In the writing community, I see the insecurities of writers abound. The great thing is, we’re not alone in our struggles. But I want to talk about the most dangerous pitfall writers can fall into, and that’s comparing yourself to other writers.
For some of us, writing is a passion, a fiery desire to create short stories, poems, fiction, non-fiction — it doesn’t matter what, the desire is the same. And for those of us with this passion, we will continue to be pulled to writing until we give in. And nothing is quite as satisfying as giving in to what you love.
For others of you, there are other reasons you’re pulled to writing. Perhaps it’s a challenge to conquer, perhaps you wish to write to preserve the memory of someone you love, or to share your family’s history with future generations, or to persuade and inform people about a cause. Regardless of what brought us to the point where we want to write, we’re here together.
As a community of writers, we have the ability to help each other. But creative desire can be snuffed out by self-doubt. And one of the most harmful types can come from reading the work of other writers and feeling our own work isn’t good enough in comparison.
The best advice I can give fellow writers is when you find yourself doing this, being bogged down by self-doubt on whether your work is good enough, allow for a slight mind shift. Let the work that you’re envious of inspire you. Decide that you want your voice out there too. And if it really is a matter of another writer being better at the craft, examine their work. Determine what it is that you like, and then figure out how they do it. For example, if it’s character development, think about how they give you information about the character and why the character is appealing to you. You can always learn new things to improve your writing.
Your best work now, will not be the best in six months, or a year from now. So write, learn, grow, and then let it go and move on to the next piece.