Friday, January 15, 2010

Status Seekers versus Storytellers

New Year's Resolution tracking
Writing progress:  Back to the brewing...waiting for another writing explosion
Weight progress:  Down a bit...time to keep up the good eating habits and exercise!
Reading progress:  Took the night off.

Good morning! 

Wow...there's something about a Friday morning...atleast for those of us that still have everyday jobs...that is just hard to describe.  It just feels good.  I wake up smiling, knowing tomorrow, if all goes well, will be a day to sleep in and not be awoken by the dreaded alarm.  Speaking of sleep - as you all know stranger Johnny called at 1 and 2 am the night before...well last night (this morning rather) my alarm went off at midnight.  I hit snooze twice not wanting to get out of bed before realizing it wasn't time for work quite yet.  And when you wake up like this, the world is generally fuzzy...not yet making sense.  I had to check my cell phone not once, not twice, but three times to make sure I could REALLY go back to sleep.  Apparently my toddler somehow turned on the "B" alarm in addition to my "A" alarm that goes off at 5:45.  Nice.  You would think when I woke up this morning it would be obvious it wasn't the right time...but not so much.  There was much confusion before I finally let myself fall back to sleep.  So....I'm going on two nights of interrupted wonder I'm so glad it's finally Friday.

As for Starbuck's guy and his "Random stranger that made me smile" award I frequently give out...I decided yesterday morning that he deserves to keep it.  Sure, finding the courage to go back was tough for me and he surely didn't make it easy.  (When I got to the window he told me he was trying to behave and that it was hard being dark chocolate...seriously...I can't make this kind of weird stuff up.)  But it was funny, I smiled, we both laughed and I went on my way.  But as I did so I pondered this - would it be more enjoyable for me to have a typical and normal experience every day or is his jolly good, sometimes off the wall humor, along with a big smile...more of a nugget of uniqueness in my day to day normal ho-hum life?  I obviously went with the latter.  He's having a good time. makes me a bit uncomfortable at times...but it also gives me something to talk about and he has a fun spirit that doesn't deserve to be quieted by the likes of me.  So we will most likely continue our odd and awkward banter.

BUT what I really wanted to post about today was something I read in the beginning of "The Fire in Fiction" book that I thought was interesting and thought provoking.  The author categorizes writers into two categories:  Status Seekers and Storytellers.  He goes on to explain that it's tough to tell at first which category a writer will fall into and only after they have become published and have some sort of a career does it normally become more obvious.  Status Seekers have a desire to be published while Storytellers have a passion to spin stories.

It's an interesting thing he points out because I see his point in how these two very different groups will end up reacting to criticism/failure/doubt, etc...

The status seekers become more frustrated as the process goes on while the storytellers seem to look within to correct their product, desiring to make it the best they possibly can and knowing the change has to happen with their own manuscript.  He writes this about when rejections arrive and how the two groups may react:  "Status seekers grow frustrated.  They decide that landing an agent is a matter of timing or luck.  Storytellers may be understandably bewildered at this stage but recognize that something is missing from their writing.  They resolve to do something about it."

I love this section so much I am tempted to go on and on but you'll just have to pick up a copy and read it for a writer it's very thought provoking.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with either category but the storyteller's will definitely have a more fulfilling and longer career in publishing than the status seekers.  I'm not doing nearly as good of a job describing these two sets as Donald Maass does in the book, but hopefully you can see what he's trying to say.

I don't necessarily agree with his whole argument because most of us are more likely a blend of the two.  However, I like the subject he brings up and it makes me ponder myself as a writer.  Why do I write?  What motivates me?  Sure...we would all love to see our name on the NY times bestseller's list but is that why we write?  I think for most of us the answer is no.  Do I ever see myself actually making money or profit from writing?  Not really.  I have always written because I enjoy it.  I want others to read it but it's not my purpose in telling a story.  Until recently I had never even tried to become published.  So I believe in that respect I am much more of a storyteller.  But then there's the side of me that gets caught up with seeing my name on a cover, wanting to write more, do more, etc... that I lose track of why I do this writing in the first place.  Because I enjoy it and it fulfills me in a way I can't quite explain.

So think today...why is it you do what you do?  What motivates you?  What kind of a writer will you be once you get rejections and how will you handle them? 

Moving on because I'm running out of time - I also wanted to mention that I loved the music I listened to yesterday but Evanescence was by far the best.  I'm an addict.  I already had a song or two on my IPOD but the album was just as amazing.  I may have to buy another.  So thank you Eva for this suggestion!

Happy Friday all!!!




  1. Toddlers are the best. Ah, so sweet and cuddly AND into everything!

    I love Friday too. The longing for Saturday make Friday oh so bearable.

    “why is it you do what you do?” Right now it just to write something that my entertain someone.

  2. I used to have a starbucks guy too! He would make me laugh EVERY morning on the way to work... Sometimes it was uncomfortable, because he'd take things so far... But I was so entertained :-)

    If I'm honest, I'm definitely a combination of both status seeker and storyteller. Though I definitely feel more of the latter. The "status seeker" part has come more in recent years... But I believe I'm more of a storyteller at heart, because I have TONS of stories from younger years that I wrote just because I had to write...

    That book sounds cool, I may have to check it out!

  3. I think about that when I watch American Idol. You see the people who take it really hard and most of them do because their dream is to become famous more than just wanting to sing.
    I don't need to be Stephen King--but a little bit of money for doing what i like would be sweet! LOL

  4. Great post, Kristi. I think it's inevitable at some point to ask ourselves: what are we writing for?

    For me, I started writing because A)a great idea popped into my head and I couldn't get those voices out (crazy...probably). And B) in all the published books out there, I couldn't find any of them that resembled "my story", the one I wanted to read. So I decided to write it myself. And I loved every moment of it. I'm hooked (I have a very addictive personality.)

    I hope you have a great weekend and enjoy your Starbucks (I'm drooling...White Chocolate Mocha...YUM!)

  5. I'm a blend of the two. Being creative is lovely, of course, but paying the bills also has its joys. Trust me, receiving royalty cheques is a pleasant experience that hasn't dampened my creativity one little bit!


  6. Thanks for visiting my accounting blog! I have a real blog too. Y'know, writing. Not that accounting isn't fun or anything.

  7. Even if we are a mix of the two I think he has a point in saying that some people are in it for the love of the craft and some are in it for the status. I think if you don't love it, you can't suceed because the industry will destroy you first.

  8. Hi Kristi!

    Thanks so much for following me :) I love how you call your followers "a collection of mini heads". That made me laugh out loud!

    This post is great thought material. Why do we write? Excellent question to ponder. I think it's all about balance. Isn't everything :)

    Have a wonderful weekend! It's great to meet you and I look forward to visiting as often as I can.


  9. Hi Kristi,

    I discovered your blog through MotherReader's comment challenge. I absolutely love your post; I enjoyed your analysis about the storyteller and the status seeker.

    Why do I do what I do? I'll try to keep this answer short. I'm from Africa, and in my tribe there is a long oral tradition of storytelling, so I kind of bathed in it ever since I was a child, and I love stories--reading them, seeing them unfold on a stage, and writing them.I worked with children in crisis and experienced what a powerful healing tool they can be as well.

    Why I do what I do? Some stories take a life of their own: they won't leave you alone until you tell me... For me it's also like a fire burning from the inside. I get passionate about the story, and I have to write it, I want to share it with others, with the hope that people have as much fun as I had with it...

    Oops, sorry for the long answer. :D Nice meeting you!

  10. You've won your second award!!

  11. Thanks to all of you for the comments...they have honestly MADE my day!!!

    Southpaw - aren't toddlers the best? Atleast when they are at home and not screaming as I shop at a store (we had a rough weekend with that!)

    Sara - glad I'm not the only one with a starbucks guy!!! I'm trying to be entertained instead of awkward! And I'm a mixture of both as well!

    Jennifer - I'm with you on American Idol. What surprises me are the people that are completely amazing and yet humble. Touches me every time. And I agree - money for what you love is a VERY nice thing indeed. I hope to be there someday!

    Kimberly - you and me both on the addictive personality!!! And now I want a white chocolate mocha..thanks!

    Elspeth - I cannot wait to one day receive a royalty cheque! It may not be why I do what I do..but how nice would that be???

    Monique - I need to check out your writing blog!!! I mean, us accountants are a barrel of laughs but isn't writing much more fun?

    Eva - Lovely thought and right on target. I agree 100%!

    Jen - Right back at you! I love meeting new fellow bloggers! Thanks for visiting!

    Nathalie - Wow! Thanks for your comments and visits! Truly amazing! By the way - I LOVE long answers!!!

    Kristin - I am so excited! Will check it out now!