Alright, let’s admit it. You write something, and you work on something, and you compare it to somebody else’s work. Suddenly, instead of feeling confident, you feel discouraged. You think your writing isn’t as good, your story isn’t as strong, or your message isn’t as powerful. You feel like throwing the whole thing in the garbage and quietly sliding off to some corner of the proverbial room.
Stop. Right. There.
Your story is different. Not worse, not better, just different. You are going to bring different experiences, different perspectives, and different knowledge to that book. Comparing your book to someone else’s book is like comparing apples to oranges. The only thing they have in common is they are both books.
Don’t Let Discouragement Steal Your Motivation
There will always be someone who is better than you at what you do. There will always be someone who has more experience or more talent. Don’t let that stop you. The only way to improve is to do the work in writing out all the stuff that’s not so great so you can find the treasure inside you that is great. It’s kind of like digging for diamonds at the Crater of Diamonds National Park. You’re going to have to move a lot of dirt and other stuff around before you find the diamonds hidden in the soil.
Don’t Expect Your Rough Draft To Be Great Stuff
Nobody’s rough draft is the greatest thing they’ve ever written. Rough drafts are conversation starters, not conversation enders. They are a way of getting all the ideas out on paper so you can sift through them and find the ideas worth keeping and worth fine tuning. Expecting your rough draft to be an instant best seller is putting way too much pressure on yourself to perform.
Relax and Have Fun.
Writing a work of fiction is a process. Take time with it. Enjoy the characters. Enjoy the world. Don’t take it all so seriously when you don’t need to. You are working to create a sandbox. Play in the sandbox. Nobody – except your characters, maybe – is going to die if you make a mistake or if you do something that doesn’t work very well.
Try New Ideas
Your rough draft is a great place to try new ideas and work things out in your mind. It doesn’t have to be seen by anyone. Nobody has to know that you put that scene in there. If what you wrote doesn’t work now, you can always change it later. Try out new ideas, experiment with thoughts, let your creative mind out of the box you’ve been stuffing it into and write something outrageous.
Let Your Voice Come Through
It’s tempting to be just like everyone else, and that can be part of the reason you are tempted to compare your work to other people’s, but that temptation to be like everyone else needs to be fought when you are writing. You are not like everyone else, and that is a great thing because it means you have a unique perspective to offer your reader. Use that to your advantage.
1) Take your question list that you created and write out the answers to those questions.
2) If there are specific events, create a timeline of those events.
3) If there are new characters that come up as a result of those answers, go ahead and create character profiles for them.