Every Writer is Better Than You. Not a Problem.

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Neil Gaiman when asked advice for beginning writers said something important:

“There are better and smarter writers than me. People who can plot better than me. But no one can write a Neil Gaiman story like I can.”

Boom, mic drop…

So many writers paralyzed with fear of being unoriginal. What if I sound like everyone else? What if my story, essay, or blog post sounds lame?

Possible. Unlikely. Why?

You are you. No one sees the world the way you see it. Has the family, jobs, education, and experiences you’ve had. No one laughs like you, smiles like you, or has the same tastes. You are you.

Let me soothe your conflicted soul. Originality is a myth. Originality comes from you being you. Thanks Neil.

What makes writing a special art form is voice. Your voice. So much garbage floating around the inter-webs and in writing circles on what good writing looks and sounds like.

Wide eyed artists filled with hope watching their work get shredded because some insecure newbie writer felt they needed to comment on a story. While sucking out all the originality and voice of the piece.

Why? Because we’ve bought into the lie there’s a certain style or voice every writer must achieve to be “good.”

Crap. All crap.

Good writing is the writing only you can do. There are smarter writers than you. Writers who have more work under their belt and craft cleaner first drafts. Word slingers who do better research. Many writers are better at dialogue, plot, and narrative than you. All true.

Does this mean we have nothing left to learn in the writing craft? Not if you want a long and successful creative life. But we’re not talking about spelling, grammar, and syntax. That’s not the heart of good writing. You learn that in school.

Good writing is what you make. What you create and the unique voice you bring to the work. Your heart bleeding onto the pages. No one can take this from you. No insecure English teacher, friend, family member, wannabe writer, or MFA prof.

Let’s test my theory.

Ever get a book recommendation you couldn’t get into? A friend tried to convince you this was the best book written since the Bible.

It happens all the time. Why? Good writing is subjective. I read a best selling non fiction book which in my humble opinion was subpar. The voice and style of the book was not my thing.

But for thousands of others it worked.

Ask any publisher if they knew a certain book would be a hit. Crickets. Why? Good writing is subjective.

But what is not subjective is you. Your work a unique voice in a world clamoring for attention. Nothing is new under the sun. No one will come up with the next original idea and story. They’ve all been told.

Yet, they haven’t been told like you. In your way, and with your unique perspective.

Remember there’s plenty of room in the writing community. Why?

Because of you and your voice…

Many writers are smarter, more creative, and more gifted than you.

But… No one can write a story, article, or book like you… and that’s gospel truth.

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