The older I get and the longer I write (and think of myself as A Writer), the more I think that it's good to know what sort of writer you want to be. Not necessarily what sort you are now, since that's a shifting thing based on what you're working on, where your skill level is, and what your circumstances are. But if you know what kind of writer you want to be--in the future, when you come into your own, or when people a hundred years from now are studying your work--you have something to aim at. Something to compare yourself as you are now to, and decide if you're there yet, or on the right path to.
A few warnings though:
- Be sure you're honest with yourself so that you're not leading yourself on and comparing yourself to something you're never going to achieve.
- Don't think so far ahead that you stress yourself out. Just get a feel for what you want vs what you feel you are now.
I want to be as prolific as Issac Azimov.* I want to be a Big Name in fantasy, and I know I'm not super interested in normal stories about normal people. I want to tell stories about girls and women who aren't being abused or locked away, who do things for themselves and go on adventures. I want to be known as creating interesting worlds and telling awesome stories. I want to follow ideas and see where they take me. I want to be diverse--both in what's in my books, and in how I write my books.** I want to be consistent and reliable in my production, and high quality, but not taking years fussing over things.
How do you want to be seen as a writer?
Some questions to help you answer that question:
- Are you naturally more concerned with telling lots of stories, or with telling just a few exactly perfectly?
- Are you more concerned with style or with content?
- Do you only want to tell one sort of story or lots of different kinds?
- Do you want to work mostly in one form, like the novel, or short stories, or poems, or do you want to do lots of different kinds of writing?
- Would you like to be visible and accessible to the world and your fans, or do you want to stay more private?
- Are you a fast writer or a slow one? An all-at-once writer, or a methodical one? A planner or a pantser?
- What do you need in your life and your environment and your emotional support system to be the best writer you can be?
- Who are your inspirations and idols in writing, and what do you think of how they handle being a writer?
- Do you want to publish as a living, or does publishing even really matter to you?
- Do you want to only write, or do you want to keep it as a side project while something else fills your days?
- Why did you start writing to begin with?
But that's the thing about being a creative: it's a moving target. A work in progress. YOU are a work in progress, and just like how everyone will have different answers to these questions, past-you and future-you might have different answers, too.
But right now, you can have an ideal vision of what to aim for!
What're you aiming for?
**And in other things I write that aren't books. And how I get all these different stories out into the world.
You can join my mailing lists here:
And you can find me around the web here: