From Sarah, With Joy

*Poet * Author * Wanderluster*

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Q is for Quintessential

Quintessential is one of my favorite words. When people/artists have a clear and relatable quintessence, they become the people that you can never forget, that you seem to be reminded of all the time.

What are some examples of quintessential? Long, seemingly endless codas are quintessential Beethoven. Crazy hair and bursting entrances are quintessential Kramer. Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong are quintessential jazz artists. Jane Austen is the quintessential romance novelist, and Steven King is the same for horror.

What do all these have in common? They are originators and very recognizable. You could recognize Kramer just by the way he twitches his shoulders, and know Louis' voice on the radio within a few notes. I think there are three things you have to do as an artist to become quintessential.

1) You have to stop trying to be anyone else.
2) You have to be a very strong version of yourself. That entails knowing who "you" is.
3) You have to not be afraid to try something new, break new ground.

We all have it in us to become one of "those" people, if we just keep working on it. So happy writing!

Sarah Allen


  1. So true. I horrically humorous. It's what I write.

  2. I had this word as one of my prompt suggestions, but avoided it, cos it is hard to write a story with such a word. You've managed a great post though :)

  3. Nice 'Q' post Sarah! Very few, if any, of us will become someone that strangers think of as the 'quintessential' anything...that would also entail becoming an icon in whatever art, or genre we choose, and although not impossible, it is unlikely. You're points are true! Everyone should strive to be the very best 'them' they can be and forget about trying to be anyone's the only way to achieve any kind of success I think..nice post, makes us think! You're always good at that! Peace.

  4. Nice post. I used Quintessence for my post as well today, but with a different meaning. :)

  5. You tackled the Q! Great post, and you gave Stephen King the Q award. I love this post for so many reasons. You. Are. So. Right. about what it takes to be quintessential!

  6. Great post! I feel a tingle of inspiration in my fingertips now. And that picture of Kramer freaking out doesn't hurt anything =)

  7. @Shelly: Sounds awesome! Still trying to figure out my quintessence, but I'm getting closer.

    @Damy: Q is a hard one :)

    @Eve: I think you're right, it is a long shot and takes a lot of stars aligning, but we definitely won't make it if we don't try.

    @Sarah: Thanks! Its a good word.

    @Dana: Thanks so much :) I'm glad you agree.

    @Allison: Haha :) Indeed, Kramer doesn't hurt. Not at all, not at all :)

  8. Great post, and brilliant if our work can be quickly put into a well known category that accurately sums up what we do.

  9. i love your three tips for being the quintessential artist. id have to add "make everything count" to the list.

  10. Great post. Makes you stop and think, what am I quintessential at?

  11. Lovely post! Something every writer (and soul) should consider.

    Plus, I like anything with a "Q." ;)

  12. This is great advice for everyone, especially authors.

  13. Great 'Q' word, chosen by many, but defined differently each time.

  14. "You have to be a very strong version of yourself. That entails knowing who "you" is. "

    Trying to do this now!, but didn't know how to describe it. Thanks for the insight!

  15. "Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken." -Oscar Wilde


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