Apr 05

E is for Everybody is better than me!

It’s a big worry for writers – ALL writers. It doesn’t matter whether you’re little Timmy the nine year old, who just discovered he can create his own alien worlds with a chewed pen and some old drawing paper; or you’re the God of your chosen genre with fifty years experience behind you…you still worry about other authors being better than you. Of course you do, it’s a survival instinct.

A brief look around will show you, despite what ‘experts’ say, that books are still piling up on publishers and agents desks, and are still flying off the shelves in their millions. This is still a tough business to break into…Hell; it’s a tough business to keep afloat in even if you’ve already broken in! It’s natural to look at the competition and feel disheartened that you’ll never, ever, ever be that good!

But that shouldn’t be what you’re worrying about. Nope, you should be worrying about getting that damn book finished! You have enough on your plate without panicking that someone has written a better story than you. Of course they have! If you were the best writer out there you’d only read your own work, why bother buying a book of lower quality when you can crank out your own bestselling page-turner.

Knowing there are better authors out there should inspire not discourage. It should give you something to aim for, a point to strive for, imagine if you could improve your craft and reach an equal footing with the authors you admire so much.

A writer who thinks they’ve reached their peak (quality wise) is only fooling themselves. There is always room for improvement.

Just remember there is someone out there that thinks you are a better writer than them.

36 comments

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  1. There are certainly plenty of writers who are better than me – I don’t think they all are though. What about all those writers who never actually finish a story because they’re too busy watching TV? If we finish something and send it out then we have the edge over them at least.

    1. Hey, I resemble that remark! I’m one of those TV writers, I’m afraid…I need help!

  2. I agree with the statement that you should let other authors inspire, not discourage you. No matter what field you’re in there’s always someone better than you. Does that mean what you’re doing is not worthwhile? No! As long as you’re being the best you can be, and you’re improving and learning good lessons, it shouldn’t matter who else is out there.

    Once again, a really insightful post in the mind of a writer. Excellent stuff. Can’t wait to see more …

    1. I take it as a challenge, I always have something to aim for. Imagine the pressure at the top! Yeesh!

  3. What a brilliantly inspirational post! Right – fingers at the ready, where did I file that best-seller I never finished… Ah yes, next to the space that’s waiting to be filled by Steven Chapman’s no.1 of all time horror novel.

    1. Thanks, Lily! I hope that spot isn’t wasting too much valuable space on your shelves…it may be a while before it gets filled!

  4. I see what you’re saying, but, no matter how many times I tell myself that, the self doubts sneak in. I read other peoples stuff and say, oh, you might as well give up now!!!!! Lol.

    There is a very fine line between being inspired and discouraged 😉

    xx

    1. But on the other hand I bet you read a lot of stuff and say “I could write better stuff than this in my sleep!!”.

      Reading other peoples work might discourage but it can also inspire…just make sure you read utter drivel, there’s plenty out there 😀

  5. It’s difficult because it’s really, really easy to fall into the trap of “Oh why bother, so-and-so is better than me”, but are they really? They might be technically better at constructing a sentence but they can still never have YOUR ideas, just as you can never have theirs.

    1. I’d like to think my ideas set me apart from the thousands of other writers, but every time I come up with a corker some git beats me to getting it published 😛 I guess my brain isn’t weird enough to have unique rights to an idea, or I procrastinate too much and don’t get there first.

  6. Heck, just hopping around during the A to Z challenge, I’m astounded by all the excellent writers out there. No wonder I get rejected all the time! But, it doesn’t make me want to throw down my pen and give up, it makes me want to get better.
    My E post isn’t the greatest, but sometimes we just have to let it go, look towards the next letter and say, “This is going to be freakin’ awesome!”
    Naive optimism helps.
    P

    1. A bit of optimism never hurt anybody, although it can be hard to be a glass half full type writer when so much crap gets through the agent/publisher filters. Seeing bad writing out there can almost be as discouraging as great writing everywhere!

  7. A bit of envy or intimidation can push you to work harder. You’re right that finishing one’s draft should be top priority. 🙂

    1. Tomorrow is all about first drafts 😀

  8. Oh, you said a mouthful there, brother!

    1. I hope it was a good mouthful…

  9. Everybody has a talent.

    Those who write are no exception but there is scope to think your talent is as great as so-and-so author. Piffle! And I say again – PIFFLE!

    No one can write YOUR stories because they can’t get in your head and steal your storylines. Your stories are unique because you set the boundaries within which they are set.

    Now – you can always make your stories BETTER by correctly using grammar, vocabulary, plotting and characterisation. Having a cunning ‘angle’ on a story will not go amiss either!

    Meanwhile, we keep writing, honing our craft. Remember – there will always be someone else looking longingly at your work and wishing their eye-teeth away to have an ounce of your talent!

    (nuff said – who’s next for the soapbox….?)
    😉

    1. (….and the typo in the first line of my earlier reply should be evident, but for those of you who missed it, it should read:
      “…but there is scope to think your talent ISN’T as great as so-and-so author”)

      Oops! ;-p

      1. I was half expecting a union jack to unfurl dramatically behind you halfway your speech! Then I spotted the spelling mistake and I lost all respect for you and your work 😛

    • DL Hammons on April 5, 2012 at 16:15
    • Reply

    Better annotates some sort of ranking system (other that the NY Best Seller List). I prefer to think of myself as different than other writers…not better or worse…just different. 🙂

    DL Hammons @ Cruising Altitude 2.0
    Co-Host of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

    1. Different is good, I wish some of the stuff on the shelves out there was a bit more different! Seems everyone wants to cash in and right the same thing at the moment. Viva la difference!

  10. I don’t believe everyone’s better than me. But it sure does seem like everyone’s better than me at getting that damn book finished! Does my procrastination know no bounds?

    1. Nobody is better than a writer at procrastination! At least nobody has us beat on that!

  11. I think there are loads of poets better than me, but none LIKE me – so that’s ok!

    1. That’s what I’m hoping, Liz! Although if I never get my book out there no one else will ever know.

  12. Whenever I find myself wallowing in wishful thinking (“Man! I wish I could write like that . . . .”), I try to use it as a springboard to get some writing done. It is, after all, what got me started writing stories. I read a cool book series, wanted to write, and started doing it. I try to think back on that whenever I’m intimidated or start catastrophizing that I will never finish my works. Never say never, right?

    Great post! I hope a lot more people will get a chance to read this.

    1. Whenever I read something I totally forget about writing and end up reading in bed for days on end! Then I get miserable when I have to start another book and know it won’t have the same characters….THEN I get sad about not being able to do that a reader. It’s a longer process for me 😀

  13. Inspirational post. I lways used to look at other peoples work and think ‘I could never do that’, and then not bother trying. It’s a relief finding other like minded people. A confidence booster.

    1. Cheers, Phil. I’m glad there are plenty of us with the same problem to overcome!

  14. Hell yeah! But then some are worse, so it evens out (I hope!)

    1. It does make me a little happier whenever I read a bad book, but it also upsets me that it managed to be published. At least it gives us a ray of hope.

  15. I have that car crusher feeling a lot, though it’s hardly ever about other writers. Yes I know most are better than me is so many ways, but it never worries me. I take inspiration in great writing and more so in great storytelling. I learn something from every book I read, even from the terrible writers.

    To me self doubt is part of the process of any creative endeavour. So when I do hear that car crusher staring up in the back of my mind I remind myself of the good feelings writing gives. Like the times I revisit stories and shock myself at how good they are when I thought they were poor. Or the times when I have so many light bulb moments I create a personal ozone hole above my head.

    A lot of writers are better than me, but I like that. It gives me something to aim for and is a very cheap writing coach.

    Great post and series.

    1. Cheers, Tony. A bit of self doubt can be a great motivator, but then again so can a man standing behind you with a chainsaw. I’d much rather feel like a crap writer next to literary greats than have Mr. McChoppy Sawsalot looming over me 😀

  16. I feel this way every day. I hope some day it’ll get better.

    1. It will…eventually, it’s probably something you don’t notice until you look back on it 🙂

    • subhmohanty on April 8, 2016 at 13:51
    • Reply

    inspirational ! motivating, yet so true. Unless you are that “Todd” fella !!

    @Subhmohanty from
    And Life Unfolds…

    A * Alone B * Butterfly C * Curry D * Dance E * Edge F * Forest –> G * Grin

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