Have you ever felt inadequate and beaten while reading someone else’s write-up? Have you ever felt that person’s writing is better than yours?
Writers read a lot and it is interesting to know that as they read other writers works, especially, works of well-established writers, they do so to learn from their work and become better writers themselves. It is possible for a writer during the wonderful moments of reading to learn, to also compare his or her work with what he or she is reading.
When I began reading Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half Of A Yellow Sun, I found out I was such a poor writer. I noticed that what people say about my writing was not true. I was nowhere to be found laid side by side with Adichie. I got so tiny in her imagery and literally disappeared in the captivating and thrilling way she tells her story. Not only her work but also works of other great authors.
This happened for a long time that I stopped writing all my stories because I felt they belonged to the bottom part of the refuse dump. They didn’t measure up at all – “low standard” became the issue.
I put my weiting on hold to master the writing art of these well known authors. But you know what, I found out I couldn’t write like them. I couldn’t write like Adichie and I couldn’t writer like Achebe and the rest of them. But I can only write like me.
I can write like me!!!
These authors are my role models, models I can’t write like but can measure up to. I try to work hard and become a good writer just like them through my own style of writing. I whisper to myself each time in a funny way;
I’m as good as everyone else with my own unique style
What Happens When You Compare Your work with others?
We all have our writing fears and these fears are inpacted in us by our own negative thoughts and other people’s negative comments or attitudes towards our writing.
Somehow as we journey on the path of our writing life we try hard not to allow these negativities to weigh us down. But when we compare our works with others harshly, we confirm our fears. This brings a feeling of hopelessness.
What Does Comparing your Work With Others Do To Your Writing?
You feel that you’re not as good as them and this gives you the assurance that you can never be as good as they are. Your writing zeal diminishes and eventually dies off. Consequently, you begin to see writing as what belongs to them and not you. Since you can’t beat them and can’t join them, you better get going – it’s time to find some other things to do.
You keep seeing these defects your work has which theirs don’t have. You forget about your own writing skills and focus on theirs. You see their writing as of high standard and this overwhelms you.
What Should You Do
It’s human for you to notice the professionalism with which they have written that book but do not dwell too much on it on how good it is. Instead, see it as a means to model your own work instead of comparing it.
During modelling, you review – look at other people’s works, find out what you like about them and look for a way to improve your own writing.
Why You Should Model Your Work Instead Of Comparing It With Others.
There is no judging of your work during modelling as is the case with comparing.
Modelling helps you get better while comparing makes writing more difficult and eventually impossible.
Writing Tips;1. To survive as a writer you need to have confidence in your writing.
2. Always remind yourself that you are unique in your own way.
3. Shut the door against negativities in your head and those from others who think you’re not good enough.
4. If you find someone’s work to be good, focus on what you can learn from it and ways it will help better your writing get better.
I'm a food scientist who has chosen the path of creative writing- the one thing which comes to me naturally.
Back in 2013, my love for teaching young learners propelled me into picking teaching as a career. I taught English, Maths and Science in the United Arab Emirates where I lived for ten years. Right now, I live in Coal City, a beautiful hilly area of my country Nigeria.
My website Fiez-writer is a product of my extreme desire to share my writing with the world. Here, I share fiction, poems, thoughts and writing tips.
A huge part of my life is spent with my lovely family and I'm a proud mother to three brilliant kids.