Compare Not

I want to be a good writer. I know I’m a decent writer as is, but I don’t want to be decent. I want to be good.

Sometimes I’m quite happy with what I produce, but other times I find myself despairing. This happens particularly when I read posts or books or poems by people who are much better writers than I am. I know I shouldn’t compare, but I do it anyway. It’s hard not to. It’s too easy to forget that many of these writers have been at it for considerably longer than I have.

The one thing I should remember when making these comparisons is that writing is a craft. Becoming a good writer may for a few rare individuals be about just starting to write one day and turning out excellent material. For the rest of us, it’s about working hard at it, for hours that turn into days that turn into months and years. I’ll have to spend decades writing, all the while tolerating my mediocrity.

And then, maybe one day after all that practice and never giving up, I’ll find that I write pretty well. I hope so anyway. Perseveration is the key.

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17 thoughts on “Compare Not

  1. How you do it with a houseful of youngsters amazes me. In my (truly) humble opinion you are better than a good writer. The important thing is to not stop working at your craft, listen and keep reading.

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  2. And being patient with yourself as well. You might not like the piece but that doesn’t mean it won’t be right for your readers. I’ve learned that some of my worse poems in my eyes have been the ones that my readers love the most. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Keep writing and I’m sure your readers will enjoy, love and appreciate your efforts. I become discouraged sometimes as well.

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    1. You’re very right. I have these bad days sometimes when everything seems a bit grim, but now I don’t let them stop me from writing. It’s funny (as well as interesting) how difficult it can sometimes be to gauge people’s reactions to what you write!

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  3. I understand completely. I’m elbow deep in books related to a topic I wanted to write about and I find myself wondering what can I do to stand out. What would make someone care about my story? What would make me different? It’s got me stressed before I started writing it!

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    1. That sounds interesting! I bet if you only just work at it you can find the angle that is unique to you. Just start writing it and you’ll get there for sure!

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  4. I agree that writing is a craft that must be honed, but it takes having a good story to make it your own. I’m grabbed by great stories, even when they aren’t the best written, and put to sleep by well-written tripe.

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    1. That is an excellent point. Your comment made me think about the subject so that I actually decided to post about it today. This is the second time your comment makes me want to write another post. Thanks for that 🙂

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  5. ‘Compare Not’… what an apt title that can/should be used for all aspects of life, when you compare yourself to someone who is more confident, more competent, has the perfect ‘Facebook life’, and so on…it’s so easy to end up comparing, especially when it comes to writing, but like you said, soldier on, perseverance..in all that you do! Thank you for this post that got me thinking on multiple fronts! :)) And I enjoy reading all that you write! 🙂

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      1. I’ve read that book, although many years ago. I loved it then. Maybe I should re-read it, I’ve probably forgotten most of it already…

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