Recently I got an email from our dear writer friend, Shelley Thomas. She said that sometimes when she's stuck, she asks herself this question and her answer generally gets her unstuck. What kind of writer do you want to be?
I have thought about that idea many times since then, and sure enough, it does help you refocus when you're stuck. Do you want to be a funny YA novelist? Or a snarky one? A romantic? Or Poetic? Do you want your picture books to rhyme? Even when the pros say not to? Do you want to win awards? Or hit the bestseller's list? What kind of writer do you want to be?
I think it's almost like asking yourself over and over again, "what is the core message in my novel?" Or "What is the core theme?" And then making sure you adhere to that.
So, I followed Shelley's advice and asked myself, "What kind of writer do I want to be?"
And the answer was this:
I want to write memorable characters like Kathryn Stockett. Characters you can feel and might think of later when you're at the grocery store, like an old friend. I want to use metaphors like Jandy Nelson, in that way she nails what everyone is thinking in one, short sentence. I want my romance to feel like Simone Elkeles. *swoon* I want to be as creative as Laini Taylor, thinking out of the box and drawing on those things that interest me. I want to create a world like J.K. Rowling that my readers want to climb inside and visit. I want my book to make people laugh, and cry, and eat it up like their favorite candy. I want readers to really feel my setting. I want to speak to schools and writer's groups about how I didn't grow up a writer. How I had to learn the craft. How it was hard. And then harder. But how the passion never leaves. How it worked its way inside my being like an infectious disease that affects every cell in my body. I want to continue to be a writer who loves being critiqued and listens to other's advice. I want to be so creative and different that people notice. I want to make a difference.
Piece o' cake, huh?
What kind of writer do YOU want to be?