As writers, all of us have had those moments when we are reading a good book. I wish I could have written that! or Why can’t I ever write anything that good? So, why isn’t it a good idea to do that?
Comparing or aspiring?
One easy thing to do as a writer is to compare your work to that of another – especially an author who is more experienced than you or whom you admire. Why is this a problem? Because, by comparing, what can happen is that your own work is degraded in your eyes.
This can get discouraging when you realize that you can’t write like Louisa May Alcott, C. S. Lewis, Jane Austen, Jules Verne, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Charles Dickens, J.R.R. Tolkien, Alexandre Dumas, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, or any author whom you admire.
(I could name more, but the list would get too long.)
But that’s the wrong way to look at things.
The reason you can’t write like your favorite author is because you aren’t your favorite author. You are you and must write with your own style, realizing that you can’t be anyone else, but you are yourself.
“Well, I don’t like my writing style,” you may say. Well, that’s where the second half of this post comes in. Aspiration.
To aspire is to aim for something higher. To make a goal, to seek ambitiously. This is what we as writers must do. By studying the works of those authors, finding out what made them truly good and seeking to incorporate that into our own writing, we can improve ourselves without being discouraged.
If you still need encouragement, find a friend who is willing to read your work, give you pointers, tell you how much they like it, and be a fan. (Or, if you know someone who needs this, you give it to them.)
Keep practicing. Rather than be discouraged when reading great works of literature, aspire and be inspired. Writing is fun!
And remember, even the greatest authors had to start somewhere.
Talk to you later!
P.S. this is the 50th post on A Sparkle of Light!