All writers probably get insecure from time to time. I have. Probably you do, too. Anyway, this post has been brewing at the back of my mind for a while now. Basically, here's what happens:
You're reading your favorite book and once the 'wow, this is amazing!' thoughts are done, all you can do is thinking about how you're not as good of a writer as Author X, and never will be. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- You cannot compare your book to a published book. This isn't really my advice, it actually comes from Kami Garcia, in an interview. That had to be some of the most helpful advice I've ever read as a writer: Don't compare your work to something finished! Especially not something that has been gone over by the authors, beta readers, agents, publishers, etc 1 million times. A draft that isn't even done isn't the same as a published book. Pause to reflect on that before you go on.
- Even authors you love write awful first drafts. This ties into the interview I mentioned above, where Garcia says something like "I wish you could see what the original story was like, before we edited it." How humbling to know that one of my favorite books was awful when it was first written. I love that! Even more humbling, was when I told Garcia that I felt that way on twitter, she said that she finds it encouraging when authors she loves write bad drafts.
- Even really successful people (including writers) get insecure. A week or so ago, I watched Oprah interview Lady Gaga on her show Oprah's Next Chapter and one thing that shocked me was when Gaga said that she found Born This Way an intimidating song to write, and she had to imagine Whitney Houston singing it in order to write the song. Wow. I mean, no matter how you feel about Gaga, it's hard to imagine her feeling insecure, isn't it? I mean, this is a woman who isn't afraid to go out in public wearing meat.
- Even authors you love have errors in their books. Including published ones. I've been rereading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone lately, and so far I've found two errors. And it's a published book and a bestseller, not to mention something that totally changed my life. Even J.K. Rowling is human.
- If you let someone read your book, they might like it. After a mass editing spree, I sent an unfinished book my mine to be read by a friend. I thought she would hate it, and that it would be too confusing for her to like; too this, too that. But she told me on Facebook she liked where it was going.
- If you find yourself hating your book, keep in mind that there was once a time you liked it. If you still hate it, put it away and come back to it. Reread it and then see if you like still like it. Often, I weed out the ideas I love from those I don't because the ideas I love are the ones that don't leave me alone.
- If you can, study other authors and see what makes them so good. I've been having fun doing with my series about 'What my Favorite Books have Taught me about Writing."