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.
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.