Article: Almost There (or How Heidi Ruby Miller Might Change Her Luck)


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I knew my article "Almost There" was going to be in the Nov.-Dec. 2010 issue of The PennWriter, the official publication of Pennwriters Inc., but I was excited to see it was on the first page.

This article sums up my frustration at being an in-betweener, someone who has taken the workshops, sorted through the writing advice, written my million words and then some, and watched my peers attain a certain success (in novel writing) while I wait in limbo. More importantly, it shares how I have accepted this fact and simply moved on with my writing and am happier because of it.

I quoted some wonderful words of advice in "Almost There" from my first Seton Hill mentor, Tom Monteleone. He told me, "...This business is mostly luck. Sometimes good writers don't become successful: sometimes bad writers do. If you like to write, then write the best story you can and at the end of the year, if nothing else, you have a book you want to read."

You know what I liked about that? He didn't try to pump me up with sunshine, tell me to keep at it, work harder, chin up.

Blah! When someone says that to me, all I hear is the implication that my three-four hours a day isn't really hard work and that they got where they are because they wanted it more. I'm sure not all of them mean that, but it can be difficult to relate to someone at the bottom of the ladder when you're already at the top.

I like Tom's words better because they helped me understand why I write - not because it will make me rich or famous, but because I like to tell stories. (Something Mike Resnick reminded me of during a casual conversation at a convention. I'm sure you don't remember that, Mike, but thank you.)

Maybe some of my Irish luck will come to the surface and you'll be able to read a couple of those shelved novels one day. Then again, maybe I could do something I would have never considered even six months ago - make my own luck like J. A. Konrath (who happened to be on the panel I moderated which spurred this little article) and David Morrell have...I'm not kidding.

Things, they are a changin'.


  1. The position you've taken here is both humble and admirable. Props to you for being comfortable with where you are as a writer. Having taken a creative writing class instructed by you and your husband, I can say that your advice to others is generous but practical.

  2. Thank you, April.

    You've always had a way with words. :)

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