Comparing Oneself to Other Writers

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I’m behind today because I cut our 5 acres of grass a couple hours ago, so I’ve just now started cruising the various boards. And, believe it or not, something’s already caught my eye. It was a thread titled ‘Who Do You Write Like?’

What the hell? Does an aspiring writer need to compare themselves against another? All that does is have a tendency to lead one down a rabbit hole as they try to copy the one they ‘compare to.’ Why would you want to do that to yourself? It’s insanity if you asked me.

Who does a writer compare to then?? Themselves! No one writes identically to another author no matter how hard they try. You could try to emulate, or even copy, Stephen King or Nabacov but you know what? It wouldn’t happen no matter what. Each persons word usage, and sentence structure, are different from another and that’s just how it is.

Furthermore, as I said before, it also leads a writer down a rabbit hole they don’t need to follow. By trying to copy another writer, you don’t learn anything on your own. I mean, how do you know the one you’re copying is a great writer or terrible writer? Without being able to create prose in your own style, then it’s impossible to make the determination.

And publishing success doesn’t translate to great writing either. Sounds crazy, but a lot of novels are best sellers because they are entertaining-and that’s a different world then pure wordsmanship.

So, try to be yourself and not copy someone else.

Happy writing.

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