Monday, May 18, 2020

Amy Ruttan and Writing Courses

Please welcome Amy Ruttan back to the blog today!

I’ve taken a lot of writing courses since I was first published back in 2007. A lot. How to plot, how to plot in thirty days, how to plot in a minute, stronger this and stronger that. And some were great and some were not so great.

The best writing course I ever took though, was hands down, Write Better Faster by Becca Syme. In fact, she has a series of books relating to this course. The books are fantastic, but the course really gets to the meat of you.

It’s not a course about how to write better, faster. It’s a course that looks as you. As a whole, through a series of personality tests. We’ve all had to take the Meyers Brigg test in our life. I’m an ISFJ (Introverted, Sensing, Feeling, Judging). I have been that pretty solidly throughout my life.

Then there’s the DISC test, which was very median for me and I still don’t know much about DISC, but then there’s the Clifton Strength’s Finder and my Top 5 Strengths blew my mind. And it’s with these 3 personality tests that Becca delivers a course for you to explore those strengths. She has further courses which I’ve taken that just delves straight into the heart of your top 5 Clifton Strengths, but this is after you take Write Better Faster.

And I’m attending her online conference (was supposed to be in person but PANDEMIC) this July to go even deeper into my strengths.

I was on a road to burn out in 2018. My mother died after a long, long battle with cancer and I was lost. A writer friend of mine said “You should try Write Better Faster. It changed my life”. I was skeptical, I’ve taken courses that talked about “writing faster” and it never worked.

It’s not about that.

It was about recognizing how my unique strengths help me write a book, what I should do if I’m stuck and recognizing things I have to say no to.

It put me on this completely different path.

Being a #1 Intellection, I need to think. I need two weeks at minimum to percolate an idea. I may not be thinking about it actively, but it’s there. It’s always there. Other writers telling me to be writing EVERY DAY, no, I need thinking days. So now I take breaks from the computer.

I don’t check social media first thing. I do other stuff first. That was a huge time suck.

And having #4 Empathy meant, I may not know what others are feeling, but I sense emotions just the same and it drains me. Days that I’m at the hospital with my Dad (in the past with my Mom) are days I’m not going to write. I’m just not going to write.

After a conference, I’m not energized. I’m overwhelmed. I need to decompress.

Having strategic and context in my top five also means I need to fully form my characters and visualize them, way before I think of plot.

And being a Learner in my top five means that to keep my mind from burn out, I need to learn , read nonfiction, watch a documentary or learn a new craft.

I’m still learning every day how to maximize my strengths and I’m getting back on my feet. Grief over my Mom is a part of my life and I’m learning to deal, because it will never go away. That the price of love, but I’m learning how to avoid burn out and keep doing what I love doing.

If you’re stuck, lost, not producing and you feel like you’re on the path to burn out I can’t recommend Write Better Faster enough, but again…it’s not for everyone.

What works for me as a writer, won’t work for you. There is no secret formula to it, I wish there was! Trust me.

We’re all different and you have to find your own path.



Born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Amy fled the big city to settle down with the country boy of her dreams. When she's not furiously typing away at her computer, she's a mom to three children.
Life got in the way, and after the birth of her second child, she decided to pursue her dream of becoming a romance author.

Connect with Amy Ruttan over the web:
Website       Twitter        Facebook

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Thanks, Amy!

I'm so sorry about your mom - sending hugs your way.
I'm often drained by emotions and when Mom was in the early stages of dementia and her hubby had both dementia and cancer, that burnout took me a long time to get through. I could write down snippets at times to help me process the experience, but putting it into a book form took much much longer. Feeling human, even longer.

The course sounds intriguing! I alternate between INFJ & INFP but I don't know much about the other tests. Definitely something I'd enjoy looking into!

How about you? And other INFJ/INFP (like me) or ISFJ (like Amy)?
Anyone else fascinated by personality tests?
What courses have you taken that have resonated with you?


  1. It sounds like the course does help you understand your strengths and work those into your writing habits.

  2. Her course is online this July? I'm going to check it out.

  3. Glad you found the course helpful. I need to figure out how to write faster so I'm thinking of checking it out.

  4. She has a conference which delves into all 34 of your strengths, but Write Better Faster is online pretty regularly. That’s where you start. It’s amazing!

  5. And Jemi, sorry about your Mom and dementia. It does really take a toll on your creativity. I had no idea what the Clifton Strengths were until I took this course and now I’m like...yeah that makes sense because of what strengths make up me.

  6. What a fascinating approach to writing. It sounds as if the course has the potential to change and make the most of your life, not 'just' your writing.
    My sympathies about the loss of your mother. It happens to us all, we know it will happen and it is STILL overwhelming.
    I am an INTJ. In another of the personality tests (cannot remember its name) I came out as a Thruster Organiser, a label which I rejected as being 'too male'. Pushy tart I can cope with - and it is sometimes true.

    1. LOL Pushy Tart sounds a lot better than Thruster Organizer. ;) I'm looking forward to delving in my 34 strengths this summer. I'm very much a Strategic, very small percentage of relationship or influencing. So My little bar is very red.

  7. So sorry about your mom. Sounds like you found a great course to help get your writing going. Your book sounds fascinating.

  8. Getting to know yourself is great. Knowing how it can make you a better writer must have a huge impact on your confidence. Well done.

    Anna from elements of emaginette

    1. That's why I say what works for one, doesn't mean it will work for you. I would get so frustrated not being able to plot or taking a course and it just not working for me, because we're all so different. What is sort of funny/sad is my 34th strength is self-assurance. Sigh. LOL