Monday, July 19, 2010

What kind of writer do you want to be?


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?

20 comments:

Corey Schwartz said...

Awesome description, Katie!

Hardygirl said...

Great post!!! And, it's probably THE most important question we can ask ourselves.

sf

middle grade ninja said...

What a coincidence. That's the sort of writer I want to be as well. Thanks for writing it out as a clear goal.

Matthew Rush said...

Great post! For me a published writer would be a nice start.

Candyland said...

Um, let's see. I REALLY want to be a writer who doesn't suck. Pretty simple-NOT. I would love to be at the place of having an agent back me up (not there yet) and help me perfect my stories so they suck less.

Heather Kephart said...

Great post! I can so relate to the whole not being able to shake the disease bit. SO smart to keep grounded by pinpointing and oft referring to what kind of writer we want to be. It's so easy to get distracted and end up on a tangent, then "come to" and wonder - How did I get here?

storyqueen said...

Katie, your description is very heartfelt and wonderful.

(And I bet you unstuck yourself!)

Well done!

Shelley

Meredith said...

I love this! It's definitely a description to aspire to.

Tere Kirkland said...

Thanks for this! I'm drafting something new right now, so when I get stuck I'll be sure to ask myself this very question.

Tess said...

what kind of writer do I want to be?

and employed one. hahaha...

seriously, though, I want to write books that parents and kids will both enjoy. That a grandma can buy for her grandchild and say "I read this when I was little".

that would be lovely.

Tess said...

oops...meant "an" employed one. It was an early morning here.

Jemi Fraser said...

Lovely!

I think right now I'd want to be a braver one. Taking those 'next' steps is scary! :)

Sir Thomas said...

I'll take two pieces of cake please...


oh wait it was not really about cake was it...

*smiles*

great post

Emily J. Griffin said...

I want to be all of those things (relatively speaking). What ties me down is feeling I have to choose, like I can only be one thing.

If I write a funny YA coming-of-age(which is what I'm working on now) then I can't later write a fantasy series, or book in verse, or any other number of options.

Perhaps, I can modify the question to be, "what kind of writer do I want to be for this project?"

Gail said...

First, I want to be a traditionally published author, rather than a self published one.

Next, I want to be an author who has book signings with real kids there.

Lastly, I want to be an author that a child comes up to and says: I love your books!

Sigh....it reminds me of how I felt after the hugs my young students used to give to me.

Robin Mellom said...

Oh, that was LOVELY. You make me want to be a better writer. Thanks, K. :-)

Shannon said...

I want to write characters that leap off the page like Ed McBain, stories that disturb like Stephen King, and worlds that spark your imagination like Dan Abnett.

Little Ms J said...

Beautiful, Katie. I love how you talk about climbing into words. You always inspire me.

chandlermariecraig said...

Thanks for this post, Katie! This is something I am struggling with so much right now!

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