I Write What I Write

I remember after reading 20 Boy Summer and Fixing Delilah that I thought to myself – I wanna write a book like that.

And then I went on a John Green binge, even though I threw Looking for Alaska across the room when I reached THAT part. And I was like – I wanna write a book like Paper Towns (my fav John Green).

I read Harmonic Feedback and thought – GAH! I wanna write a book like that.

But I didn’t write any of those books.

They’re not me.

And do I think it’s important to stretch yourself?

YES!

Do I also think that by forcing myself to write something because I read a book I loved is going to do me any favors?

Nope.

The minute I try to write something that doesn’t feel like ME, I lose a little something in my MS. On top of that, I start comparing myself to other authors.

Nothing kills creativity faster than comparison.

I think reading Ockler pushed me to stretch my language skills. The same with Laini Taylor, Jandy Nelson, and Maggie Steifvater. (I have a friend who I KNOW is rolling her eyes at me right now)

I look at Andrew Smith and think – WOW. And Christa Desir where I HAVE to keep reading even though I’m terrified to.

I learn from reading. SO much. I push myself because of the amazing books I read. I learn by beta reading for other people in all sorts of ways – in so many ways that I’m pretty sure I could write a whole post on that. I learn from my odd addiction to Lit Reactor.

But the moment I try to “re-create” a version of what someone else did, I put myself in a very dangerous place.

At the same time, I agree with Steifvater in that as writers we are theives. We steal things around us ALL THE TIME to use in our books.

I guess it’s a matter of finding balance.

Use what you learn, but make it ALL YOURS. I did this with Stronger Than You Know, using a book I read and loved as a jumping off place for my idea, but Joy is all MINE.

Also. I’m quite certain (again) that one of you will say what I’m trying to fumble through in a much clearer and more concise way in the comments 😉

Are there books out there you read and wished you’d written?

Authors you totally look up to because of their mad skillz?

~ Jo

P.S. If you’re still waiting on the ebook of Stronger Than You Know, we might start a club soon 😉 I’ve been told before October 1.

Joy

10 thoughts on “I Write What I Write

  1. Yes! Yes to everything in this post!
    Sometimes I look at my bookshelf and I think, “Well, I’m never going to write anything as good as those.”
    That is definitely the wrong approach! How do I even know? I might even write something better, but I won’t get anywhere if I’m just hanging off other people’s styles and ideas instead of just creating my own!

  2. Oh, so many authors I admire. You–for your ability to write emotion! But Maggie Stiefvater and Laini Taylor would have to be up there for their gorgeous prose. There are tons more, but it would take too long to list them all . . .

  3. Right now I’m wishing I could write something as magical as The Night Circus. That book calls to me in my sleep–I love it. I’m dying to read it again, and I think this will be the fourth read-through I’ve given it. And despite that, I’m sure it will *still* be magical because of the complexity and beauty Erin Morgenstern gave her characters and their circus. Love it!

  4. There are a few books I dearly treasure, though it never occurred to me wish I written any of them. I learn from the way writers choose their words, and weave them together, from the metaphors they use, from their literary style. For instance, Haruki Murakami is quite poetic, profound and somewhat surreal and a master storyteller. Rilke, well, just Rilke. And I’m often moved seeing the world through the words of Joan Didion. I take all this stuff, store it. For reflection … for inspiration. And my mind filters it all, through some kind of strange osmosis.

    I’ve learned not to try to be like this one or that one … not to compare … not to wish I’d written this or that book. It’s a creativity blocker, a muse killer. So, yes to writing my best, to creating something unique.

  5. I’m not your average dude. I can be loud and in your face or silent and observant. I like drive fast-read good books- write amazing stories and have incredible adventures. I like your writing it’s a good read-what do u think about mine!

  6. Many books out there I wish I’d written. Some because the emotion gets to me. Some because I’m like, ah, that story (plot) is awesome, so unique and original. I wish I would’ve been the first to think of that. Or others because characters are just so darn perfect. And by perfect, I don’t mean they do nothing wrong. 🙂

    I’ve never tried to copy a style of writing. If it’s not my style or type of story, I think it’d be hard. It might be good practice though. As an exercise to improve your writing, by trying different things.

    Happy Friday!

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