1 Writer, 10 Heads

I am 1 writer, but often find I am in need of more heads.  In fact, most of the time I need about 10.  Why not hats?  Wearing different hats implies that changing a hat alone will suffice. Does putting a fireman’s hat on make me a fireman? No, and it would probably fall down over my eyes anyways! Changing heads requires a major shift in thinking and approaches to different situations.

Which brings me to the  Land of Oz.

Before the MGM version of the Wizard of Oz burst onto the movie scene in 1939, Baum had written fifteen Oz stories. One of these novels entitled, Ozma of Oz, is about Dorothy, a hen named Billina, and a very intelligent robot named Tik-Tok.  Along the way they have a run in with the Princess of Langwidere.  This particular princess has thirty heads which she interchanges at will.  Most people wake up in the morning and put on new clothes.  Princess Langwidere just changes her head.  Each head has a different look, hair, eye color, etc. and  also comes with individual personalities and specialties.

Princess Langwidere

Oh that I had Princess Langwidere’s heads!

Author Heads

Brainstormer Head, comes up with great ideas for stories.  Right now I have several in progress, The Smith Family Secret and a story about a boy genius.  I also have two brewing; a futuristic princess story and a novel about a mystery town. All of these stories swim around in my head and emerge at different points in the day.  Most of the time I try to jot my ideas down right away so I don’t forget them, but sometimes I just have to file the idea away for later.

Writer Head, actually sits down and writes and writes and writes.  Recently, I heard some good advice passed on from a fellow critique group member who said that the best way to write was to just get it all out in whatever form it lands and edit later.  This is actually my process (phew!) and I find I always end up with more than I need, or when I go back the holes are pretty obvious.  This writer head also needs something that is a great gift to us all: time and writing without distractions.

Editor Head, goes back and edits everything the writer head took care of.  But this head looks with different eyes.  It fills in the gaps, fixes the grammar, creates a better metaphor and hopefully cleans everything up.

Layout Editor Head, puts together the files for self publishing, something I talked quite a bit about in Self Publishing in the Land of Oz Part II.

Marketer Head, something Carol talked about in her last post, Let the Marketing Begin, and something that any author, self published or otherwise has to contend with.  I think out of everything this head will be the most difficult for me. (Thanks, Carol, for some great ideas.) Right now I’m working on a workshop to bring to local libraries called, “Moving Pictures! The ‘Secret’ to making your drawings come to life!”

Illustrator Head, is learning how to use Sketchbook Pro with a drawing tablet and mapping out a story board for a story called Little Bird.

Critiquer Head, goes to critique groups and attempts to be as helpful as possible to fellow writers, while prepping for my own submissions.

Avid Book Reader Head, keeps up with new releases, classics and everything in between, from picture books to adult lit. It always helps to stay in the loop.

Social Networker Head takes care of my Twitter account, Pinterest and Facebook along with writing for a blog (Yea Writers’ Rumpus!) which really could be an entirely different head, The Blogger Head, because it requires yet another skill set.

That’s… 10 Heads already and I know this list is not complete. It also doesn’t include all of the other heads I wear during the day as a teacher or as a spouse.

Every night I sit down at the computer for an hour or two and have to choose which head to put on.  Do I plan a lesson for tomorrow’s third grade art class or do I edit the book I’m looking to self-publish next?  Do I start chapter 1 of a book I’ve had brewing for ages or do I write query letters for agents? Do I use those two hours and go to the gym or take the dog for a walk or do I spend some time connecting with people on Twitter?

I have decided to whittle my writer heads down a bit for now and edit Book 2 of The Smith Family Secret while marketing Book 1.

If you had a few extra heads, how would you use them?  Princess Langwidere had 30 heads to choose from. Feel free to add some more heads to the Writers’ Rumpus!


  1. I would probably want something called a “famous author head” so I could be as clever and artistic as someone like Mo Willems. Then again, I think I’ll just be happy with my own familiar head. Interesting post, Alison!


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