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I'm a writer, a crafter, a nail polish mixatrix, a tea drinker, an unconventional life-liver, and a cool chick.

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Monday, October 24, 2016

What kind of writer do you want to be?



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?
All of these answers can change over time, especially if you're just starting out now and aren't sure what you really need and want to write your best stories. Especially if something changes in your life or your priorities. Especially if you get far enough that you realize you'd rather be doing it a different way.

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?

*He has his name on over 300 books!
**And in other things I write that aren't books. And how I get all these different stories out into the world.


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