For my first blog post (ever!) I couldn't be more thrilled to chat about caring for ourselves as writers (a topic I'm super passionate about) and to have one of my favorite authors and dear friends as our guest: Ruby Barrett!
Ruby Barrett writes steamy romances about big feelings. Mutual pleasure, pining, and healing are common themes in her romances. When she's not writing, Ruby can be found at the gym lifting heavy things and battling toxic masculinity one gym bro at a time. She is a bi woman, who lives in Ottawa, Canada with her husband and daughter. Ruby is the author of Hot Copy, The Romance Recipe, and the erotic flash fiction "Our Fragile Mouths" in the Big Book of Orgasms Vol. 2.
Ruby is a traditionally published author with her sophomore book THE ROMANCE RECIPE releasing on June 28, 2022 with Carina Adores.
A very special thank you to Ruby for so kindly answering all my questions below!
What drew you to writing?
I've always loved books and eventually I read so many books that I wanted to make one myself.
What is an issue you face with the mental aspect of writing and how do you work through it?
Impostor syndrome and believing in myself (believing that I am talented, that the stories I write should be told, that I'm not a joke). I'm not sure that I've worked through it. I think it comes in waves. Right now I'm deep in these feelings but I've been deep in these feelings in the past and I've come out of it. I don't think I work through it completely but it's important to remember that I've been here before and I won't always feel like this helps.
How do you protect your joy of writing?
I have group chats! Lots of them. I have people that love writing too and I talk to them all the time. A lot of the time we don't even talk about writing. We talk about really weird stuff actually. But they help me get through the hard parts and they hold the joy for me when it feels like it's impossible to reach. We spend so much time laughing and loving each other that it keeps my well full with joy and I know the tap is always available when I start to get low.
How do you find community?
I found community by joining a mentorship program. This is a bit unhelpful because these programs are, by their nature, gated. I didn't have a writing community until I joined the mentorship program and now my writing community is entrenched in my everyday life, they are people I talk to every day and I couldn't imagine life without them.
Do you have a specific way of separating the act of writing from self-worth, such as working through imposter syndrome, dealing with rejection, etc.?
I'm still working on separating writing from my self-worth and working through my impostor syndrome. But in terms of dealing with rejection (though also still a work in progress) I have a few strategies: 1. I don't read reviews (the only exception is if I receive a starred review from a trade publication and that is only for marketing purposes. Reviews aren't for me as a writer, they're for readers so they don't serve me and this helps me avoid reading negative reviews (which are a form of rejection). 2. When I get rejected (by editors for example) I work (actively, again still a work in progress) on viewing that rejection as feedback and viewing feedback as an opportunity. ie. their rejection is simply a new door that I get to open. Maybe that door leads to a different editor, maybe it leads to an opportunity to revise my book. Maybe it leads to an opportunity to write a new book. It doesn't make the rejection hurt any less but it gives me something to do, a new goal to focus on, so that I don't get bogged down thinking about the dead-end of the rejection.
What are some activities that help keep you grounded in daily life and refill your energy reserves and creative well?
Exercise/moving my body. I love to lift weights and challenge myself physically. I have been able to do things that I never thought my body was capable of and it's also such an opposing activity to writing, which requires me to be still, sitting, and (often) solitary. Challenging myself and succeeding in weightlifting has been incredible for my confidence and I've seen that confidence translate into my writing career.
How can you tell when it is time to take a break from writing?
When I'm really tired and the ideas/motivation dries up. I am an extremely motivated writer. I do it almost every day and I enjoy doing it every day. When I stop enjoying it I know I've pushed myself too far.
How do you try to balance social media and promotion with writing and protecting your energy?
Content planning for social media helps a lot, especially as I approach book launches or other pivotal publishing moments.
Are there any resources that have been helpful for you?
Investing in a content planning calendar helping (mine is from Meet Cute Creative). I've also become a Zoe York Romance Your Brand evangelist, she shows you how to navigate the industry in ways I haven't even considered.
Do you use any writing rituals or physical elements in your writing space that give you joy?
I create a playlist for everything I write. Even my short 1k erotic flash fiction has a 3 song long playlist. I listen to it while I write, revise, and brainstorm and they keep me in the right headspace.
Is there a quote, story, or memory that inspires you?
In The Scorpio Races, Maggie Stiefvater's MC Sean Kendrick says about the deadly, violent races: I am so, so alive. For me, that means, they are something he is called to do. They can be painful (and he has been hurt both physically and emotionally by these races) but they are worth the sacrifice. That's how I feel about writing. It's something I feel called to do and sometimes it's hard and it takes sacrifice but it's worth it.
Anything else you'd like to share?
I don't think there's such a thing, for me at least, as overcoming my self-doubt just like I don't think there will ever be a time that I consider myself as knowing everything about writing. Writing and my mental health are a work in progress always but that's ok. I am always learning something new about my writing and about myself.
Thank you so much, Ruby!
Ruby can be found online at www.rubybarrett.com and on Twitter and Instagram as @RubyBarrettWrite
About THE ROMANCE RECIPE:
“Ruby Barrett’s writing leaves me breathless.” —Rosie Danan
A fiery restaurant owner falls for her enigmatic head chef in this charming, emotional romance
Amy Chambers: restaurant owner, micromanager, control freak.
Amy will do anything to revive her ailing restaurant, including hiring a former reality-show finalist with good connections and a lot to prove. But her hopes that Sophie’s skills and celebrity status would bring her restaurant back from the brink of failure are beginning to wane…
Sophie Brunet: grump in the kitchen/sunshine in the streets, took thirty years to figure out she was queer.
Sophie just wants to cook. She doesn’t want to constantly post on social media for her dead-in-the-water reality TV career, she doesn’t want to deal with Amy’s take-charge personality and she doesn’t want to think about what her attraction to her boss might mean…
Then, an opportunity: a new foodie TV show might provide the exposure they need. An uneasy truce is fine for starters, but making their dreams come true means making some personal and painful sacrifices and soon, there’s more than just the restaurant at stake.
Carina Adores is home to romantic love stories where LGBTQ+ characters find their happily-ever-afters.
Book 1: Hot Copy
Book 2: The Romance Recipe