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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight: Robert Thomas Ronning

author Robert Ronning and an image of his book Wild Call to Boulder Field

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? As a mostly desk-bound activist now, I’ve come to believe that storytelling is one of the strongest forces for change. Even in an age of competing ideologies, one must still believe that the pen is mightier than the sword. Imagined stories and documented facts are still instruments for positive change. Writing, as writers know, can be equal parts satisfaction and frustration. I keep a note at my desk … A good writing day is a good day.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? I suspect that writer’s block is mostly a shorthand excuse for when we’re troubled, distracted, or just downright lazy. I think I’ve done some pretty good writing when I was troubled by something. I guess if we claim writer’s block long term, then it’s probably better to find another pastime.

What is your favorite time to write? Mornings are best because my lower back—not to mention my brain—gets tired by mid-day when I resort to reading or going out for a bout of Pickleball. Of course, mornings are also when others want attention, so there are times when I feel as though I need to fight for my own time.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? There are so many who offer it and so few I actually find useful. Writing is rewriting, I like that. And finish your work—make sure you put it out there, even if only a few read it. I’m still working on that one for much of my work.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? Writing is challenging, especially if you are an activist writer. It’s tough to write about activist causes for average readers. Enviro and animal conservation are vital issues, but they seldom become best sellers. They don’t fit easily into any of the major genres. Besides, I suspect most of us don’t much appreciate ecologists, naturalists, and conservationists rubbing our noses in the sleazy details of what an invasive species we human are.

Robert Ronning’s Wild Call to Boulder Field: An Arizona Trail Adventure is out now with Desert Paws Books.