Saturday, June 24, 2023

Stop Comparing Your Writing

Scott D. Parker

You ever compare your writing with other writers? Of course you do. We all do. It’s human nature to compare, but it can only lead downhill.

I caught myself this week comparing my writing with the writing of other authors and I had to slam that door.

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned I’m listening to T.J. Newman’s Drowning and its harrowing story of a plane that ditched in the Pacific just after takeoff and the desperate attempts to rescue the people trapped inside. (Yeah, it was weird this week to be reading this book while following the tragic news of the Titan sub.) Newman has a way of just barreling you through the story that I love.

Meanwhile, a new-to-me author’s new book, Charm City Rocks, landed in my inbox from the public library. It is the latest by Matthew Norman and its premise intrigued me. A single dad of a record store meets his former rock star crush as accidentally arranged by his teenaged son.

At lunch on Wednesday, after I had done my own writing, I opened the book to see what it was like. One chapter in, I was hooked. By Friday, I was up to chapter 13. The prose flowed so well, it felt effortless. Heck, I even laughed out loud at a few spots.

And then I read my own stuff again, picking back up where I left off. It just didn’t have that same flow. It was MY flow and it’s MY style, but I started doubting myself, so much so that I opted to write less on Thursday and read more.

Big mistake.

I slapped my own knuckles when these thoughts started injecting themselves in my brain. Every writer is different. Every artist is different. Everyone has their own style. Similar styles can exist, but we’re all still individuals.

Comparisonitis. It’s a dangerous thing.

How do you combat it?

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