Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Role Models

So, I think role models are very important. And I think the right role models are even more important. While I'm all right with young people looking up to actors, athletes, bands and other such people, I think that young people looking up to writers is a fantastic thing. I was one of them when I was little, even before I decided I wanted to become a writer.

So, here are four reasons why I think authors are one of the best options for role models:
  1. They use their brains. (As opposed to eating brains?)  No really. I know it takes a lot of skill to become an athlete, actor, band or other, writers do not rely on their looks, their brute strength or the voice they were given to make their careers. They use their brain, which I'll admit does take some god-given skill, takes a lot more determination and understanding than some other professions. Writers value wit and the ability to communicate ideas more than anything else. Except, maybe vocabulary. Which actually brings me to number 2...
  2. You can learn things from writers. Not saying to can't learn things from, say, a movie with your favorite actor in it. But text is better able to communicate ideas, lessons and opinions in ways that other forms of communication can't. People spend more time reading a novel than they do watching a movie, which allows more time to really sink into a story. And, I would argue, it's that deep immersion that allows people to open their minds to ideas and concepts they might never have thought of before. And it sure doesn't hurt with spelling and vocabulary.
  3. Writers generally choose controversy. Not going to lie, generally the controversy surrounding pop icons is about them doing something stupid. Yes, we like to read about celebrity scandal, I'll admit it. But while I keep one eye on it, I know that those people aren't the kind I want to look up to. Writers generally choose to enter conversations on controversial topics. And, they think before they speak (this is not always the case, but most times I'd say it's true). Writers have been pushing the limits since the beginning, enlightening others with radical views and racy subjects. But they do it in a smart way.
  4. Writers reach out to their fans. I know I'll never meet a movie star. It's just not going to happen. I'll probably never go to a movie premier or win a contest that will put me in direct view of a famous actor. That's something I'm going to have to get over. But what I can do is go find a book signing for my favorite authors. Writers (and the publishing industry) try to reach out to the fans and make themselves available to them. I've also found a better response on things like Twitter than mega-superstars. I mean, when is the last time you saw Robert Pattinson on tour meeting fans other than at a premier?
I will probably continue to look up to writers and the work that goes into their careers. I will appreciate their wit and their charm and how brilliantly they use 26 simple letters to create worlds and characters I can lose myself in. I've been looking up to Neil Gaiman, Garth Nix, Tamora Pierce, J.K. Rowling and many others for most of my life.

What about you? Do you look up to writers the way I do? Are there other reasons writers are special to you? Who are the writers you admire? I'd love to hear about it. Tomorrow, look forward to an update on my WIP.