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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wednesday Spotlight: Ruth J. Hartman

Don’t Give Up Your Day Job

A lot of writers have other jobs. Probably most of them do. I’m no exception. I’m a licensed dental hygienist two to three days a week. Yeah, I’m the one who scrapes the gunk off your teeth. So my writing time, obviously, has to be worked in around that. My day job starts when I leave my house at 7:30 a.m., and ends when I get home around 6:00. Some might think I could write when I get home at night. Not usually. My job can be taxing mentally and physically. Especially if I end up with several tough cases where patients haven’t had a cleaning in more than ten years (physical) or I have a whole line-up of three to four year olds who’ve never been to the dentist before (mental). So when I get home from the dental office, I’m wiped out.

That leaves weekends and the other weekdays when I’m not working (or doing laundry, cleaning, etc). You all know what I’m talking about. Even though we’d like to be writing all of the time, or at least most of it, there are still other things we have to deal with. Like life.

But I do find myself thinking up story ideas as I’m cleaning teeth. (Now you’ll all wonder just what your hygienist is thinking the next time you see her or him. :-)) I’ve actually used experiences I’ve had with patients in my books. Not their names, of course, or even the exact details, but something closely resembling what happened. One character I used in a romance novel about a hygienist was a surly, impatient patient. I’d morphed three actual patients into the one character. And it’s funny, now when I see the patient who most of the character was based on, he doesn’t seem to get under my skin quite as bad. It’s as if, when I wrote about him and typed the words into my computer, I’d let out some of my frustration with having to deal with him.

I’m guessing I’ll probably always have to work at least part-time at something besides writing. Because I’m not getting rich right now from my books. I’m learning that very few authors do. But that’s okay. I love writing. I love it as an outlet for my imagination, humor, and emotions. So I’ll gladly keep my day job. As long as I can still write!

1 comment:

Sherry Gloag said...

Thanks for sharing. Next time I visit my dentist I will be wondering what she's thinking about when she works on my teeth! LOL