Ruth Eckles

Major(s), Concentration(s): Interactive Media--emphasis on Strategic Storytelling
Year at Elon: Graduate student

1. Other than class assignments, what kinds of things do you write or have you written?
I write for my blog, Durham Profiles

I've been writing for 15 years.  I've always focused on artists of all stripes, entrepreneurs, farmers, non-profits, people doing good things for the community, and people who are living outside of the box in some way.

I've written for Durham's Independent Weekly, the Durham News, Cary Magazine, The Rambler Magazine, the Urban Hiker, the Durham Herald Sun and Raleigh's News and Observer.

2. What piece of writing are you most proud of?
I'm probably most proud of the work I've done with Durham's Independent Weekly because they primarily run writers that write really well, in my opinion. They have great photographers there, so usually a killer photo will accompany your piece, and their editors are top-notch and make you look really good.

3. Where is your favorite place to write?
In bed, propped up by pillows, under a down comforter, with a cup of hot coffee on the nightstand.  I like to be cozy when I write.

4. Do you have any interesting quirks and/or routines you follow when writing or when you are preparing to write? What are they?
Not really interesting quirks, only irritating ones.  I catastrophize a lot. Work myself into a mini-panic about how I won't be able to do it, the last good article I wrote was the last one I will ever write, I can't do it, yadda yadda yadda.  The only thing that makes that torture stop is to get to work and start writing.

5. Who is your favorite writer? Why?
I love the novelist Louise Erdrich, and I've read all her books.  If a new one comes out, I read it right away. My favorite book of hers is Love Medicine.  She writes in this really darkly beautiful, yet comical way--combining a down-to-earth practicality with poetry and sensuality in her amazing sentences. I want to read her sentences over and over.

6. What was the best writing experience of your life?
Probably the first time I saw my name in print.  That was super exciting for me.  It still is!

7. What would you most like to improve about your writing?
I'd like to get better at condensing things down to their essential message.  I think less is more, and that's hard to do well.  Lately I try to write an article that I would normally write in  1500 words in 300 to 500 words.  I've learned that, for me, after 500 words, things tend to sound slushy and mediocre.

8. What advice do you have for other Elon writers?
Try to notice when you're writing to impress other people rather than telling the truth from your own unique perspective.  Try not to imitate writers you think are good.  Develop your own style.  Figure out what YOU really believe about things.  Growth is always about getting out of your comfort zone:  write about things that make you uneasy or uncomfortable.

9. What else (if anything) would you like to say?
My favorite writing quote comes from Kurt Vonnegate.  He describes the frustration of writing and how we always fall short so well:

“When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth.”