Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie

GUEST POST: Author Rick Rogers on ‘It Ain’t Easy’


Kimber here. Reminding some of you newbies about a Totally PAWsome new author we found last year-ish. Name’s Rogers. Rick Rogers. (Works best said with a tux and a martini. Shaken. Not stirred.)

Wait. Where was I? Oh yeah. New author.

Author Logo

Rick Rogers, author of “Walking Home.”

About a year ago-ish, we posted a review of Rick’s memoir, Walking Home: Common Sense and Other Misadventures on the Pacific Crest Trail. Since we’re such whizzes at original titles, our post was entitled, Walking Home Charts an Unforgettable Trip on the PCT.  It’s our favorite PCT-ish read ever.

So when Rick contacted us recently with a guest-ish post, we jumped at it. Like:

Prompted by a recent author interview with Sharon Brubaker, Rick’s post is all about writing and the writing craft. You’ll love this. Trust me. Have I ever steered you wrong? (Well. Okay. There was that one time with the prime rib. But I think Mom’s forgotten about that by now.)

Anyway, just swipe the nearest burger off your human’s plate when they aren’t lookin’ and settle in for an insightful and engaging read. Take it away, Rick!

It ain’t easy.

I enjoyed your interview with Sharon Brubaker that you posted March 22.  Thank you so much for sharing.  Some of what Sharon told you was almost validating.  Maybe not completely, but it’s nice to know that there are people out there as weird as we are.  (I can say “we” now because I’m not the only one that starts their day by typing at 3:30 in the morning).  But there’s one thing in particular that I’d like to comment on.

When you asked, “Do you have any advice for beginning writers on how to write a book?”  She answered,

“-The best advice I received was to try to write a page a day, and at the end of the year, you will have a book.  I don’t always write a page a day… but I try.”

Can I beg patience to do a little unpacking here?  Thanks.  A paperback book page has about 300 words on it.  An average typist should be able to bang that out in about six minutes.  Yet Sharon types a couple hours early each morning and even then, sometimes doesn’t finish a page.  An average reader may ask, “What, does she type with her feet?”

“Hey, I typed with my tail once,” says Kimber’s voice in my head, “but really, typing with my feet is so much easier.  I can see the keyboard.”

“Hmm, maybe I’ll start using my feet, too,” I answer, also in my head.  “I might get more pages done that way.”

You see, I often produce less than a page a day myself.  And I don’t feel (too) bad about it, because it’s not just typing. It’s writing.  And there’s so much more to writing than there is to typing.  I think the distinction is underappreciated.

Since my book came out, several people have told me they liked it and that they’re inspired to write a book themselves.  They’re polite and all, most of them anyway, but it seems the gist of their thinking after reading my book is, “Well, if THAT  guy can write a book…

I get it.  They’ve just read a plainly written story, largely devoid of drama, dragons, romance, or murders, so how hard could it be to write something like that?  And I’m happy for them now that they’re inspired to write.  But I can’t help but think they’re heading for disappointment.  Your book reviews are like that, easy flowing and free, so you’ve most likely inspired and disappointed more than I have.

Unless those inspired folks are like Sharon (and me) and get grumpy if they don’t write, they’d probably stay happier doing something else.  Because writing is just one of those things that just ain’t easy to do well.  When I was a kid, I dreamed of becoming a newspaper columnist.  It would be easy I figured, because forming opinions had always been such a natural talent of mine.  I could do it almost without thought, really.  And who wouldn’t be waiting breathlessly to read my latest opinion?  All I’d have to do was write them down, right? Like your book reviews, right?

Well.  I grew up reading Simak, Bradbury, Asimov, Clarke.  Their stories were straightforward and understandable, easily accessible.  Their books didn’t seem like masterpieces at the time, and all of those I read purely for pleasure.  When I aspired to literacy or erudition, I’d try Vonnegut or Burgess, but reading them was a lot less fun.  Right now, Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yousef Salaam is in my bathroom.  Surely. I’ll be a better human once I’ve finished it.  But getting through it, hoo boy!  Let’s just say it’s a good thing my bathroom isn’t where I usually go to have fun.  Because it is painful and excruciating.  The book, I mean.

Our Literature Arts teachers gave us the idea, I think, that the books that were easy and fun to read had been but a lark for their authors, and that the books that were difficult to read were somehow more worthy and required more effort and skill to write.  That was my belief and expectation certainly, until I set out to write an enjoyably easy book myself.  It isn’t easy, it really ain’t, as those folks I inspired to write their own books will be finding out soon enough.  My guess is that most of them will quit early on, and that all of them will blame me for it.

So to you and Sharon, I say keep banging away.  Keep writing that stuff that’s accessible and fun.  Do it, even if you’re typing, deleting, and re-typing when all the sane people in your house are still abed.  Use your feet even, if you have to.  And if you don’t get a whole page done that day, don’t sweat it too much.  Because what you’re doing ain’t easy, you know.


Kimmi: See? Told you you’d love it! Are you gonna eat that?



6 thoughts on “GUEST POST: Author Rick Rogers on ‘It Ain’t Easy’

  1. Thank you Kimber for sharing. (I have a best friend that looks and thinks a lot like you named Holly! You two would get along famously,) Anyhow, that was a great interview and very inspiring. I sit down to write everyday and am often disappointed at the lack of productivity when I finally call it quits. But whether I write four pages or only half a page, I still feel good because I’m doing the the thing I truly love.
    Thank you again for sharing.

  2. I enjoyed this interview! Thanks!

  3. I enjoyed the interview, Rick. I look forward to reading your next book!!

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