As a writer and avid reader, I sometimes get intimidated — or downright discouraged — by the immense talents of other writers. I’ve decided it’s time to reframe my mindset.
Like many writers, I’m also a big reader. I have great appreciation for any author who can lift me out of my day-to-day life and transport me to a fictional world of their making. I am so grateful for the many talented authors out there who put in the hard work to craft their tales — and then have the guts to share those with the world.
That said, sometimes those amazing works of literature are downright intimidating. Comparison is a dangerous game. I’ll find myself thinking, “I wish I could create such intricate plots! Why aren’t my characters so vividly drawn? What an amazing idea — why didn’t I think of it!? Gosh, I wish my dialogue was that strong!”
It’s a dangerous minefield that, if I’m not careful, can discourage me from pursuing my own writing. That’s the last thing I want — which is why I’m trying to reframe my mindset. I started wondering, instead of getting intimidated, what might I learn from those writers? How can I let them inspire me, not only as a reader but also an author? Here’s what I came up with:
- Recognize the power of inspiration: Every story I encounter, every eloquent phrase I read, and every compelling character I meet can spark my own imagination. Inspiration has the potential to awaken dormant ideas, fuel my passion, and remind me of the vast possibilities that lie within the realm of storytelling.
- Uncover new techniques: Every writer possesses a unique storytelling style. By immersing myself in their works, I have the opportunity to learn from their techniques and expand our own repertoire. By analyzing their prose, character development, plot structures, and narrative arcs, I can glean valuable insights and incorporate these discoveries into my own writing. Instead of feeling threatened, I can appreciate the lessons they offer and use them to refine my own craft.
- Foster a supportive writing community: Fellow writers can be invaluable allies. Engaging with other authors through writing groups, workshops, or online communities provides an avenue for collaboration, feedback, and mutual encouragement. Surrounding myself with like-minded individuals who share my passion can help dispel feelings of discouragement and motivate me to keep pushing the boundaries of my own writing.
Throughout my writing journey, there have been several authors whose works have inspired and influenced my own storytelling. Agatha Christie’s mastery of suspense and intricate plotting has left an indelible mark on my mystery writing. Gillian Flynn’s dark and psychologically complex narratives have shown me the power of flawed and multi-dimensional characters (and the delicious possibilities of an unreliable narrator). J.K. Rowling’s imaginative world-building and ability to capture the hearts of readers of all ages has taught me the importance of creating immersive stories.
These writers, among many others, have paved the way for my own growth as an author. And I am grateful to all of them. Who’s inspired you on your writing journey? Do you ever get intimidated by a well-told tale? How do you avoid getting discouraged as a writer? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.
Thank you for reading! This is a space where I share personal thoughts — an opportunity for self-expression that has nothing to do with my professional writing. None of the thoughts or opinions expressed in this blog should be construed as anything but my own, nor should they be affiliated with any company or person I contract with or write for.
NOW that that’s done… I’d love to hear from you about this blog post in the comments! You can also connect via my blog: https://www.ask-communications.com/blog