Chelle Summer


100 Pages for Lent

Michelle Rusk

I believe that Lent is about finding a way to make yourself better, to do something that challenges you to work on growing closer to God. 

It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to this year. In fact, Lent had already started and I still wasn't sure what I was going to do. But then through a series of thoughts and writing, I realized what I wanted to challenge myself to do was write 100 pages in March.

It meant five pages a day during the week when I typically do three with several days off during the month to accommodate life events and schedule changes. It also meant doubling the 50 pages I usually write in a month.

But I believed that it would draw me closer to God because it would bring me the stories I'm supposed to write.

I won't say it was easy– it wasn't supposed to be– and there were days I had to focus harder than usual, or let go of other things I wanted to do, to make sure I had the time to write. Several days I wrote ten pages to make up for other days when I knew things were coming (or didn't know in the case of getting call to do television extra work– it helped that I'd gotten ahead the day before shooting!). 

There was an incredible amount of accomplishment each day that I forged forward toward my goal and also that the creativity kept coming. I didn't lack for material write which helped. And reaching 100 pages felt like a milestone– probably only the second time I've accomplished this in a month.

Finally, it gave me the sense that I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing and as I said in my blog two weeks ago, there's thought that keeps coming to me–

"Keep writing and you'll get where you want to go."

I'm now 100 pages closer to that goal thanks to Lent. 

Sharing Stories with the World

Michelle Rusk

"My reward is the reader who thanks me for tackling themes in the book. That person's comment is worth more than twenty weeks on the best-seller list. I write to touch people, and when they respond the circle is complete" – Rudolfo Anaya in the afterword of Tortuga

I'm sitting on a finished manuscript and– for me– it's not a pleasant place to be because I want to share it with the world. Often, Greg and I make comments or jokes about things relating to the characters in the book but we no one else can relate to them because only a handful of people have read it.

Figuring out what to do with it has been a quandary for me the past few months. I've self published all ten of my books since the second printing of my first book about sibling suicide loss. At the time, the publishing industry was very different than it is now– it was much harder to get your book into the marketplace. Now you pretty much hit a button on your device and it's released to the world. That means, unfortunately, my books are lumped with a lot of badly written books and that also makes it more challenging to be taken seriously when I've been working at this for almost my entire life.

I thought I would spend this year trying to find an agent to publish That Cooking Girl, my latest  completed manuscript and one that I believe is my best written work yet. However, as this year comes to an end, it doesn't look like that's going to happen. It's a tough balance of figuring out where to go from here– because I don't have a huge social media following nor book following, I could end up with a publisher where I'd still be doing all the marketing (such as I have been for sixteen years since my first book came out).

I believe I have stories to share with the world and I often feel as if I'm standing on one side of the Rio Grande Gorge up in the northern part of New Mexico and I can see the other side– where I want to be– yet there is no bridge for me to get there and I'm not sure how to cross.

I'm someone who wants to make things happen. Even if I don't get exactly what I'm pursuing, by continuing to forge forward, other opportunities always come my way. I've honestly prayed about what I'm supposed to do, asking for a clear answer, and yet that hasn't happened. In fact, several times my prayers have been interrupted by "outside life" which at first I found irritating until I realized that maybe it was part of the "do nothing" message I must be receiving.

Rudolfo Anaya is right– it's about touching people and that's all I've ever wanted to do. But sometimes building it and believing they will come doesn't always work as well as one hopes. Still, I'll keep at it. I have a plan for this next year and perhaps that will be the manuscript that finally breaks open the writing career that I've wanted to have since I was six years old. And in that process, That Cooking Girl also will find an audience.