WMBTSD Giveaway Day Eleven: September 11, 2007

Oh gosh, did anyone notice on the list that I didn’t have anything listed for September 11th?

I sat here staring at the list for like five minutes going, “Wha’ happened?”

But that’s okay, mistakes make me humble.

Before I announce the giveaway (I think you’ll like it), let’s pause for a moment of silence because it’s September 11th…

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….okay.

Today’s giveaway is: September 11th: A certificate for a free one-year subscription to Writer’s Digest Magazine, Edited by Maria Schneider.

Writer’s Digest MagazineSpeaking of Writer’s Digest, did you check out the winner of the Writer Mama Contest, who has her entry posted in the October Issue (the current issue on stands)?

You can view all three winners at http://www.writersdigest.com/writermama.asp.

I’ll be posting the entries in my blog on October 1st and talk a little bit about how we selected them.

In order to be entered to win a certificate for a free one-year subscription to Writer’s Digest Magazine, edited by Maria Schneider, you must answer the following question in your comment in 50-300 words:

Who are your top three writing role models? They can be living or dead. Known or unknown. Personal acquaintances or folks you honor from afar. Tell us who they are and why they inspire you.

If you are new to the contest, please visit “Station Identification.”

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41 Responses to “WMBTSD Giveaway Day Eleven: September 11, 2007”


  1. 1 Heather Haapoja September 11, 2007 at 7:40 am

    Without a doubt, Madeleine L’Engle is the first that comes to mind. Her recent death came as such a shock, if only because her writing made her seem ageless and timeless. Hearing the sad news inspired me to re-read a favorite of her books, “Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art.” Her graceful outspokenness never fails to inspire. So powerful, and yet compassionate at the same time.

    Another major role model would be Ted Geisel, or Dr. Seuss. I have always been awed by the way he could play with words and make fun, silly stories for kids that often had a much deeper, hidden meaning. I love wordplay and children’s books, and he is definitely one of my writing heroes.

    More recently, I’ve been inspired by J.K. Rowling. Not just because she hit the mother lode in fiction writing, but because she really is just so good. Her way with setting, plot, and character development is incredible. Her writing is so descriptive, there’s no doubt in your mind that this world really exists somewhere. Perfect suspension of disbelief. Awesome talent.

    Great question! Can’t wait to read everyone’s answers…

  2. 2 writer_tab September 11, 2007 at 7:44 am

    Two of my top three are critique partners.

    I met Number One when I was brand new to writing. She took me under her wing and invited me to join her critique group. She found my stories funny (as in haha, not strange) and gave me the confidence to keep at it. She let me tag along to New York and introduced me to her editor and agent. Thank you, Number One!

    Number Two inspires me with her tenacity. She sold her first book eight months after she started writing. And her second eight months after that. She’s a prolific writer, researcher, and subber. I want to be just like her.

    Number Three is Kevin Henkes because I love his books and think he’s brilliant.

  3. 3 Mary Jo C. September 11, 2007 at 7:51 am

    Hmmm, It’s hard to pick just three:
    Of course, the great J.K. Rowling, because of her Cinderella story. Don’t we all fantasize about writing in a café, with our sleeping baby nuzzled in the booth beside us, just glimpses into a new world? Then Bam! You’re a household name, inspiring kids all over the world to dress like your characters and line up hours before your new book is released. Her imagination is spectacular and her business and marketing sense an inspiration.

    Jodi Picoult is another author I admire. Her ability to pull us readers into the hearts of her characters and completely change our minds about our deepest beliefs is amazing! I’m very excited to be learning about her writing process in her new column in Writers’ Digest.

    Anne Lamott in Bird By Bird touched me on a writer’s level. I finally realized we all go through these emotions and her shared experiences gave me a peace and the motivation to just do it!

    My role models change constantly due to the changes in my life. But, I find inspiration in every writer, all of us! The creativity to mold something on the page and the courage to put it out there.

    P.S. I just rec’vd my last Writers Digest issue –pick me random machine!!

  4. 4 Renee Roberson September 11, 2007 at 7:59 am

    Top Three Writing Role Models:

    Wow, that’s a toughie! My list could go on and on, but I’ll give it my best shot. The list evolves obviously depending on what’s going on in my life!

    1. Pat Conroy. He’s the southern writer I have always aspired to be. He’s taken the painful experiences in his life and the hard lessons he’s learned and turned them into beautiful novels. Need I say more?

    2. Jenna Glatzer. She’s the same age as me and has accomplished so much professionally already! I feel like her book “How To Make a Real Living as a Freelance Writer” really kick-started my freelance career. I just think she’s one of the neatest women in our field — and I’d love to meet her one day if I ever make it up to New York!

    3. Catherine Mitchell. She was one of my college instructors and mentors, and she had unfailing faith in me when I was still green, green, green in the field of journalism. She won a Pulitzer Prize in the 1970s for her investigative reporting into the Synanon Cult in California.

    4. And of course I have to add number four, and not just because I’m sucking up and want the random number generator to smile upon me again! Christina Katz is an inspiration to all of us “writer mamas,” and she shows us we can have it all if we believe in ourselves. And she’s running this awesome giveaway!

  5. 5 Claire Muzal September 11, 2007 at 8:47 am

    My sister applied some more eye make-up in front of the bathroom mirror, and glanced sideways at me from her new lofty position as a 1968 worldly working girl. I had just read her a short angst-filled introspective. Turning back to the mirror, she commented, “Hmm, it may sound neat, but if nobody understands it, what good is it?”

    From that Jr. High moment on I vowed to strive for clarity.

    Garrison Keillor makes me laugh, feel deeply, ponder and wonder all the while gaining my fawning admiration for his wordcraft.

    Jack Crabtree is a Eugene Oregon Philosopher and teacher that communicates with such good sense and logic that I am continually delighted by the content as well as the form. Multi-lingual and skilled in rhetoric, Jack parses THE IDEA and makes his listeners and readers appreciate the beauty of precision in communication.

    These influences have all contributed to my appreciation for clear language, compelling language, and precise language. It really IS a joy to keep learning our whole lives!!

  6. 6 Meryl K. Evans September 11, 2007 at 8:52 am

    William Zinsser, author of On Writing Well. The book was a wonderful read. Many of us read self-improvement books and apply concepts only for a short time before we forget about them. I still apply his advice after reading the book over five years ago.

    Reader’s Digest columnist Mary Roach — I study her articles trying to learn how to add safe humor to writing. Her tagline says it all, “Mary finds humor in odd places, and also her car keys.”

    Apologies for sounding corny, but I also get inspiration from writers everywhere — good and bad. The bad teach me what not to do and the good motivate me to do better.

  7. 7 Beth K. Vogt September 11, 2007 at 9:17 am

    Writing Role Models:

    My writing comrades who make up my writers group Inkspired–I’m only counting this is one! It’s a group of writing women who strive to write better and to help each other write better. Who demand that we find our true voice–not imitate someone else’s. Who do the “Happy Dance” whenever anyone has a writing success to celebrate. They live the writing life with me

    Max Lucado: When I read his books I think, “Oh, I want to write like him.” His writing sings. It speaks to my heart. It makes me think. When he puts words on paper, he is doing what God created him to do.

    Beth Lagerborg, the media editor at MOPS, who asked for my book proposal and then walked with me every step of the way through the process. Yes, she is a good writer. Yes, she is a good editor. But she was so nuch more than that. She was an encouraging voice. I can always find another editor or writer. But encouraging voices are few and far between along the writing road. When I grow up, I want to be like Beth. No, I want to be like her right now.

  8. 8 Linda Harris September 11, 2007 at 9:19 am

    Catherine Marshall inspires me in two ways: her wonderful insights and her great writing. Christy is one of my all-time favorite novels, but I also enjoy her non-fiction.

    Another all-time favorite novel is Though None Go with Me by Jerry B. Jenkins. I read all his Left Behind novels, but Though None Go with Me touched my heart. It made me realize that, though I wonder if my life means anything now, I cannot always see how I am touching others. And his Writing for the Soul is my writing inspiration.

    My latest influence is Heather Sells, in Chapter After Chapter. Her advice is a blueprint for me as I write my book.

  9. 9 beediva September 11, 2007 at 9:33 am

    My biggest writing inspiration has been Madeleine L’Engle. I started with her “dark and stormy night” and was eternally hooked. I even named my youngest daughter after her. I loved her sense of wonder and the ways she articulated grace. And even though I didn’t always agree with her theologically, she always forced me to think about the reasons I believed or felt something. I am sure that today she is regaling the heavens with her stories.

    My mother has always encouraged my writing and for that, I will always be grateful.

    My list would not be complete without Anne Lamott. Her voice is engaging, her writing authentic and her persona entertaining. My life is richer because Anne Lamott decided to write.

  10. 10 Carrie K. September 11, 2007 at 9:35 am

    My first choice is Madeleine L’Engle, and I see someone has already mentioned her. She was always honest in her writing. I’m thinking of her memoir A Circle of Quiet – and the thoughts she had on returning to faith after a long absence, as well as her honesty about the parts of faith she didn’t understand and the doubts she still harbored.

    My second choice is Lisa Samson. She is a Christian author who defies the whole Christian fiction genre. Many works of Christian fiction are trite little sermons wrapped up in stories. Not so with Samson’s work. She has a unique voice and deals with real-life, imperfect people who happen to believe.

    Third choice is Anna Quindlen. Her fiction is so well-written, so funny and poignant and sad and brilliant. Plus, she wrote How Reading Changed My Life, which is one of the best books on reading ever written.

  11. 11 Tiffani September 11, 2007 at 9:42 am

    My top three writer role models

    1. Anne Lamott taught me in “Traveling Mercies” that I don’t have to be perfect for God to love me. She shares her imperfections, and it turns out those are things that make her beautiful. Writing is not about getting it just perfect; it’s about getting it perfectly you.

    2. Brenda Ueland’s “If You Want to Write” is one of my favorite books. I stumbled on it in a used bookstore in Dallas; the previous owner had highlighted many phrases and I’ve added to it. Brenda’s wisdom holds true: Know that you have talent, are original and have something important to say.

    3. Sassy magazine from the late 80s and early 90s was my inspiration to be myself – in my writing, in my dress, in my beliefs. I regret that I didn’t keep all my back issues. Sassy spoke to me like no other magazine before or since. I loved it so much that at my prom as a junior the seniors “willed” me a lifetime subscription. Anyone know how I can cash in on that? 🙂

    Tiffani

  12. 12 Andrea McMann September 11, 2007 at 9:49 am

    My number one inspiration when it comes to writing would have to be my best friend’s mom. Her name is Nancy and she’s been a reporter and columnist for my hometown newspaper since I was a little girl. She’s a great storyteller and she knows how to make readers feel as if they are right there with her when they read her stories. I have no doubt that growing up in proximity to such an excellent writer has influenced me greatly.

    Second would have to be Barbara Kingsolver. I marvel at the similies and metaphors she weaves into every one of her novels. The characters in her novels are intelligent and charismatic, and totally believable. I’ve read all of her novels, and I love them each so much that I can’t decide which one is my favorite. To me, that’s the mark of a great writer.

    Please don’t call me a suck-up, but I have to list Christina Katz as an inspiration. If I hadn’t read “Writer Mama,” I never would have had the inclination to become a freelancer. In fact, if my mom hadn’t bought me that book, I never would have thought freelancing possible for a person like me.

  13. 13 Mary Jude September 11, 2007 at 10:21 am

    If I were Anne Lamott, I would feel pretty good about myself reading these posts! I too would have to cite her as an amazing role model, both in writing and otherwise. I find her work to be incredibly validating and warm – I would love for someone to read my work and feel understood in that way.

    To backtrack, I would be remiss if I did not include Laura Ingalls Wilder in my list. The Little House series was the first set of books that ever drew me in and left me wanting to know more. As a child I imagined what it would be like if I could show her characters life as I knew it, and how so much had changed. For me to care so much about her characters, her writing must have truly spoken to me as a child.

    Finally, I have a good friend who is inspiring to me to begin this journey of writing, both by example and by encouragement. When I feel like I should just throw in the towel, his belief in me leads me to give it another try.

  14. 14 Cileface September 11, 2007 at 10:29 am

    In her first book Lee Smith had a character named Ivy Rowe learn the lesson that if it isn’t written down it didn’t happen. Just think of that.

    “If it isn’t documented, it didn’t happen,” resonated with me as one who once worked as a nurse. Nursing instructors filled us with fear by citing imaginary scenarios of being in front of a judge and trying to explain why a medication wasn’t given — when in truth it had been – then spearing us with, “if it isn’t documented, it didn’t happen.”

    My mother and my grandmother wrote long newsy letters to each other and to me as long as they lived. They made ordinary events come alive. After Mother died Grandma lived on in the mother-in-law basement apartment with my dad upstairs. He wrote me that a pipe burst and the basement flooded. Dull. Grandma wrote, “I woke in the middle of the night and when my toe was searching for my shoe, it landed in freezing cold water.”

    I write for fun and to let people know I passed this way. The writer group I’m in hasn’t found it dull. My mother and grandmother were the early influences on my writing followed by Ivy Rowe, Lee Smith’s fictional character in her first book Fair and Tender Ladies. Incidentally the fictional Ivy Rowe, as well as her creator, was from the same area of the Appalachian Mountains as my mother and grandmother.

  15. 15 Lisa September 11, 2007 at 10:58 am

    I’ve been inspired by novels and self-help books. I love Anne Lamont’s, Bird by Bird, for it’s practical advice and humor and Stephen King’s book, On Writing, for its ease of read, humor, and straight forward advise to ‘just write’. I often gain a lot of inspiration from reading a chapter of two before writing, and other times I just read them as I would a novel – it depends on my mood.

    I also gain inspiration from anything written by Alice Hoffman or A. Mannette Ansay. I love their writing style, stories, characters, etc., but they totally engross me in their books. Their writing is so clear, non-confusing, and flows real well. I wish I could write like them, but I have a long way to go.

    Lastly, I also admire Lawrence Block and his body of work. He, too, writes so well and has such interesting stories to tell. I never get bored reading him, and I love his style.

  16. 16 Kathleen Whitman Plucker September 11, 2007 at 11:08 am

    Anna Quindlan: I love how Anna can tell a story and then wrap it up with wonderfully profound thoughts. I feel that I can do the first, but not the latter.

    Kevin Henkes: I admire the fact that he can write a novel as well as a picture book, and that he can illustrate so well, too! Plus, I love the way that he utilizes repetition within his mouse books.

    Rebecca Kai Dotlich: Rebecca lives an hour away from me, and I have attended workshops she has taught. Aside from my husband, she was the first person who made me believe that I could be published. Her perseverance as a writer has helped me stay true to the course. Plus, I love sharing her poetry with my own children.

  17. 17 marnini September 11, 2007 at 11:12 am

    Erma Bombeck- I love her writing. I admire her sense of humor and her style of wit. One of my favorite things I have ever read was an article she wrote for a newspaper titled The Journey. It was so inpsiring and it made me look at my life differently. From that point on I wanted to be able to do that same thing for people through my writing.

    Edgar Allen Poe-In eleventh grade English literature class We had to read The Raven and I loved it. When I took an admission test for college we had to write about an author we admired and a piece of their work. I wrote about him and The Raven and I believe that is why I was accepted.

    Ray Bradbury- I loved his out there way of writing. His Twilight Zone contributions were my favorites and we would watch them in seventh grade English. I love his ability to make you feel like you know what he is writing couldn’t possibly happen yet you think what if it did happen.

  18. 18 Pattie September 11, 2007 at 11:45 am

    1. Nicole Johnson. Her book Fresh-Brewed Life truly inspired me in many ways. I was inspired to keep a journal, and that in turn inspired me to be a writer in more than just name only.

    2. Madeleine L’Engle. She wrote the stories she wanted to write, and she did not give up. Her book on the artistry of writing is truly inspiring. The world is a sadder place without her in it, but I’m sure heaven is awash with her stories now.

    3. Susan Meissner. She’s a busy minister’s wife and mom of four kids, and yet she finds time to write novel after novel. Her stories are full and rich, the thought-provoking kind, the kind that stay with you in your mind for days and days.

  19. 19 Megan September 11, 2007 at 11:59 am

    My top writing role model is Wendy Burt. I met her at a creative women’s group (The group did not consist of just writers–we also had artists of every kind, speakers, etc). She took me under her wing, critiqued my writing, hired me to write for her magazine, and became my own personal cheerleader. I learned from her the importance of querying constantly, the magic of selling reprints, (not just once but numerous times–do you know how many regional mags and newspapers there are out there???!!!), and the courage to believe in my words.

    My next favorite role model is Angela Hunt. She was the first Christian writer I found whose books were not “cheesy” as some can be. She writes her stories creatively, utilizing her amazing research skills and presents them in intelligent, believable, and thought provoking detail. She stands firm always and is not wishy-washy in her beliefs.

    And last but not least, my last role model is…ok…I admit it…Nora Roberts. I’ve read every one of her books and I love to analyze her writing style from years ago to today. She has grown tremendously in her skill and can now write a seamless, exciting novel that makes me believe that I am the girl who is being ravenously kissed by “the hunk”. She has been teaching me about “the formula” for writing commercial romances; knowledge of which I have been utilizing while secretly writing my own somewhat-tacky-but-is-getting-better romance novel!

  20. 20 Cath September 11, 2007 at 1:01 pm

    Gosh, only three?!

    For essay inspiration, I read Anne Lamott. Over and over and over again. She makes my heart sing and my pen want to write better.

    For humor inspiration, I love Erma Bombeck. She reconnects me to my younger days when my mother and I read her column and laughed out loud. She still can make me laugh right out loud.

    For fiction inspiration, I love the old fairy tale masters like Hans Christian Andersen and The Brothers Grimm. Whether I’m writing mystery, horror, children’s or mainstream, I’m sure all that imagery and those characters are floating around in my brain, sparking my imagination. It’s scary, when I think about some of the things still floating around in there. So I don’t. Best to just write!

  21. 21 Elizabeth September 11, 2007 at 1:36 pm

    It’s tough to pick only three. My number one role models are the women in my writing group, who keep working at their craft in the face of rejection (and acceptance!), family problems, health problems, and the normal stresses and strains of living, working, and raising families.

    My second set of writing role models are the great authors like James Joyce, Vladimir Nabokov, William Shakespeare. If only I could achieve a tiny, tiny part of their skill!

    My third set of role models are the late bloomers who didn’t publish until they were in their 30s, 40, and 50s. They give me hope that it’s never too late to try.

  22. 22 Melissa September 11, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    Hmm, looking over the other comments, my answers aren’t going to be terribly original!

    First, my writing group, since we’re all writing mamas with very small children– we can all be impressed with each other just for finding the time to write at this hectic stage!

    Second, those authors whose voice sets them apart– Anne Lamott springs to mind here.

    And third, writers who blog about writing– they’re sort of writing mentors, offering perspective on the process and on daily life as a writer.

  23. 23 Kelli September 11, 2007 at 2:30 pm

    Who are your top three writing role models? They can be living or dead. Known or unknown. Personal acquaintances or folks you honor from afar. Tell us who they are and why they inspire you.

    1) Anne Lamott– I just heard an incredible interview with her on New Letters PODcast which was fabulous. She inspires me with her honesty, routine, and humor.

    2) Emily Dickinson — Because she wrote for herself first; all of her fame came after her death.

    3) J.K. Rowlings– Even though I’ve never read any of the Harry Potter books (or seen the movies!), I’m inspired by how she was able to create the love for reading in children again. Honestly, when was the last time a bookstore ever stayed open past midnight to kick off a new book publication and when was the last time besides Harry Potter have you heard the general media use the term “Book Frenzy?” I love that!

    Great question, Christina. I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s answers. And I received Cup Of Comfort for Writers. Thank you!

  24. 24 Laura September 11, 2007 at 4:01 pm

    I have wanted to write ever since I started developing a hunger for reading, in about third grade. It was then I started reading the Little House books, and read about how Laura learned to describe things so she could be her blind sister’s eyes. I was hooked, both on reading, and on the thought of writing. (and guess who I was named after?)

    My second influence has to be Nora Roberts. The characters, especially in her more recent books, are so believable. In both Northern Lights & Angels Cross, there are characters that go through internal changes, and the author makes us see this, as well as the external conflicts.

    My final inspiration is Jean Clarkston. She writes for the Flint Journal, mostly in the Religion section. She is an older woman, who simply glows with God’s love. She has always encouraged me in my writing. I want to be here when I grow up.

  25. 25 Darren September 11, 2007 at 4:52 pm

    It’s hard to narrow down the list of my writing role models to just three. I have met so many writers in only this past year alone that have inspired me and taught me so much that there are almost too many to name.

    Near the top of the list, however, would definitely be the great and wonderful J. K. Rowling. Her Harry Potter series has had such an influence on not only what I read but how, and why, I write that if not for her, I’d not be the writer I am today. Her difficult past, from which she rose like a phoenix, has also been an incredible feat that I admire. My life isn’t all rainbows and butterflies, however much I sometimes wish it were, and seeing how far she’s come simply by following a dream is something more inspiring than watching the sun rise on a cool autumn morning. And, for me, that’s quite a lot.

    If I had to choose just two others, I would choose them from the great group of friends I have made at the Neopian Times Writers Forum. Tdyans and extreme_fj0rd are both incredible writers whose skill I admire immensely. Their assistance in helping me to write better and the advice they have given me to further my craft have been invaluable, and without them I’d certainly not be the writer I am today.

    (I’d also like to say that this is a wonderful website and contest you have here. And I’d also like to say that Erika from the Practicing Writer informed me of this. I’ve enjoyed answering your question today and I hope to answer many more. -Darren)

  26. 26 Dara September 11, 2007 at 4:56 pm

    My first role model is my mother who died when I was eleven. One of her dreams was to be a writer, which she really was because she wrote several stories that we found after her death. But she was never published. In my reflection of my mother’s life I think she bought into certain people’s opinions of who they thought she was and the dreams she shouldn’t have. One promise I have made myself is that I will not let other people hold me back from my dreams.
    My second role model is J.K. Rowling for a myriad of reasons, her style, her characters, the way she brings her stories to life and breathes freshness into writing again. But the main reason is because when she started out she was a single mother, like myself, and she didn’t let that hold her back from realizing her dreams.
    My third role model is Kasey Michaels for the way she writes. Her humor just grabs me and won’t let go until I turn that last page and then I want to get back in line for the ride all over again. I would LOVE to be able to write just one sentence half as good as she does.

  27. 27 SueMarie September 11, 2007 at 5:43 pm

    Who are your top three writing role models?

    Shirley Jackson. She had the whole package — she was a prolific, brilliant writer, a down-to-earth mom, and a truly original voice who ventured where few of her time, or gender, dared.

    Gina Ochsner. Another brilliant writer-mom. (I sense a theme here.) Gina has a knack for capturing beauty in the darkest of moments. She’s not afraid to write about the twisted bits of life, while simultaneously delivering miracles.

    Sarah Ban Breathnach. Another writer-mom who inspires me because she figured out how to write, and profitably market, her journey of self-discovery. What fun that must have been.

  28. 28 Stephanie September 11, 2007 at 6:16 pm

    I’m going to stretch the question just a bit and pick three dead authors and three living authors…

    Sheldon Vanauken for his intensely personal and deeply moving portrayals of love and faith

    C.S. Lewis for his intellectual and truth-filled compositions

    T.S. Eliot for his obscure, beautifully arranged poetry and his mastery of the English language

    Robin Jones Gunn for her fun style of writing – easy to read and enjoy

    Penelope Trunk for her catchy and controversial headlines and her ability to engage her audience so effectively

    Lauren Winner for her honest and well-crafted musings

  29. 29 Shawn September 11, 2007 at 6:21 pm

    I’d have to third or fourth Anna Quindlan here. I have been reading her and looking up to her for decades, even before I became a mother. I was inspired by her becoming the first woman to head the NYTimes OpEd pages. Her columns are smart and fun. I’ve heard her speak, read her novels, and love her small books like those she has printed from her graduation commencement speeches. Above all, she is my true-life writing hero.

    Virginia Woolf. She has been speaking to me from where ever she is since I studied everything she ever wrote in college. Her stream-of-consciousness writing style is perfect for my stream-of-consciousness thinking style. Plus, she was just magic with a pen. Doesn’t hurt that she was a rocking good feminist.

    It’s hard to pick a third. I’ve met so many wonderful writers through blogging. I just can’t find it in my heart to pick just one of them, but they all really, truly inspire me. From the already-authors, to the going-to-be authors, to those who aspire nothing more than just writing about the daily goings ons at home. It’s humbling, really, to see so many great unknown, or hardly known writers in one sitting some days.

    But, since you want a third: Stephen King. The man knows how to work the novel thing. And, his book, “On Writing” is fabulous.

  30. 30 Kris September 11, 2007 at 6:39 pm

    Good question. My first inspiration, as silly as it may sound, is Erma Bombeck. I belong to her humor writing organization now and am trying to figure out if I can afford to go to the conference in April. I just love that she was a career woman with children at home, that she made a success out of humorous essays, and that she seemed to enjoy life and bring joy to those around her.

    Second, is Anne Lamott. She just walks the line between hysterically funny and achingly poignant, her nonfiction works in particular inspire me to keep going deep and writing it down on the page.

    Third would have to be my kids. They give me lots of fodder, they inspire me to succeed in life and in my dreams and passions, and they remind me, daily, how fast life goes by. Seize the day, as they say.

  31. 31 Beth Browne September 11, 2007 at 6:54 pm

    In one of my early meetings with my beautiful and talented writer buddy, Alice Osborn (am I allowed to give her a plug? http://www.aliceosborn.com), she whipped out a rejection letter and plunked it on the table with a grin, saying, “I got a rejection!” I could feel my brain doing a 180 degree turn. I suddenly got it. The object of the game is to put the work out there. Getting published can be a side benefit, but putting the work out there is your primary goal. Alice was proud of her rejection letter because she had made the effort to put that work out there.

    Another writing buddy, Britt Kaufmann, (www.brittkaufmann.com) advised me to put LOVE stamps on my SASE’s so that when they came back, I would be giving myself love and appreciation for having made that submission, no matter what the result. Like Alice, Britt is also a stay-at-home mom, but Britt has three kids under the age of five. Whew. Both these amazing women inspire me.

    And then there is Anne Lamott, God love her. I don’t know any other writer who can literally make me belly laugh in one paragraph and cry in the next. I think she is just amazing. If I can be just a fraction as good as she is, I will be doing well.

  32. 32 tastycake September 11, 2007 at 7:38 pm

    Oohhh, gosh. Three writing role models, huh? Well, here goes nothing….

    1. M.T. Anderson. His work has proved to me that you can be, in my opinion, the best living author on earth and still not be widely known. His writing and his books are just so amazing in every way. His wit is scythe sharp and just… wow. I couldn’t say enough good things about him if I had a googol words instead of 50-300.

    2. Roald Dahl. I used to say he was, is, and always will be the best author ever, but now I have somewhat shifted my opinion to tie him with M.T. Anderson. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory will probably forever be my favorite book, though. Roald Dahl showed me (and the world at large) that it’s possible to have violent material in children’s literature that is overtly hilarious and not traumatic in any way.

    3. He’s not really a “writing” role model, per se, but I am continually in awe of Michael Stearns, an editorial director at HarperCollins. He and I have almost exactly the same taste, he is able to find good books like a prize pig is able to successfully root for truffles, and he is a kind and genuinely funny person.

  33. 33 Libby Miner September 11, 2007 at 7:38 pm

    Sebastian Junger–brillant, takes risks, great writer, works hard, gets the story. I wish I had his gut.

    Kevin Heath–my composition prof–definitely a struggling writer who had to work for a living too so he taught; he’s a proponent and lover of the personal essay and I hope he’s found blogging!

    Jane Austen–intuitive, funny, wrote engaging and universal stories that people still love to read and reproduce today–I love reading her!

  34. 34 Jenna Bayley-Burke September 11, 2007 at 7:45 pm

    I’m tagging Anne Lamott as well, for being so open with how hard it is, and that we still need to do it anyway.

    Romance author Trish Wylie has been helpful to me as well, giving me genre specific help.

    Anyone read Gail Carson Levine’s Writing Magic? I always admire the authors whose writing book I read last 🙂

  35. 35 Lea September 11, 2007 at 8:13 pm

    I’ve loved reading everyone’s favorites and can’t wait to check out some of the recommendations.

    My list is long, but here are three that I love:

    1. “The Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka is a book I was introduced to in high school and was completely fascinated by it. I remember reading it over and over again, trying to understand all the themes he was trying to cover.

    2. When I read “The Lovely Bones” by Alice Sebold I couldn’t put it down and many times found myself in tears. I’m eagerly awaiting her next book.

    3. Just recently, I’ve started reading blogs and my favorite writer so far (besides Christina Katz, of course!) is Heather Armstrong. She makes me laugh out loud and I can relate to so many of the things that she writes about.

  36. 36 Kathleen Ewing September 11, 2007 at 8:20 pm

    Vance Packard is a name from the past, but I admire him for daring to write about difficult topics during difficult times.

    Rachel Carson was viewed as an alarmist by many people when she wrote Silent Spring, yet a revisit to her work is like studying a scientific fact sheet for the world as it is today.

    James Herriot is my all-time favorite author, relating a gentler time and a simpler life in All Creatures Great and Small.

  37. 37 kimhaynes September 11, 2007 at 8:59 pm

    One of my role models is mystery novelist Jacqueline Winspear, who I met at a writers conference and who was very inspirational and helpful.

    My second role model is Jane Yolen, who wrote a terrific writers book – I can’t remember its title right now, but it was all about finding joy in your writing even in the face of rejection.

    My third role model is my husband, who was able to get himself out of a terrible non-writing job that he hated and into a full-time staff position as a journalist. He’s been a great support in my writing – I couldn’t do it without him!

  38. 38 Karen September 11, 2007 at 9:24 pm

    Holy cow, three? Not three of your favorite classical, or three of your favorite funny, or three of your favorite sci-fi, mystery or food network cookbooks? Three. The first two are easy. My aunt Marorie, just because she rocks. Her poetry and essays are the best I’ve ever read, and she was happy just to write them witout the expectation of them ever being read. Second, my great-grandmother. She journaled and put into book form her not-so fairy tale life for us all to read–talk about being brave. The third is a tie at the moment, only because I’ve reached for their books twice this week for a little pick-me up. Anne LaMott and Barbara Kingsolver. Thanks, ladies!

  39. 39 Laural Ringler September 11, 2007 at 9:30 pm

    Two close to home writing group pals and Barbara Kingsolver. One pal is a writer mama who sold her novel last year, has retained her grace and sense of humor throughout the process, and shares stories from her road to publishing. The other writer group pal has inspired me to keep a portfolio and make goals, as well introduced me to a local magazine where I’ve learned a lot and been published frequently in the last few years.

    Barbara Kingsolver’s writing makes me think about the world, helps me notice details, and somehow helps me believe I can write too.

  40. 40 Shonna September 11, 2007 at 9:39 pm

    Top three? I feel like I’m dissing all my other favorites.

    Okay, all time has to be L. M. Montgomery. One day I want to have my own timeless Anne character, maybe even a Gil.

    The next influential would be the three (I think—mostly 2 women, but I recall there was one or two written by a man) authors who wrote the Nancy Drew books. It was during this phase of my life that I started to dream for real about being a writer.

    Most recently influential (because I just finished reading it)—Lois Lowry. Her book “Looking Back: A Book of Memories” is a poignant read about a writer’s life.

  41. 41 Tammy E September 11, 2007 at 9:48 pm

    Egads this is hard. There are so many writing role models that I admire for so many different reasons that it is hard to pick the top three.

    Several of mine have been mentioned by others, but in the interest of trying to follow the rules, I’ll just pick three that I don’t believe have been mentioned yet.

    1. Harper Lee – because she wrote one helluva story that teaches so much about humanity over and over again. Gutsy lady.

    2. Dorothy Parker – because a girl’s just gotta have fun (and puns). What a great broad – I’d love to have her wit and guts. It’s always good to have a few one-liners and sharp come-backs in your repertoire.

    3. Carolyn See – Because her book “Making a Literary Life” is an inspirational blast that I re-read from time to time just for a kick in the fanny – she is brutally honest and fun and she’s another great broad. She too has guts.

    There you go: three brave and gutsy women that inspire me in many ways. I too hope to grow up to be a great broad someday.


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