Reasons why you shouldn’t compare yourself to other writers.
We have all been there.
You are reading a novel, short story, blog post, or whatever. Then…
Panic sets in. You start to feel intimidated.
“Oh God. My writing could never be that good.”
“I will never be able to write like that.”
“My writing pales in comparison to that.”
Whatever your version of this scenario is. We writers have all been there at one time or another.
We can’t help but compare our self to other writers. We want to make sure we are good enough or that our writing measures up to other writers. We sometimes wonder if our writing is any good at all.
How do I know this?
Because I have been there many times myself. In fact I am there right now; as this is my first blog post. And believe me, many of these thoughts are racing through my mind right now. Wondering if my blog post is as good as some of the others I have read out there. Or if it is any good at all.
However, as I’m sure many of you already know; you have to go forward despite your fears or you will never get anywhere or do anything. I have discovered that it is perfectly normal to have these feelings of fear, as most of us do. But you cannot let fear stop you from going forward. If you are experiencing feelings of fear, do not try to push it away. Just allow the fear to be there and go forward and take action anyway. If you try to get rid of the fear it will only make things worse. Let yourself experience the fear and take action anyway despite the fear.
Constantly comparing yourself to others can be counterproductive to your own writing. You will not write like anyone else. You are unique and your writing is as unique as your thumbprint. And like thumbprints; no two writers are alike!
Perhaps Shakespeare said it best. “To Thine Own Self Be True.” There is nothing wrong with gaining idea’s, information, and knowledge from other authors and writers. After all, this is part of how we learn our craft. However, you do not want your writing to be like or sound like anyone else’s writing. Your writing is an expression of who you are. It is an expression of your own unique voice. If you are a fiction writer, nobody can tell a story quite like you can. The same holds true for non-fiction writers. Even if there are many books published in your category, you can still express yourself on that topic differently than other authors have. You can put your own unique slant on the subject.
Your experience is unique.
Nobody can tell your story like you can because your experience has been different from everybody else’s experience. Even when we do share similar experiences with others; it is our perception of those experiences that make us different and unique. Our perception of events is different from everyone else’s perceptions. Our life experiences often shape our perceptions of our world and the events that occur in our world. And since your experience is never exactly like anyone else’s experience; your perception of an event will differ from other people’s perception of the same event. You can give the same story idea to 1,000 people; and that same story idea will have 1,000 different outcomes. This is due to our unique experiences and perspectives on life events.
You tell a story form your own unique point of view. If you and another writer share the same story idea, you will each tell the story from you own POV (point of view). Have you ever watched a movie and said that you would have done things differently? You would have had the main characters behave differently or do things differently. The movie would have had a different ending if it were up to you. Or even the whole movie would have been done differently if you were the one who made the movie. All of this comes down to POV. The person who did make the movie is telling it from his/her own unique POV. This point is so very important. It is important to tell a story from you own POV.
It’s true. Maybe you couldn’t write a story like the author of that novel or blog post you read. But, guess what? Neither can that author write a novel or blog post like you can; because you each have your own unique voice. Neither author is better or worse than the other. They each just have their own unique point of view. All writers are different. It’s a matter of preference. Some people will prefer your writing to another authors writing; and some will prefer another authors style of writing to your style of writing.
What is important is that you be true to your own writing. You cannot and should not try to write in a manner that will try to please everybody. First of all you will not please everybody no matter what you do or how well you do it. There will always be someone who doesn’t like what you write no matter how good it is or how well written it is.
Just be true to yourself. That is what will make you a good writer. When you write from your own truth and experience. As with any art form; writing is an expression of yourself. An expression of your soul.
What has been your experience with comparing yourself to other writers/authors? And in what ways have you dealt with it? I welcome your comments.