The next

As a girl when I told people I wanted to be a writer, they would often say something like, Oh, you’ll be the next Austen or Shakespeare! In college when I started working on my first novel (about two Chinese American sisters and their mother) people said, Oh, you’ll be the next Amy Tan! Now when I mention that I’m focusing on Young Adult literature, people say, Oh, you’ll be the next Stephenie Meyer or Suzanne Collins!

I get it. They mean well. They’re enthusiastic, and they’re working with what they know. They are saying they believe in me, that I can be as big/great/successful as these other authors. And I appreciate that, I really really do.

But here’s the thing: I don’t want be the next anybody.

I want to be original.

I just want to be me.

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8 Comments

  1. Well, as you say, they mean well, and new things are always seen through the lens of the familiar. When Bruce Springsteen’s first album came out, he was widely reviewed as “the new Dylan.” I don’t recall that he made a big fuss about this; he just kept on doing his thing, and eventually it became obvious that he wasn’t any kind of Dylan at all.

  2. Me, too :) Plus, it’s a damn lot of pressure to put on a writer to expect them to be the next anything. Still, it would be kind of cool if people said one day, “Maybe you’ll be the next Kristan Hoffman!”

  3. Melissa

    Correct! I agree. You should be the only “YOU!” and not the next any successful writer out there. Just curious, who is your inspiration for writing? I hope you’d succeed with your chosen path.

    -Melissa

  4. Louella Knowles

    True! But you can’t avoid things like being compared to other known writer. But don’t let it sink into you. Just do your thing and I know you’re meant to do that. :)

  5. People do mean well, but I think they often have an overinflated idea of what being a successful writer is really like.

    And I have no doubt that you’ll be an original.

  6. I think I’ve pretty much given up on the idea of being original. But you go, girl!

  7. Thanks for the vote of confidence, y’all!

    Anthony-
    I think that’s the plan: just keep on keeping on. :)

    Meghan-
    Hehe, agreed.

    Melissa-
    Oh, I have so many inspirations, lol. Nora Roberts (work ethic, characters), Amy Tan (mother/daughter relationships, Asian culture), Jodi Picoult (multifaceted looks at timely issues), Laini Taylor (stunning imagination and writing)… I’m sure the list could go on.

  8. Jon

    Even though I gave up performing three years ago, I would still like to be the next Bob Dylan. I know it will never happen, but I can dream, right?

    But, seriously, score one for originality. Why be like anyone else when you can be yourself?

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