck in really dark, lonely places. And, in those moments, we forget how to smile. Because smiling just doesn’t feel worth it anymore. It makes us wonder at all the hurt in the world and question how we could ever be happy again. And that is one of the heaviest feelings you will ever have weighing you down. That conversation resulted in my considering what the world would be like if everyone forgot how to smile–or even further–laugh. And if that did happen, what would serve as a reminder for it?
This story speaks to me in several ways, but the most pressing is the fact that not everyone will always “learn to laugh” again. We live in a broken world and there is so much hurt, friends. But there is hope. So even if everyone around you has forgotten how to laugh–I hope you lift your chin, let your eyes dance, and laugh until you cry. Because laughter is a beautiful, wonderful, breathtaking miracle.
In what ways have you grown as a writer since you first started writing?
I have certainly grown in my understanding and mindset. For example, I know so much more about marketing, platform building, and connecting with my readers than I used to. The most evident area of growth can be seen by my blog at ruearrow.com which is the foundation of my platform as a writer. Another way I’ve grown is in the “why” behind my writing. As I’ve grown in my writing I have also grown spiritually and come to realize that my writing should be for God’s glory and certainly not my own. In that, I have found such joy in being able to serve my readers and care for them…it is a process, of course, and I’m still learning as I go!
What writing projects are you currently working on now?
Aside from my blog, I’m working on two full-length books Sunflowers and Purple Boots. The first is a nonfiction book focused on how I view the world and the people in it. Because, yes, we live in a broken, messy world…but there is so much beauty by God’s love and grace. And the latter, Purple Boots, is a memoir of my life in Africa and what God has taught me in this land of adventures.
If you could only give one piece of advice to another writer, what would you say?
Always put God first. Friend, you will find no one that loves you, wants you, cherishes you, cares for you, and values you more than your Creator. In all the lovely chaos of your writing journey, don’t forget the One who gave you the passion for it. Don’t forget His plan and His purpose for you. I truly hope and pray you will let God lead you as a writer and that you will use your journey for His glory. Because He’s worth it, fellow writer. He really is.
So there is the interview! If you haven’t already, make sure to check out Rue’s blog by following this link!
What do you think? Does smiling ever “not feel worth it”? Did you enjoy Rue’s story? Let us know in the comments below!