Today is day 21 of the 2015 A to Z challenge and the letter up at the oche today is ‘U’.
As writers, it is very easy to sell ourselves short, to undervalue our product. How often do you pick up a book, read it and think. Holy shit! That was so well written. It makes my stuff seem amateurish. It may not even be the entire book, or it may not take until the end of the book for this thought to first hit you.
We are all very self-critical, especially when it comes to the work we produce. We continually undervalue our product and view other people’s work through rose tinted glasses. Because they wrote it, and I didn’t, it is going to be better than mine.
It is only natural, at least that is what I believe. When we write our own work, we are writing it for others (I’ve not forgotten that the first draft is for us, but you get the point). When we read our own work, we are doing so with a critical eye. We are looking for mistakes, for spelling errors, and plot holes, however large or small. When we pick up the book of a fellow author, friend or anybody, we are not looking at their work from such a level.
We read it to be entertained. Sure, we gleam things from their work. We get ideas, and notice how fluidly some scenes are put together or transitions are made, but we do not have that same critical eye that we give our own work.
Authors, myself included, are too quick to play down out own writing, to become obsessed with how we should be improving, that at times we lose sight of not only why we write, but our own sense of artistic style.
We should be critical of our work, and I think if we ever get to the point where we look at something we wrote and cannot find fault with it, then we are either lying to ourselves, or we simply no longer care to the same level as we should.
We should always look to learn from every book we write, look back and think about how we could tweak things to make them better. We should take something away from every book we read, even if it is just a new word that you see and like. That is how we develop. What we should shy away from however, is forgetting who we are, changing our style to mimic that of others, because we allow ourselves to become convinced of that authors superiority.
It is a tough game to play, but we cannot continue to undersell ourselves. To undermine our own creations because we allow ourselves to believe the negativity of our own subconscious.
In the modern writing world, it is more imperative than ever that we stand tall and proud behind our work. To know that what we are selling was the best product we could produce. Be proud of what you create, and believe in yourself and your writing. Understand that you are you, and I am me. We are all unique, and as such our styles are unique, and to lose sight of that would be the biggest travesty of them all.