The Time When Life Changed: Writing for Ricochet

 

So. what’s the big deal, right? Anyone can write on Ricochet.com if they’re willing to pay a small, reasonable membership fee. But for me, writing for Ricochet changed many ways that I saw my life, my faith, my relationships and my purpose in the world. I think that’s a pretty big deal.

So what happened? Well, a friend told me about Ricochet, and I took a look. I knew almost immediately that I wanted to be a member, but I 0nly lurked for a long time. After all, I knew I could write but I was still in the process of working out my political, personal and faith views. I was pretty intimidated because I realized I wasn’t mingling with a bunch of lightweights: you all seemed to be very knowledgeable about the issues of the day. More than that, you were articulate, smart and funny. How could I possibly measure up?

I finally realized that I couldn’t, and when I let go of that expectation, I could relax and enjoy writing. I remember that when my first post was promoted to the Main Feed, I was running around the house shouting my joy. Seriously! You have to keep in mind that I’d never followed a blog before Ricochet, so this was all new to me. Then sometime after that promotion, Jon Gabriel asked if I’d be a Contributor. I was awestruck. Jon Gabriel, Editor, was asking me to be a Contributor. Of course, I said yes. And my relationship with Ricochet was established.

The biggest problem for me was probably my self-perception. I always saw myself as a workman-like writer, nothing fancy, just straightforward. That description didn’t seem to qualify me as an “author.” Authors are talented masters of the written word, and we have many fine authors on this site. That wasn’t me. But if Jon G thought I qualified, I decided to take his word for it. Either that, or he was desperate.

Then the question was, what should I write about? I started mainly writing personal reflections; some people seemed to enjoy those, although I expect to this day that others find them self-indulgent and tedious. But then I also write about events of the day, politics, inspirational stories and stories about my return to and practice of Judaism; exploring my faith is still a work in progress.

The struggle for me is that I like things to be clear and simple. Unfortunately, life has not obliged me. So I at least try to arrive at the “clear” part in terms of my own ideas. One of the great outcomes of writing is that I often clarify my own ideas and bounce them off Ricochetees. You don’t hesitate to correct me (at least I think that’s true) but you mostly do it very kindly. I’m not sure if that’s due to my age or my niceness. (@wicon once told me that I was the den mother of Ricochet and I accepted that title with great humility and honor.)

The most significant changes I’ve experienced are in my self-confidence coupled with a touch of humility. I’m always prepared to speak my mind, although I try to do it graciously. I’ve tried to convince myself that although I’m not the smartest person in the pack, that I’m smart enough to get by. I was told by a friend that I offered wisdom—wow! I’ve started calling myself an author, not just a writer. I’m willing to tackle controversial and difficult topics if I think they need a voice, and assume I’ll be able to handle the pushback. And through my work with @iwe and my own studies, I’ve grown in my faith.

All in all, it’s been a great ride, and I’ve cherished every moment of it.

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  1. Doug Kimball Thatcher
    Doug Kimball
    @DougKimball

    Glad you’re here.

    • #1
  2. Phil Turmel Coolidge
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    Susan Quinn: The struggle for me is that I like things to be clear and simple. Unfortunately, life has not obliged me.

    Mwah-ha-ha-ha!

    So say we all.

    Great post, especially that little bit. (:

    • #2
  3. Alex Rosenwald Editor
    Alex Rosenwald
    @alex

    Beautiful post, Susan! 

    We are lucky to have your voice in the community ….

     

    A

    • #3
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Alex Rosenwald (View Comment):

    Beautiful post, Susan!

    We are lucky to have your voice in the community ….

     

    A

    Thanks, Alex. And I’m pleased to see all your efforts, too!

    • #4
  5. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Doug Kimball (View Comment):

    Glad you’re here.

    Likewise!

    • #5
  6. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Susan Quinn:

    All in all, it’s been a great ride, and I’ve cherished every moment of it.

    Almost as much as your readers have.

    • #6
  7. Alex Rosenwald Editor
    Alex Rosenwald
    @alex

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Alex Rosenwald (View Comment):

    Beautiful post, Susan!

    We are lucky to have your voice in the community ….

     

    A

    Thanks, Alex. And I’m pleased to see all your efforts, too!

    Very kind of you to say.  Excited to keep growing with all of you.

    • #7
  8. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    I find most of your presentations stimulative of further conversation. This might be because they frequently address important general or universal topics of interest where differences of opinion or disputation of facts, and therefore truth, are under examination through Ricochet members’ conversation. Not surprising you were invited to contribute. Keep it up.

    • #8
  9. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    I find most of your presentations stimulative of further conversation. This might be because they frequently address important general or universal topics of interest where differences of opinion or disputation of facts, and therefore truth, are under examination through Ricochet members’ conversation. Not surprising you were invited to contribute. Keep it up.

    That’s wonderful feedback, Bob! Thank you.

    • #9
  10. Hans Gruber Pfizer President Inactive
    Hans Gruber Pfizer President
    @Pseudodionysius

    I’m expecting my cheque for 20% royalties by the end of the month. That’s how I pay for my bar tab on the beach.

    • #10
  11. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

     “How could I possibly measure up?”

    You don’t simply measure up, @susanquinn, you set the standard.

    • #11
  12. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    That’s a great story! I can only dream of being asked to be a contributor. I love how that happened for you. I’m happy to get more than ten likes on a post, and am especially thrilled when the editor decides to promote to the public page. That happens every so often, and it’s an awesome motivator for me to keep writing. 

    I do appreciate your writing style – thoughtful and clear. The most recent example was the comment you made in response to another comment on my most recent post. I had read the first comment and started formulating my response while getting my daughter ready for school this morning. When we were finished, I saw your response … it was everything I had been thinking but packaged so much more elegantly than I would have been able to do. It’s about how we think, and you have the gift of laser insight – direct, to the point, persuasive.

    • #12
  13. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    God-LovingWoman (View Comment):

    That’s a great story! I can only dream of being asked to be a contributor. I love how that happened for you. I’m happy to get more than ten likes on a post, and am especially thrilled when the editor decides to promote to the public page. That happens every so often, and it’s an awesome motivator for me to keep writing.

    I do appreciate your writing style – thoughtful and clear. The most recent example was the comment you made in response to another comment on my most recent post. I had read the first comment and started formulating my response while getting my daughter ready for school this morning. When we were finished, I saw your response … it was everything I had been thinking but packaged so much more elegantly than I would have been able to do. It’s about how we think, and you have the gift of laser insight – direct, to the point, persuasive.

    What a kind and thoughtful comment, GLW! You, too, are a fine writer, and I think you’ve had many more life challenges than I have had; I think those experiences mature a writer, if she knows how to work with them. I appreciate your comments about my style, but there’s a part of me that wished I had a more–what shall I say, “poetic” style? But in many ways, I think we write who we are, and I’m writing from that place, whatever that is. Thanks.

    • #13
  14. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    I find most of your presentations stimulative of further conversation. This might be because they frequently address important general or universal topics of interest where differences of opinion or disputation of facts, and therefore truth, are under examination through Ricochet members’ conversation. Not surprising you were invited to contribute. Keep it up.

    That’s wonderful feedback, Bob! Thank you.

    Just to be sure I don’t give an impression of licking your boots here is my opening comment on your post

    I’ve Been Had—and I’m Mad!

    ” I usually like and follow your posts but I didn’t that one because the topic just didn’t feel right to me. I feel better now on the topic itself and I really admire your comeback. “

    • #14
  15. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    I find most of your presentations stimulative of further conversation. This might be because they frequently address important general or universal topics of interest where differences of opinion or disputation of facts, and therefore truth, are under examination through Ricochet members’ conversation. Not surprising you were invited to contribute. Keep it up.

    That’s wonderful feedback, Bob! Thank you.

    Just to be sure I don’t give an impression of licking your boots here is my opening comment on your post

    I’ve Been Had—and I’m Mad!

    ” I usually like and follow your posts but I didn’t that one because the topic just didn’t feel right to me. I feel better now on the topic itself and I really admire your comeback. “

    I remember that! And I appreciate that you were satisfied with my reaction. Besides, bootlickers are boring! Sycophants should find someone else to idolize!

    • #15
  16. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Susan Quinn: I could relax and enjoy writing.

    Write a book.

    • #16
  17. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Stad (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: I could relax and enjoy writing.

    Write a book.

    I did.

    • #17
  18. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Susan Quinn: I always saw myself as a workman-like writer, nothing fancy, just straightforward. That description didn’t seem to qualify me as an “author.” Authors are talented masters of the written word, and we have many fine authors on this site.

    See, that is where you were wrong. I have been selling my words professionally for some 25 years. Trust me. Authors are workman-like writers, nothing fancy, just straightforward. That’s the definition of an author.

    There are some writers who try to BS people into believing that they are something special who deserve veneration due to unique skill with words. Generally those are the ones who craft one exquisitely written (and usually impenetrable) work every five years or so for the world to admire. (And then feel hurt and pout when the world fails to adequately admire their genius.) They are the ones who believe you cannot be an author unless you have an MFA in writing and are acclaimed by All The Right People. It’s the same conceit that fills many public intellectuals.

    Guess what? That type of author is quickly forgotten. the ones that are remembered are the workmen-like writers capable of sitting down and cranking out 500 to 2000 words of plain, straightforward prose – even on days they don’t feel like writing. That’s you Susan, You may not be raking in Pratchett-level paydays, but you are an author.

    • #18
  19. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Seawriter (View Comment):
    Guess what? That type of author is quickly forgotten. the ones that are remembered are the workmen-like writers capable of sitting down and cranking out 500 to 2000 words of plain, straightforward prose – even on days they don’t feel like writing. That’s you Susan, You may not be raking in Pratchett-level paydays, but you are an author.

    That’s a workman-like assessment and I deeply appreciate it, Seawriter. You are one who should know! Thanks.

    • #19
  20. aardo vozz Member
    aardo vozz
    @aardovozz

    Susan Quinn:

    All in all, it’s been a great ride, and I’ve cherished every moment of it.

    Thanks for sharing the ride with us! We’ve cherished every moment of it as well. Looking forward to more of your posts🙂🙂🙂🙂

    < sarcasm and cynicism suspended for this post😎>

    • #20
  21. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    aardo vozz (View Comment):
    < sarcasm and cynicism suspended for this post😎>

    Phew! That’s a relief! ;-)

    And thank you!

    • #21
  22. KCVolunteer Lincoln
    KCVolunteer
    @KCVolunteer

    @SusanQuinn

     One of the great outcomes of writing is that I often clarify my own ideas and bounce them off Ricochetees.

    Or alternatively, you could ricochet your ideas off members ;-)

    • #22
  23. Hans Gruber Pfizer President Inactive
    Hans Gruber Pfizer President
    @Pseudodionysius

    KCVolunteer (View Comment):

    @ SusanQuinn

    One of the great outcomes of writing is that I often clarify my own ideas and bounce them off Ricochetees.

    Or alternatively, you could ricochet your ideas off members ;-)

    I help myself to their wallets while they’re engrossed in their screens.

    • #23
  24. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    This post from one of Ricochet’s leading voices is part of January’s theme: “The Time When Life Changed.” Resolve to sign up and write this month.

    • #24
  25. RyanFalcone Member
    RyanFalcone
    @RyanFalcone

    Susan, you are a blessing to this site. Keep up the good work!

    • #25
  26. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    RyanFalcone (View Comment):

    Susan, you are a blessing to this site. Keep up the good work!

    Thanks so much, Ryan. And I am blessed to have all of you in my life!

    • #26
  27. EHerring Coolidge
    EHerring
    @EHerring

    You are relevant because you ponder what we are pondering, or should be pondering, and give us a place to work through our own beliefs and questions.

    Contrast your posts with mine. I report or let off steam on things I see. I need to both let off steam and ponder the wise words of others or I will become like the left, all emotion without rational mediation.

    You provide that balance and help me sort out the world around me.

    • #27
  28. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    EHerring (View Comment):

    You are relevant because you ponder what we are pondering, or should be pondering, and give us a place to work through our own beliefs and questions.

    Contrast your posts with mine. I report or let off steam on things I see. I need to both let off steam and ponder the wise words of others or I will become like the left, all emotion without rational mediation.

    You provide that balance and help me sort out the world around me.

    What a lovely comment, EHerring. Music to my ears. Thanks.

    • #28
  29. Hans Gruber Pfizer President Inactive
    Hans Gruber Pfizer President
    @Pseudodionysius

    • #29
  30. Chowderhead Coolidge
    Chowderhead
    @Podunk

    I love reading your posts Susan.

    • #30
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