Thursday, November 17, 2005

It Takes More Than Inches

When the other children started posting their blogs I went through a huge case of intelligence envy. They've all done such a fantastic job. How was I supposed to measure up? I've never blogged before. Heck, I can barely get through my hectic day with my temper and brain power firmly intact let alone sound intelligent before ten AM. Morning person I am not!

But that's when I started to think. Measuring up isn't just a problem for bloggers. I don't think there's another business - especially a woman dominated business - where so many participants are willing to share their time, experience, and education with the next person - all while secretly wishing they could emulate some specific aspect of that person's craft. I wonder if it's just our profession or if more suffer from this phenomenon and I'm just not aware of it.

I don't know how many times I've read a published book and thought, "There's no way I'm going to succeed. I can never write as well as (fill in the blank)."

But down that path lies madness.

I never can measure up. Not to those published, unpublished, or on the brink. Those writers are not me. They don't have my own unique experiences, sense of humor, outlook on life (or my damn Yankee upbringing).

In the end, I have to be me. And I have to be true to my writing and the story I want to tell. And if that means I'll never have Kimberly's comedic timing, Danniele's flare for the dramatic, Alexandra's dry wit, or Marilyn's excellent characterization, that's ok. I can appreciate it in their work. Just like I hope they appreciate the strengths in mine. Because I have them. Sometimes it's just hard to remember what they are ;-)



Maven Linda Winstead Jones said...

This is likely the most important lesson any writer has to learn. Each of us is an individual, and no two writers have the same strengths, the same way of working, or even the same way of seeing the world.

It's a wonderful day when you find what your strengths are are wholeheartedly play to them. When you let loose and write in your own unique way, that's when the joy of writing is most intense.


Angel said...

I agree. But goodness, what a hard lesson to learn! Those thoughts and doubts about succeeding can sometimes overwhelm (especially for a pessimist like me), but I just have to remind myself over and over and over that there are good things about my own writing too. That means my take on certain scenes is unique and my storyline will reflect my "flare for the dramatic".

I'll never forget that first glimpse of what my voice truly sounds like. While I have many faults that I strive to improve, I have the most fun when I'm playing to my strengths. LJ is right. Nothing feels as good as that.


Problem Child said...

I have comedic timing? Really?



Problem Child said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Problem Child said...

There's a very inappropriate comment begging to be made from that title...

I'm biting my tongue...counting to ten...

I would get sent to Time Out so fast...


Playground Monitor said...

Darn straight you'd get sent to Time Out. **gg**

Excellent characterization? Moi? Thanks.

You're oh so right about finding our own strengths. I'm still searching for my own "unique way" as Linda put it. I'm hoping I find it soon.

Instigator said...

Why do you think I chose that title? The bad girl in me just wouldn't be silent ;-)


birdzilla said...

Enjoyable combination of both wit and sass.
Reading through posts so far, i have to agree with PC on the title of today.
But then agian.....inches are all some of us know.

Maven Beverly Barton said...

The most important lesson I learned in the early days of my career was NEVER imitate another writer’s style. Every editor in the English-speaking world rejected my first romance novel, written in the mid-eighties, because I’d tried so hard to write like my three favorite authors: Sandra Brown, Linda Howard and Diana Palmer. Once I found my own unique voice and wrote a true Beverly Barton novel, I made my first sale, and as they say, the rest is history. --BB

Maven Linda Howard said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again: you aren't in competition with other writers. The book world is NOT finite; if someone else makes a sale, that isn't taking one away from you. The person you're in competition with is . . . yourself. You're the one you have to best the next time out. Sometimes you'll do it, sometimes you won't.

And, yes, romance writing is the only profession I know of where the writers help other writers. Some people say it's training your competition, but I know better -- because I'm my own competition, no one else.

Play to your strengths, work on your weaknesses, and forget about everyone else.