Wednesday, December 2, 2015

ISWG: What I Learned from Precious Ramotswe

As I’ve been on a bit of a blogging break, I’ve been catching up with my reading for grownups and devouring the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series. I started it years ago, but somehow got
sidetracked and never finished. Now I’m almost to the end of these delightful series about Precious Ramotswe, a traditionally built woman in Botswana, who solves mysteries and loves bush tea. These “feel good” mysteries are so well-written, full of humor, wit and wisdom, that I can’t put them down.

Recently, in The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection, Precious gets to meet her mentor, Clovis Anderson, an American detective, who’s written a book about detecting. It’s not just a book Precious refers to occasionally, but one she practically lives by.


At the end of the book, he tells her he has a confession to make, that he’s not all he seems to be. What she says to him moved me to tears.

“But that’s nonsense, Rra. You’re the author of that great book, The Principles of Private Detection. That book is world famous. It’s very important.”

He shook his head—sadly. “No, Mma Ramotswe. The book’s not well known at all. I wrote it, yes, but I couldn’t even get it properly published. So I had it printed privately—just two hundred copies. Eighty of those are still in my garage. We sold about thirty copies, that’s all. I gave away the rest, but somehow one of those seems to have got into your hands. I have no idea how it happened, but it did. The book’s nothing, Mma. Nothing.”…

“Rra,” she said. “You mustn’t say that. You must never, never say that. Even if you had printed only ten copies—five copies, maybe—it would still be a very important book. It has helped us so much, Rra, and in turn we’ve been able to help so many people in our work. Every one of those people, Rra, is happier now because of what you did. Think of that—just think of that.”

There are many days when I’m not sure why I write, why I keep typing away, editing myself into oblivion, keeping sending out queries despite rejections. There was once in my life, in my college years, when I thought I’d give it all up (I’ve had a few other times since), and a dear friend was like Precious to me:

“But you said, Jenni, if only you could impact one person with your writing, that it would be worthwhile.”

I often forget that. I am so thankful for friends who get me back on track and books which inspire me and remind me that writing is not just a hobby, but a calling. Because it doesn’t matter if a hundred million people read my work. It matters if one (though I hope there will be more) are touched.

That, my friends, is why I write.

What inspires you?
Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

The awesome co-hosts for the December 2 posting of the IWSG will be Sandra Hoover, Mark Koopmans, Doreen McGettigan, Megan Morgan, and Melodie Campbell!


  1. That's a great reason to write. When I find time to write now, it's just for me and maybe my critique group. Glad you liked this series. I'm starting to read more adult books so I'll check it out.

  2. Aw, Jenni, I love Precious Ramstowe and haven't finished the series. But that quote from the end is GOLD. Yes, to have made a difference even in one person's life is important. Thank you for sharing this.

    Happy to see you here again. Wishing you a most blessed Advent.

  3. This was an awesome post, thanks for sharing it! I want to read those books too now. And you're absolutely right about just needing to impact one person. We can do this!

  4. So true! If it makes a difference to even one person, that's what matters.

  5. If you can bless even one person with your writing.... But that's a challenge. Being true to your ideas. And making your work into something that can be a blessing to just that one person and not a triviality.

    Nissa from

  6. I am looking forward to getting some long overdue reading done in 2016. I am also looking forward to getting some overdue TV binging done too. For me writing takes on its own life and pretty much takes over mine. I'm okay with that but need to work on being more balanced. Keep moving forward!

  7. What inspires me? Last April I gave away free copies of some of my short stories during the A to Z challenge. One person (that I don't know) read a story, liked it enough to post a positive review on Amazon, and then bought and reviewed another. I can't tell you how many times I go read those little reviews. They mean so much to me.

  8. Beautiful post, Jenni! You couldn't have said it better! Thanks for the inspiring words.

  9. Thank you, Jennie. What a lovely post. Made me teary. Goodness. I'm inspired by bloggers like yourself.

  10. An excellent - and inspiring - post! Thank you for the reminder that our words, our stories, are important. :)

  11. I don't think my writing will change anyone's life, but I do have dreams that one day, many years and miles from here, I will run into some stranger that just happens to be reading my book.

    Then I'll casually ask them if it's any good and they'll say, "Eh, it's okay."

    IWSG December

    1. I heard Anne Hillerman say that was her father's favorite thing--to find someone in an airport reading one of his novels, ask for an opinion--and then offer to sign it. Feels almost like a goal, doesn't it?

  12. Well, I found that blog post inspiring! (And not just because it inspires me to catch up with that series again--wonderful books, those). Yes--any one person who says they loved my books, or a story I post on my blog, makes me feel like it's worth it. If I ever heard that I'd touched someone's life in any way (a bit of a challenge for my rather light stories), that really would make it all good.
    Rebecca at The Ninja Librarian

  13. This was a lovely post. I've heard so much about that series but haven't found time to read it. I probably will, now, thanks to your post. As for why I write, well, I do want others to read my books, but not to become famous, just to reach other hearts. I'm not really into numbers. The satisfaction of writing comes first.

  14. Precious words! If you can impact just one person, it would be worthwhile, and I am quite certain you already have :) But I understand fully what you mean. I'm getting quite a stack of rejections too and it doesn't feel good, but I keep writing. It's what makes me ticks.

  15. And of those that read your work, only a certain percentage of them will really love it, and there lies your audience, but it's hard to ignore all the naysayers who don't fit in that mold.

  16. So glad you have had some time to catch up on your reading. What a great post! Thanks for sharing. :)

  17. What a beautiful reason to write. I also write to touch people--or even just one person. It's such an important and powerful thing, the ability to change someone's life or even to make them smile or bring them joy. Great post!
    Ninja Girl