One of the most discouraging parts of writing is comparing myself to other writers. It's something that I do constantly. I can't even begin to count on both of my hands, or even feet for that matter, how many times I've read a story or book written to what I consider to be perfection and think to myself, "Why can't I write like that?" I read as much information as I can about the author's whose stories I love to read and try to find similarities between myself and them. It's almost as if I keep a running checklist. And by the time I've finished comparing this checklist, the only similarity I can find between myself and other writers is that we all love to write.

I wish I could say that this never-ending comparison game is only relevant to writers, but I am the same way with everyone that I meet in life. I constantly find myself comparing myself to anyone and everyone. And this is a losing battle. Not only does it hurt my self-esteem, but it's also discouraging and tiresome. I can't say that once I start this mental comparison between myself and the world that I feel driven to start making changes in the way I do things, the way I think about things, or the way I am, if anything, it causes me to shut down mentally and emotionally. This is a toxic way of thinking and as a writer it can damage my progress in the craft. Not only that, I honestly feel like this negativity can damage a writer's creativity, and what are we without our creativity?

Once I, as a writer, start to compare myself to other writers who are in various stages of perfecting their writing game, I find myself overanalyzing every word I write, every scene I create, every plot I have constructed. I start to pick it apart and add in what I feel would sound more dramatic, more exciting, just more. By the time I have written a few scenes out, my story no longer holds the magic that it did while I was dreaming it up. Instead, now it is confusing and lacks any real plot. 

When I find myself reading something so amazing that I wish I had written it myself, I remind myself that I am on my own journey as a writer and that no other writer can create a story exactly as I can. I try to take notice more often how far I have come in my writing and what works for me. I take care to be proud of what I written, no matter what stage of my life as a writer I have written it in. One of the best ways to get better at what I love to do is to recognize my own personal writing style and appreciate it, love it, cultivate it. I try to always remember that writing is not about the competition, it is about writers sharing their love of words and stories that make us who we are. 


Published by Angie Birk