A Writer’s Guide: Cat Rambo’s Fifty Ways, More or Less, to Leave your Living

Cat Rambo, author, writing teacher, and past president of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) left her job at Microsoft twenty-some years ago. She worked at anything writing-related to follow her dream to be a full-time writer.

By her example, Rambo inspired writers attending the Two-Day Intensive Writers Workshop directed by Jody Lynn Nye. Rambo also attended a workshop taught at Dragon Con by the late A. C. (Ann) Crispin. Crispin recommended that Rambo join SFWA as soon as she was eligible and volunteer (Crispin set an example as a founder of SFWA’s Writer Beware.)

A graduate of the Clarion West Workshop, Rambo said that some writers stopped writing after Clarion. The key is to keep writing and sending your work out.

Nye asked her what had helped her most in establishing her fiction-writing career. Rambo said that her prior work as a tech writer proved to be very valuable. From that job, she became used to working with editors. They knew what made writing better.

Rambo said you can’t rely on a muse who may not arrive. She treats writing as her job and keeps several different projects in progress. Successful people tend to be hard working. Paraphrasing Ralph Waldo Emerson, she added, the harder you work, the luckier you get.

In response to Nye’s question about when she started teaching writing, Rambo recalled teaching contemporary American letters for a graduate fellowship at Johns Hopkins University. She now teaches writing classes online and organizes classes taught by other writers. “They teach to me,” she said. She also coaches other writers.

Rambo shared that she writes because she loves to read. Nye added that if the book you want to read doesn’t exist, write it.

Rambo advised to get butt in chair and write. She submits almost everything she writes.

Science fiction/fantasy is a friendly genre. Other genres separate editors and writers. Science fiction/fantasy mix it up.  She recalled being asked to edit for Fantasy magazine and mused, how hard can it be?

For more more info about writing classes taught by Rambo and her cohorts, go to The Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers | The World Remains Mysterious (kittywumpus.net).

Author of the article

Amy L. Herring (Louise Herring-Jones) writes speculative fiction, with a preference for historical fantasy and alternate mystery. Her stories, appearing in fourteen anthologies, include “The Poulterer’s Tale” in God Bless Us, Every One—Christmas Carols beyond Dickens (Voodoo Rumors Media, 2019). Amy is a NaNoWriMo co-municipal liaison. She also coordinates the Huntsville (Alabama) Literary Association’s writers’ group. Visit her online at http://www.louiseherring-jones.com.