It came to me while I was moving a bookcase across the room in my younger daughter’s room: what I want to be is the Stephen King of children’s and young adult books. But without writing horror, or the roadside accident, or living in Maine. Oh, and I’ll need a time machine to go back about thirty years because I’ve gotten kind of a late start on this.
I’ve looked at the literary side of writing and, while I would long to see myself among the shelves of classics in the field, I just don’t think I can wrap my mind around the twinned ability of crafting a good story and telling it artfully. I want to, desperately, I do. I want to write that book that people go “Wow, how the hell did anyone ever think of that?!” but I’m afraid all I’m going to muster is “Yeah, that was pretty good.”
I consider this an improvement in my mental health. I have supplanted the fears that I cannot write, that I don’t deserve to be published, and that I’ll never make it with a reluctance acceptance that I may never achieve a masterpiece.
Which is not to say that Stephen King hasn’t written masterworks and achieved a popularity even literary writers who would like to look down their noses at him would envy.
It was never the goal to be like any one writer, or to achieve a certain level of status (and sales), it was and is simply the desire to tell stories that people like. For someone with my general level of impatience, I guess I wish I’d realized what I wanted to do much sooner.