How to Stop Feeling Intimidated by Other Writers

    intimidated by other writers

    Do you want to be one of the 100 most influential bloggers in the world?

    Maybe you’re even more aspirational and you want to be the next Shakespeare.

    But everywhere you look there are hundreds of other writers who are much better than you, more talented and more experienced. It will take you years to gain a fraction of the skills they have.

    You feel paralyzed. You’re so intimidated by other writers that you don’t even want to start writing at all. What’s the point of trying if you’re just going to be buried under the sea of better writers, right?

    So how do you overcome this feeling and start creating your own literary masterpieces? First, you need to know the truth about writing.

    Writing Is Simple

    Yes, it is. It’s not as complicated as your eighth grade English teacher made it seem.

    Well how can it be simple if people go to graduate school and get PhDs to master the art of writing? In the same way that a snowflake is simply a collection of water particles.

    Writing is simply about looking at the world, and saying what you see.

    That’s it.

    All you need to be a good writer is to be an observer. Look at the world around you, and write down what you observe. The keyword here is you.

    So now that you have shed the idea that writing is complicated, how do you shed that feeling of intimidation as well?

    Stop Trying To Be A Great Writer

    What’s one sure way to spoil all your chances of becoming a good writer? Try to be someone you’re not. The reason that you’re intimidated by other writers is probably because you think you need to become like them to be a good writer.

    You might be thinking that the best way to get to the top of the writing ladder is to read about the daily routines of Dickens and the like and to follow their every step. You might be thinking that you need to read all the classic literature and follow every single element of their writing styles.

    But at best that will only get you to a wear a mask. No matter how accurately you can copy the writing styles of the great wordsmiths, you still won’t be as good as the original. People will see through the fraud that you’ll become. You won’t become a trendsetting phenomenon in the writing world.

    You don’t need to morph yourself into a Hemingway or a Huffington to be a good writer.

    Start Trying to Be You

    That’s all you need to become a great writer.

    What? That’s it? There’s no 25-step strategy to it?


    The world doesn’t need another Shakespeare. The world needs something new, original, and authentic. And the only way you can bring in something new into the world is if you show the unique way in which you see your world.

    Since writing is about showing how you see the world, and the best way to become a great writer is to bring as much of you into your writing as possible. Craft the best version of yourself into words, and you’ll be on your way to the writing hall of fame.

    All the top writers and bloggers, are in their own unique lanes. You don’t need to be intimidated by them, because your own lane is still open for you to race through and conquer. You will see that the great writers tell you the same. Just be yourself.

    Relieved? Maybe not quite. Maybe you still think you might not know all the elements of style. Maybe you still get confused about whether it’s their or they’re and you’re thinking, “I need to know all the rules in the grammar books before I start writing.”

    Don’t Wait Until You Know It All to Start Writing

    Otherwise, you’ll be waiting forever. There’ll never be a time when you feel perfectly ready.

    Don’t be so focused on perfecting your technique that you lose sight of the importance of content. You can have flawless grammar and use the most posh-sounding synonyms, but if your content isn’t good, you won’t get far. In my opinion, if you can write a readable sentence, you’re good to go.

    As Joyce Carol Oates said,

    “Technique holds a reader from sentence to sentence, but content will stay in his mind.”

    Whether it’s your first book or your first blog post, just start writing it. You will learn the intricacies of grammar along the way. You will perfect your technique through practice. Just focus on expressing your unique view of the world first.

    Here’s one way to stop being too caught up in perfecting your technique:

    Read a Little Less

    I know, this is an unpopular opinion, but hear me out.

    If reading a classical book every week is making you feel intimidated about writing, maybe you want to put that book down for a minute.

    I know everyone tells you to read and read and when you’re done, read again, but you know what reading can do? It can smother your inner voice. It can make you write in a style that is not your own.

    Have you ever started a writing project after finishing a particular book and found yourself writing in the style of the author of that book? It happens. You start to copy, to wear a mask.

    Maybe, just maybe, you want to leave that book on the shelf for an extra week. Maybe you want to keep that blog post in your bookmarks folder for a little longer and focus on developing your own style first. Focus on finding and expressing your own unique voices instead of letting it be smothered by the voices in your books.

    Put It Out There Somewhere

    That’s another way to smother the voice telling you to be intimidated by other writers.

    Write something and show it to the world. Put it in a blog post or in a Pinterest infographic. Put it out there somewhere.

    You will realize very quickly that the world doesn’t end when you write something that isn’t perfectly Shakespearean.

    Stop Thinking. Start Writing.

    You’re overthinking things. That’s why you find yourself feeling paralyzed and intimidated by the great wordsmiths.

    Stop it. Just start writing.

    Do it right now. Open a word document or a notebook and start writing that book or that post that you’ve been putting off.

    Just do it and stop being intimidated by other writers.

    There is still room for you in the writing world. Don’t let fear tell you otherwise. Go ahead and start becoming the great writer you were destined to be.

    Do you have other tips on how to stop feeling intimidated by other writers? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

    About the author

      Nelu Mbingu

      Nelu Mbingu is a self-improvement blogger. She enjoys sharing her ideas about personal growth and social success on her blog, Lessons From Everyday Life. She loves telling her stories, hearing other people’s stories, and becoming wiser day by day. Grab her free poetry collection: Beauty and Wisdom Hold Hands.

    • Peggy says:

      Great post, I’ve spent too much time comparing myself to others… no more, thanks,

    • You’re right in one of your comments above, Nelu – it’s not how good the other writers are, it’s how good – or lucky – their marketing was. There are loads of brilliant writers struggling to be heard because their books weren’t commercial enough. Will it sell? is the more important driver of publishing effort than is it good?
      Great post, thank you.

      • Nelu Mbingu says:

        Yes, exactly. Talent alone doesn’t cut it anymore. Thanks for reading!

    • Léa says:

      “Writing is easy. You just sit at the typewriter and bleed.” – Ernest Hemingway

      • Nelu Mbingu says:

        Haha good one!

    • Hi Nelu. Great post! Thanks for sharing

      • Nelu Mbingu says:

        Thank you for reading!

    • Sally Chetwynd says:

      I’m not rich or famous or widely published, and I know I am one of a vast company. I do have one novel out in the world, and am working to complete another one. But I have been fortunate that I don’t feel intimidated by the success of other writers. And I ceaselessly promote the idea to every writer and would-be writer out there, just as you do here: Nobody else can write YOUR story.

      Let’s say that you are one of a hundred people who experience an event and then each of you writes a story about that event. Not a single one of them will be the same as any other story in the group. That’s because your unique life experience informs and colors your perception of the event, and therefore how you relay your experience of the event in your story.

      A friend of mine wrote his memoir of his experience as a combat Marine in WWII and published it just before he died. I am humbled that he gave me a copy. I read the book. I turned off my editor’s eye. This book was not great literature, but the simplicity and honesty of this man’s words revealed his tremendous heart, and that’s exactly what the book needed. I treasure that book. When I want to feel like I am sitting at his kitchen table, listening to him tell his tales over a cup of coffee, all I need to do is open that book. I will look for heart over technical precision.

      Most of us will never produce great literature, but we don’t have to. We just need to write down our stories, polish them to the best of our ability, and let them fly into the world on their own wings. Some of them might get famous, most of them will not. But if the writing fulfills something in our own hearts, and maybe some of our friends and relations appreciate the telling, then what more can we ask for? Fame and fortune, if they come, will be icing on the cake. But I prefer the cake.

      • Nelu Mbingu says:

        I never liked icing anyway. That’s where all the calories are 😛
        Thanks for reading, Sally! I’m glad we think alike.

    • Great Advice! Personally, I think the hardest part of writing (coming from a professional ghostwriter of more than a decade) is getting started. That first sentence always seems to be the hardest. However, once you get going, it can seem like time has flown by and all of the sudden you have 10,000 words written and you’re not really sure how you go there.

      I really like to use the Pomodoro Technique on those days where I just can’t get started without a little help. As soon as that timer starts to tick and I hear it, it’s like a trigger for my brain and fingers to get to work!

      • Nelu Mbingu says:

        I agree, getting started is the biggest hurdle to jump through. That blank page can be terrifying.

        I have heard of the Pomodoro Technique but I’ve never actually employed it myself. I think I should check it out.

        Thanks for reading!

    • Hello Nelu,

      Great stuff over here 🙂

      You have just put your self up in this post and that’s the most amazing things to read up here.

      It’s good to be the real you, while writing the blogs, people want to connect with the person who are real and do not
      fake it out in front of them.

      Thanks for the insights to share among us.


      • Nelu Mbingu says:

        The most important thing is to be yourself when you write. It doesn’t help to pretend to be someone you’re not. That’s not how you build a sustainable writing career.

        Thank you for reading, Shantanu!

    • I just wanted to take the time to say thanks. I’ve been writing the ‘A Vested Interest’ and ‘Blood of the Rainbow’ series since 2004 – only self published it in 2010. For a while, it was going strong, then Amazon changed their algorithm and my book sales dropped on dramatically. Then, out comes books like 50 shades – with all its reptitions and mistakes and goes straight to the top. As you might have guessed, it discoraged me to no end. For a while I was putting out two to three books a year. It took methree years to finish my last book, ‘Dust to Dust’. I figured, ‘Why bother working my fingers to the bone – so to speak – when books like those overshadow my own?’ Again, thanks. I’ll stop beating myself up now.

      • Nelu Mbingu says:

        Usually, it’s not about how good a book is, but about how well-marketed it is. Those Fifty Shades writers have high advertisement budgets and that’s why their books do so well. Most of us struggling writers have to stick to mediocre social media promotions.

        But don’t give up on the art. Keep blessing the world with your work.

        Best of luck!

    • Sally says:

      When I started writing for a company I quickly realized the other writers I worked with knew as much about the subjects we worked on as I did -which wasn’t a lot! It took a lot of stress off of me and my writing!

      • Nelu Mbingu says:

        That’s another hurdle. Being forced to write about a topic you know little about can be quite difficult. I hope you handled it well.

        Thanks for reading!

    • Laszlo A. Voros says:

      I’ve stopped trying to write like other writer’s after I was eighteen. I tried being Kurt Vonnegut, Woody Allen, Ray Bradbury, but I slowly managed to find my own voice. I write spy novels and detective fiction horror, short stories, and occasional poetry.
      My spy novels were a piece of cake, (having been intimately familiar with Ian Fleming and James Bond), but detective fiction was like writing in molasses. Then I got a better understanding of detective fiction by reading Lawrence Block and his Matt Scudder series. Then I manged to write a 900 page book starring my private detective character which I am editing and will send three chapters of. So it does pay to read.
      I have never been intimidated by famous writers, (I would love Stephen King to give me some of his DNA. LOL). I have been a little mystified why; when writers like James Patterson whose book Murder House I read and found to be no great shakes (unlike Stephen King who never ceases to amaze me, ) are so popular. But other than that, I am confident I have found my own voice and will succeed. I just have to work harder at it than some. You just have to remember that even Stephen King was rejected and to whom now WRITER’S BLOCKis a foreign a word as Klingon would be to a Cherokee. So was JK Rowling. Look whose laughing now.

      • Nelu Mbingu says:

        900 pages?! That’s fantastic! Keep up the good work. I’m not at that level yet, but it is what I’m working towards.

        I hope your book is well-received. It seems like you worked really hard on it.

        In the end, writing is about opinion. One man’s treasure is another man’s trash.

        Best of luck with your future projects!

    • Knowing you have a message kills intimidation. Nelu, thank you.

      • Nelu Mbingu says:

        Thanks for reading!

    • Karen says:

      Yes!! Get out of your own way and just write! 😊

      • Nelu Mbingu says:

        That’s the way to go! Let your voice be heard.

    • Brad says:

      Great advice. Thanks for sharing

      • Nelu Mbingu says:

        Thank you for reading 🙂

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