26 June 2007

REPOST 7/10/2006 Idolizing another author...

All things considered, I've already stated there are bad reasons to idolize another writer. If you look back, I made a great case for not aspiring to change your writing timeline to match another author. The words come for you how they come for you, and messing with that isn't good, but should you never idolize another author?

Well, of COURSE you should. By that I mean, you don't need to put them on a pedestal. THAT isn't healthy for either of you, but learn from them, aspire to the things you think they do right, as long as it doesn't mess with the way your own "writing mind" works.

What are good reasons to idolize another author?

1. The author is where you WANT to be and is in a similar genre and of a complimentary or similar style to yourself. There is nothing wrong with me saying I want to be Sherrilyn Kenyon, Robin Owens, or Angela Knight when I grow up. They are similar in genre and similar ENOUGH in style to me to make that a good place to aspire to...the NYT Bestseller list, an active set of readers and really NICE people to know, just because they are personable.

2. The person is at the same place you are in the writing world or in their current life situation but has resources, contacts or experiences you want, need or find beneficial. This is an incredibly good association to form, especially if you each have something to offer the other.

Gregory Norris and I idolize each other in many ways.

He says that I have a personal drive that he admires. I give people a creative kick in the pants. I have some knowledge of markets he doesn't. I have knowledge of distribution channels, the e-market, and I'm a marketing powerhouse and a top-notch editor. And, I have established myself solidly in small press and am attempting to move up.

I say that he has experience with agents and editors I would like to have. I say he has contacts I can only dream of, and he has God in his Rolodex. I say he's hit the big time in some fields already (TV scripts and journalism, for instance) and is moving there in others (novels). He has knowledge of markets I don't.

We both have things to offer the other. We both see things that the other can teach us, and we value that. We are both severing dysfunctional business relationships and seeking to move up into new territory. We challenge each other to keep climbing, keep writing and keep submitting.

There is something inherently powerful about such a friendship, since you are coming from similar places, headed to similar places and can sounding-board off of each other, since you are in such a similar life and career circumstance.

3. Someone is not at the same place you are but has either a unique outlook or a unique energy about a situation. There's nothing wrong with this, even if it's a newbie who is reminding you that you LOVE writing and should always love writing, or you should hang it up, because what's the point of doing something you hate? Sometimes, we need that reminder, that kick to the head to set things right again... And why should it be wrong to idolize someone for that reason?

So, to the person...who shall remain nameless...who was highly offended when I said that Greg and I idolize each other, get a life! Grin... People do not "command" respect. They earn it. If I idolize someone or someone idolizes me, it means we've done something to earn the respect of another. Pouting does not win one respect. It makes one out to look like a toddler in the midst of a tantrum.

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