Writers Talk — Ruth Renner

Posted on Jun 12, 2013 | Comments Off on Writers Talk — Ruth Renner

Ruth June 12 dfiegcaaI met Ruth Renner in the 80s in Auckland — and then one Saturday morning I was listening to National Radio’s country programme and here was this interesting interview that really got me hooked and the best thing was, at the end, there was an invitation and a link to what has turned out to be one of my very favourite  online journals (Ruth, I’ve got to say one of because of course I love WednesdayBusk best). Diggers Valley journal  www.diggersvalley.co.nz  covers the weekly happenings on Digger Valley Farm which is run by Ruth and her partner, Stephan.  I love the life it portrays and Ruth not only conveys that in writing but also  in the wonderful photographs she takes.

Every year I go in the competition to guess the birthing time of one of the calves and sa far have not been successful but I got close last year.  I chose the right date but the wrong time.  Hope on hope ever.

Here’s Ruth…

I write non-fiction, so the characters or story already exist. My job is to extract and present them.


Writing my journal (still can’t stand to call it a blog) is reasonably easy, associated with the things I see and note, and the photographs I take. I often take pictures with captions or explanations in mind. If a phrase or impression I think particularly clever or amusing comes to mind, I will note it down, because I’ll be bound to forget it and not be nearly as clever later.

Longer pieces come about as commentary on life in general or something sparked by an event in my immediate vicinity. Because I’m writing on-line, any planning I do is in giving careful thought to the impression I wish to leave.

When writing my magazine columnNZ Lifestyle Block  http://www.nzlifestyleblock.co.nz/ I usually start writing first, then see where my idea has taken me. A plan then comes in to play because I have 1500 words in which to present the idea or a number of pieces of information and must ensure I get everything covered as I mean to and concluded satisfactorily. I enjoy the discipline of that form.


None in particular. I’m rather good at procrastination, so I play games with myself about whether it’s time for a break, depending on how much good work I’ve done.


Because I primarily self-publish, I don’t suffer rejection. I write a monthly column which is also accepted as is, so my experience with writer’s rejection is minimal. I’ve submitted odd small pieces of writing to radio competitions and the like, from which I’ve usually received no response at all. Then I have grumpy conversations in my head about the intelligence of everyone else and their obvious lack of discernment.


When I was first asked to be a contributor to the magazine, the editor phoned me at home. I could hardly believe my good fortune: I have always wanted to write for a living and here was a job I could do from my favourite place, writing about my favourite things, with very little in the way of restrictions.

For the first few … weeks … I’d burst out in song, to the Beatles’ “Paperback Writer”, replacing paperback with Magazine. My dearly beloved generally provided the echo refrain. It really was a thrill.

In a more casual way I have the occasional “acceptance” email in response to my website writings. It gives me great pleasure to be read by other writers and to correspond with them.

I am not an expert writer by any means, my facility with language being a lucky talent. English was my least favourite school subject. I suspect I’d take far more pleasure in it if I were a student now.