Writing is an ever-evolving journey, a constant dance with words that brings moments of accomplishment as well as challenges. One fundamental truth that every writer must embrace is this: there will always be another writer who is better than you. (Gasp!) In the vast landscape of book manuscripts, author blogs, and literary contests, there will always be other voices that resonate more deeply, stories that captivate more profoundly, and prose that rings more memorably. Seize this as a learning opportunity.
Embracing Humility in the Craft
Acknowledging the existence of writers who excel in areas where we might struggle is not a sign of weakness. It is a testament to the rich diversity of the writing world. Each writer possesses a unique voice and skill set, contributing to the collective world of written expression. Instead of viewing other author’s excellence as a threat, allow it to be a source of motivation and inspiration to improve yourself upon.
The Power of Critical Reading
Periodically, we encounter pieces of writing that fall short of their potential. For example, that book you can’t get through, or the article you start skimming and don’t read through until the end. These examples serve as valuable learning opportunities. Rather than dismissing them, analyze what could be improved. Note where you lost interest or struggled to understand. Is it the pacing, character development, or the structure? By critically evaluating weaker works, we hone our own ability to identify weaknesses and strengths in our own writing.
Seek Inspiration in Excellence
On the other side of the coin, encountering exceptional writing can be both humbling and exhilarating. Those moments when you read something truly remarkable, something that resonates with you, are the gems that fuel your growth as a writer. Moments where you can’t put a book down or enthusiastically tell others they must read it too. Identify writers whose work challenges you, leaving you in awe of their wordsmithing. Spend time dissecting their techniques, understanding how they weave magic with their words.
The Writer You Strive to Be
What kind of writer do you aspire to be? Whose prose haunts your thoughts, is unforgettable, and challenges your understanding of language and storytelling? Identifying a literary mentor is a crucial step in your growth as a writer. It could be an author who creates realistic characters, a fantasy world builder that changes your perspective visually, a poet whose verses stir your soul, or a blogger whose clever topics and in-depth pieces speak directly to you.
Taking Notes and Applying Insights
Keeping a writing journal can be a game-changer. Before you forget them, note the instances where you’ve recognized areas for improvement in weaker works, as well as the moments of inspiration from writers you admire. Create a space where you jot down phrases, techniques, or narrative details that you find particularly powerful. Regularly revisit this reference tool and allow it to inspire and elevate your own craft.
The Journey, Not the Destination
Writing is a journey, not a destination. Every peak and valley, every triumph and hiccup contributes to your growth as a writer. Embrace the fact that there will always be someone better than you, but let that awareness be a source of motivation rather than discouragement. The pursuit of excellence as a writer is a continuous, dynamic and evolving process. Learn the lessons, apply them to your writing, and experience the evolution of your unique voice in the vast world of writing and literature.