For me, my favorite writer and the writer that means the most to me have the same answer: JK Rowling (surprise surprise!).
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I started reading JK Rowling years and years ago. I loved her (who didn't?) but I wouldn't say she meant the most to me. She hadn't affected me in a deep level yet.
That came years later, when I was going through a tough time and I just didn't know what I could do. How could I get out of the feeling I felt? How could I release whatever I was feeling? I'd been reading for a long time before that and dabbled a bit in poetry and short stories, but nothing serious at all. Writing was a conscious decision for me; I looked at JK Rowling and thought, "I could write myself out of this darkness." So I wrote. And I wrote. One of the most deeply autobiographical novels I've written (and so, the worst novel I've written). But it was necessary. I needed to see myself on the page, have the character go through what I was and through the character's emotions and actions, release my same frustrations.
It helped. More than I can say. I'm scared to think what state or situation I'd be in if I did not have JK Rowling. She showed me writing could be my greatest form of expression because without expressing myself, I was on a sure path to implosion. In me, she sparked the journey to become a writer, one of the (if not the) best gifts a stranger has ever given me -- and much greater than most gifts I've received from people I know. She means so much to me because she has changed my life for the better. I am a writer because of her. Whether I would have been a writer without her, I'm not sure. Maybe I would have, who knows? But at that crucial time, she was there for me. She set off something so deep in me because much of my present life revolves around writing. Some of my long-term goals are writing-related. And she sparked it. I'm a changed person because of her.
Writing and writers can create revolutions in people. Now I want to know which writer means the most to you. Is it a writer like Jo Rowling? Is it a family member? Friend? Anyone, I'd love love to know.
(If you're participating in the query contest Nightmare on Query Street (please do, it's amazing!) the answer to this question will be your submission to a free pass from me! If I pick your comment as the one I loved the most, you'll automatically skip the dreaded slush pile and have a spot on the SC Spooks - my team. If you're submitting for the free pass, please just say "Free Pass" before you start your answer because I'd love to hear from writers not submitting to NoQS as well! If you're not submitting for the free pass, just don't mention "Free Pass" in your comment :) I'll pick the answer that is most in depth, personal, honest, meaningful, etc. as my winner but I'll probably end up picking in a very subjective manner; you guys always have amazing answers. What'll raise your chances is if you Tweet out your answer to this question, add #NoQS, link to this post, and mention me @SC_Author! It won't guarantee a spot (and is definitely not a requirement) but if things are close, I'll look into Tweets. Deadline is October 4th, I'll announce the winner on the Monday after! Visit Michelle's and Mike's (he might have his up soon) blogs for their passes.)
So how about it? Which writer means the most to you?