Thursday, January 7, 2010

Who Do You Wanna Be

by Dave White

"I wanna be Don Mattingly!"

"Well, then I can be Dave Winfield!"

Remember playing baseball when you were a kid? You always wanted to be the best player, and you wanted to pretend you were the best player on your favorite pro team.

Sometimes, when I'm cruising the crime blogs or reading blurbs, I see a mention of what a person wants to be.

I want to be Dennis Lehane.

The next Michael Connelly!

Something along those lines.

I don't get why that's an author's goal. I don't get why they want to be someone else.

I wish my name could be said in the same breath as those the authors I mentioned above. But I do not want to be them. My goal is to be Dave White. I want to have books that resonate on their own. I want to be my own man. I'm not out to try and write like someone else. I'm trying to write like me.

I want to be the best I can be. And I tend to like authors who strike out on their own.

If you're an aspiring writer, you should want to be the best you CAN be. Don't try to be Lee Child. Don't try to be Lehane or Crumley or Lippman or anyone else. Be yourself. Write the book you want to read.

Odds are that's going to make you put out something that hasn't been done before. You're going to have a voice. You're going to look at scenes from a different angle.

It's okay to have idols, mentors, and inspirations... but at some point people leave those behind and strike out on their own.

At some point you have to be yourself. And, if you ask me what my goal is as a writer, that is what I want to be.

Dave White.


Chuck said...


Best thing a writer can do is find his own voice and trumpet that shit to the high heavens.

Great post.

-- c.

Patrick Shawn Bagley said...

When you live in Maine and your neighbors find out you're a writer, the question they inevitably ask is: "So you wanna be the next Stephen King, huh?"

My standard answer is: "No, I want to be the first me."

John McFetridge said...

You're exactly right. Of course, it's good to remember that it takes a lot of writing to find your own voice. It can be like learning a musical instrument, first you have play a bunch of songs the way other people play them before you can write your own - or even play your own interpretations.

Bryon Quertermous said...

I think that's when you know you've got what it takes to be a professional writer: you've got something unique to bring to the table. That's why I don't worry about ideas or the limited number of plots because nobody will do them like I will do them. They may do them better, but they won't do them like me.

I still find it hard to believe though somebody wants to be the Mrs. Dave White.

Scott D. Parker said...

Patrick stole the line I always use. My secondary line is this: I want to be the "S Guy" between Robert Parker and T. Jefferson Parker.

pattinase (abbott) said...

And I am beginning to think that "myself" is a short story writer. Can I live with that?