Posted On October 24, 2011 by Print This Post

Kelly L. Stone – Role Modeling as a Way to Writing Success

Author KELLY L. STONE discusses how to tap into your subconscious mind in today’s post. Kelly will also be giving away a 15-page critique (any genre) to one of today’s commenters!

One of the ways to use the power of your subconscious mind to help you achieve your writing goals is to give it a “template” to follow, or a guide in the form of a Role Model that your conscious mind recognizes and understands. To do this, choose an author who has achieved the type of success you are going for and work to emulate the traits and habits of that author as best you can. Following in another’s footsteps gives you a guide for your own daily behavior as well as guideposts for your writing and writing career.

Role modeling is not copying another person or trying to be their clone; it’s simply using the qualities of another writer you admire as a touchstone to keep you moving ahead toward your own success.

When using Role Modeling, select traits and qualities in another writer that you admire and use those as a springboard for your own behaviors. Choose behaviors, attitudes, work habits, and other elements of another writer’s life that represent success to you and strive to emulate these things in your own way. It’s not necessary to know your Role Model personally; for instance, many authors post their writing schedules and their own paths to success on their websites, or in their books. Read these, and then pick out the habits and success traits of your Role Model that you want to emulate.

Let me give you an example. Several years ago I attended a large writing conference. Many attendees were wearing buttons with WWND? inscribed on them. I asked what the acronym stood for and was told it meant “What would Nora do?” meaning what would bestselling author Nora Roberts do. These button wearing aspiring authors were using the ideal of Nora Roberts as a touchstone for their own behaviors and actions as they strove toward their own writing success. For instance, when they didn’t feel like writing, the button reminded them to ask themselves what Nora Roberts would do when she didn’t feel like writing. The answer of course is that she probably writes no matter how she feels. And so forth.

In a similar way, you are working to pick an author you admire and ask yourself “What would Author X do?” It’s a good way to stay focused on your daily and long term writing goals.

A Composite Writer

An easy way to use Role Modeling is to create a composite writer. You probably have several authors that you admire; simply combine the traits and habits that these successful authors possess and strive to emulate those.

Perhaps you learned from Author X when you heard her speak at a conference that she writes Monday through Friday and takes weekends off to be with her family. So the habit of writing five days per week would be something that you want to incorporate into your composite writer Role Model. Maybe you read that Author Y was rejected three hundred times before he sold his first novel. The trait that you would want to list on your ideal composite might be persistence, or tenacity, or believing in self.

This ideal composite represents the type of writer you’re trying to become. It gives you a springboard to use as a jumping off point for your own success by guiding and directing your thoughts, feelings, and behavior. This version of Role Modeling is a great tool for both aspiring and established authors because it allows you to take traits and habits from several writers and incorporate those into your own writing lifestyle.

For more information on the many uses of Role Modeling to achieve writing success, refer to Chapter 8 in LIVING WRITE: The Secret to Bringing Your Craft Into Your Daily Life.


Who is your Role Model and what traits or habits of that author will you start emulating in your writing life?

Be sure to join us Wednesday when best selling author LUCY MONROE discusses writing for visceral impact.



Kelly L. Stone ( is a licensed mental health counselor and writer. Her women’s fiction novel, GRAVE SECRET (Mundania Press, September 2007) was called “powerful” by RT Book Reviews. She is also the author of the TIME TO WRITE series of craft books for writers; the latest in the series is LIVING WRITE: The Secret to Bringing Your Craft Into Your Daily Life (Adams Media, September 2010).

Similar Posts:

Share Button

Craft of Writing


63 Responses to “Kelly L. Stone – Role Modeling as a Way to Writing Success”

  1. Kelly, thanks so much for joining us again at RU!

    Although I have several authors I study, there are two somewhat new authors I find myself following around the internet (and not in a weird stalker-ish way!). These authors are fun and engaging. They write historical romance that is outside the norm and/or they have a strong suspense element. Both these authors came out of the gate running and appear to be enjoying a measure of success. And they’re just darn nice ladies.

    My role models are Anna Campbell and Joanna Bourne.

    Posted by Tracey Devlyn | October 24, 2011, 4:52 am
  2. Hi Kelly,

    The power of positive thinking is imaging yourself in the best place. Athletes use this to get themselves through tough games. I try to see my success and work my way back to it.

    Mary Jo

    Posted by Mary Jo Burke | October 24, 2011, 5:39 am
  3. Hi, Kelly. Wonderful post. I think the power of positive thinking goes a long way. Every night before I go to sleep, I try to envision something related to successful writing. I find it gives me a goal and I wake up feeling positive.

    Plus, it helps to get rid of the negativity!

    Posted by Adrienne Giordano | October 24, 2011, 6:32 am
  4. Okay, this is weird. I hope my computer isn’t acting up – I was halfway through writing a comment and it just…vanished. *Play Twilight Zone theme here*

    I’m going to give it another shot, but first I want to make sure this posts okay.

    Posted by Becke Davis (Becke Martin) | October 24, 2011, 6:36 am
  5. Kelly – Thank you so much for a fabulous post! I have a lot of role models, and Nora Roberts is one of them. I keep adding more – not only because I love the way these authors write, but because of the way they interact with their readers AND because they are so helpful to other writers, even struggling un-published writers.

    Here’s a partial list of authors who impress me with their generosity (of time, knowledge, etc.):

    Jennifer Crusie
    Suzanne Brockmann
    Anna Campbell
    Eloisa James
    Brenda Novak
    Mary Kennedy
    Dianne Castell
    Kristan Higgins
    Virginia Kantra
    Lani Diane Rich
    Lucy Monroe
    Lori Foster
    Monica Burns
    Toni McGee Causey
    Darynda Jones…

    I could go on and on!

    Posted by Becke Davis (Becke Martin) | October 24, 2011, 6:43 am
    • Hi Becke!

      Wow! That’s quite a list! 🙂 For the purposes of this exercise, you’d want to try and narrow it down a tad, say to 3 or 4, and create some composite habits you want to emulate. Then move on to your others when you have new habits you want to incorporate.

      Thanks for your comment,

      Posted by Kelly L Stone | October 24, 2011, 11:35 am
  6. I just want to mention that I won a critique from Kelly recently, and it was VERY helpful! Whoever wins Kelly’s 15-page critique today is one lucky writer!

    Posted by Becke Davis (Becke Martin) | October 24, 2011, 6:45 am
  7. Great post Kelly!

    I love Nora Roberts/J.D.Robb & Laurell K. Hamilton stories and admire how prolific both ladies are, also author Jay Lake who rights about 2K words a day on most days despite dealing with cancer. I want to be able produce like them.

    Also, I can be shy, esp. when promoting my upcoming novella (THE DJINN’S DILEMMA out NOV. 1). So I try to emulate friends who’ve already done this and been successful like Adrienne Giordano and Rebecca Zanetti.

    Posted by SpiceBites/Mina Khan | October 24, 2011, 7:28 am
  8. Great post Kelly!

    I have a journal and I spend time everyday writing and/or thinking about my goals for my writing career.

    My role models are Sherrilyn Kenyon, Jill Shalvis, and Jo Davis.


    Posted by Robin Covington | October 24, 2011, 7:45 am
  9. Thanks for the excellent advice! I’ve never considered doing this but it sounds like a great motivator. I think I’m going to spend a couple of hours today researching my favorite authors and see what I come up with.

    Posted by Juliette Springs | October 24, 2011, 7:55 am
  10. I write romance and I’ve never read a Stephen King book so it might sound odd when I say he is my role model.
    I had a real light bulb moment when he explained the writer – reader relationship as a form of telepathy. He also maintains all stories exist already. Like complex, delicate fossils, they lie buried underground, awaiting careful extraction. I love that!

    Posted by Gina Rossi | October 24, 2011, 8:01 am
  11. Oh man, role modeling sounds so much better than internet stalking, which is what I feel like I’ve been doing with Lori Foster for oh, I don’t’ know, forever. 🙂 Also, Janet Evanovich. Her How I Write was a great inspirational kick in the pants.

    Posted by Avery Flynn | October 24, 2011, 8:18 am
  12. What an interesting post, Kelly! And something I never thought of till I read it. We’re always told to read, read, read other authors and take what we can from their work, but it makes just as much sense to learn from the habits that make them so successful, too!

    The two authors that come to mind first are Janet Evanovich (early in the Stephanie Plum series), and JD Robb (who I know is Nora Roberts, but I’ve never read a Nora Roberts novel). Which is funny, because I don’t write mysteries, but I sure love and admire the work these ladies generate!

    Posted by Linda F. | October 24, 2011, 8:25 am
  13. morning Kelly! =)

    My personal role models are Nora Roberts and Janet Evanovich, both of whom have said to treat writing like a job. Unfortunately I’m a bad role follower! Writing seems to be last on my list, only done when I’m finally caught up with all other work. I need to reaffirm my goals!

    thanks for a great post – hopefully it’ll get me off my rear!



    Posted by Carrie Spencer | October 24, 2011, 9:52 am
  14. Kelly –

    You know we always love having you at RU! I love this idea of creating a composite role model. Instead of assuming one writer has an answer to the “right way” to structure her work and career, we can choose to take the best and most fitting parts from several writers.

    I love your book Time to Write and need to add it back to by TBR pile for the second time.

    Any hints for us on who your role models are? 🙂


    Posted by KelseyBrowning | October 24, 2011, 9:56 am
    • Kelsey – I recommend Kelly’s book THINKING WRITE, too!

      Posted by Becke Martin/Davis | October 24, 2011, 11:03 am
    • Hi Kelsey!

      Thanks for having me back here at RU– always a pleasure.

      Some of my role models are Sherrilyn Kenyon, Dianna Love, and Eloisa James.

      In TIME TO WRITE, there are a lot of hints about the 104 professional writers I interviewed work habits, schedules, how they got published, how they overcome writer’s block, etc. Anyone needing some guidance on this issue can start there for some help.

      All the best,

      Posted by Kelly L Stone | October 24, 2011, 11:45 am
  15. Hey, Kelly! Fancy seeing you over here. 🙂 (And with Paige coming Friday, does that make this the Gulf Coast Chapter week here?)

    I haven’t given much thought to a writing role model, but since the RWA PRO retreat in 2009, I’ve held something Madeline Hunter said close to my heart. To paraphrase, if you want to be a published author, write like a published author, and know they have to crank out a book every seven months.
    I’m not at a book every seven months yet (we’ll blame the baby 😉 ), but I’m getting closer.


    Posted by Jamie Farrell | October 24, 2011, 12:32 pm
  16. Hi Kelly,

    I think you really hit it on the head. To survive in this business you totally have to keep your eyes on the success stories. This is just taking it one step farther and getting it to work for you.

    As for my role models, I think Lisa Kleypas would be at the top of my list for Romances. I totally stalk her online in an attempt to understand where that understated emotionality in her writing comes from. After meeting her at Nationals this year I see that it comes from her. She’s just like her writing sweet, calming and real 🙂

    Now modelling that behavior might be harder than waking up at 4am to write like she does!


    Posted by Sonali | October 24, 2011, 1:45 pm
  17. Hi Kelly,

    Terrific post. If I could afford to hole up in a hotel room to write, I would! I don’t have any role model authors, but I try to write every day, even if it means working on a different ms.

    Thanks so much for being with us.

    Posted by Jennifer Tanner | October 24, 2011, 4:10 pm
  18. Hi Kelly! Thanks for such a great post. I think I’m going to find this approach really helpful.

    I really admire prolific authors like Nora Roberts and Jayne Ann Krentz who still put out well written and enjoyable stories. I want to make it a habit to write every day, even when I don’t feel like it.

    Posted by Tara S | October 24, 2011, 4:54 pm
  19. Thanks so much for this post. I heard Eloisa James speak at a conference a few weeks ago and she said something very similar. I particularly liked how you mentioned following the habits of popular writers. Those writers have a gift, but they’re also dedicated to their craft through hard work.

    Stephen King’s On Writing was a breakthrough for me as well. Karen White also spoke at my conference. Because she writes two books a year (!!), she talked about using every extra 5 minutes for writing, like bringing her laptop in the car while she waited to pick up her kids for school. That’s dedication!
    Thanks so much. Your book sounds great.

    Posted by Larissa Hoffman | October 24, 2011, 5:24 pm
  20. Steve Berry.
    I went to a writing conference of his and even though I don’t read his genre (at least I didn’t before the conference), his generosity, warmth, communication skill and understanding of writing made me a life long fan.
    I love the idea of “channeling” him. His talk was not only informative on the craft of writing, it was superlative on the craft of being a thankful human being!
    Who knew I would get so much for one price.
    Thanks for the blog.

    Posted by Ellen Martin | October 24, 2011, 6:45 pm
  21. Check back to find out which commenter is the winner of Kelly’s 15-page critique!

    Posted by Becke Martin/Davis | October 24, 2011, 9:25 pm
  22. Kelly, thank you so much for such a helpful blog. And thanks so much for responding to our questions and comments, too!

    Posted by Becke Martin/Davis | October 24, 2011, 9:26 pm
  23. Thanks for having me here at RU! Juliette Springs is the winner of the critique! Thanks for stopping by Juliette.


    Posted by Kelly L Stone | October 25, 2011, 6:22 am

Reply to Juliette Springs

Upcoming Posts

  • Feb 23, 2018 No More Fat Shaming! with Kris Bock





Follow Us