1. Sean2112bd
    Offline

    Sean2112bd Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2011
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    2

    Do you get discouraged if someone writes better than you?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Sean2112bd, Feb 20, 2011.

    I do. Every time I write something and have someone critique it they come up with a better sentence, and when I take the better sentence and modify it and have someone else critique it, they once again come up with a better sentence than the one I just modified.

    What's the point in writing if someone is just going to write it better?

    (Don't worry I'm still writing, I'm just kind of ranting because it seems like no matter how much I write it's still not good enough even with revisions).

    I guess I got to learn to be content.
     
  2. Halcyon
    Offline

    Halcyon Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Messages:
    510
    Likes Received:
    23
    Location:
    England
    Hey, you'll always find someone who's better, but it can be a valuable learning experience. Take something constructive away from it, and thereby improve yourself. Writing isn't a competition (unless it's quite literally a writing competition, of course ;) ).

    There's an old Chinese proverb that goes something like...

    "Seek not your equals, seek your betters..."
     
  3. w176
    Offline

    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2010
    Messages:
    1,067
    Likes Received:
    49
    Location:
    LuleƄ, Sweden
    Or you just got to learn that you are awesome as well, even if other people also are awesome. Just think about how many different peoples work you do appreciate. With your line of reasoning there would just be one top writer and none of the rich and lovely variety we see in thousand and thousands of different writers at different levels.
     
  4. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,936
    Likes Received:
    5,473
    Maybe you could ask your critics to just tell you what they don't like about the sentence, ("it's confusing", "it's too convoluted", "it's sort of funny when I think you meant to be tragic") and not to suggest specific rephrasings. (And, yeah, I'm guilty of the rephrasing thing, but I _might_ be able to critique without it, if I were asked. :))

    I think that over time you may start to feel better about this, as you develop more of your own style. There are zillions of writers who are better than me, but the more I write in my own style, the more I'm able to focus on improving my own writing rather than comparing it to that of others.

    ChickenFreak
     
  5. Elgaisma
    Offline

    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,337
    Likes Received:
    92
    Not really - are you sure the sentences aren't just different ? There are times when people suggest sentences and I like them. Other times I think what are you on that isn't Angus' or Socrates' voice.
     
  6. Lemex
    Offline

    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2007
    Messages:
    10,507
    Likes Received:
    3,151
    Location:
    Northeast England
    No. Not really. Writing is a craft, and I'm the competitive sort.
     
  7. Sean2112bd
    Offline

    Sean2112bd Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2011
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    2
    Well, mine's a mixture of jealousy and discouragement. My vanity is what makes me competitive lol :D
     
  8. Lemex
    Offline

    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2007
    Messages:
    10,507
    Likes Received:
    3,151
    Location:
    Northeast England
    Hey, same with me. :p I don't see why having at least a little vanity would be a problem.
     
  9. guamyankee
    Offline

    guamyankee Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2011
    Messages:
    474
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Tacoma, Washington
    Yes, but I also see a lot of stuff that gets published and wonder how the hell it got published.
     
  10. Forkfoot
    Offline

    Forkfoot Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Messages:
    1,034
    Likes Received:
    48
    Location:
    San Francisco bay area
    When I trained MMA I'd always seek out the people who were better than me to spar with. Got my bell rung a bunch of times, came home with sore joints a lot, but I got pretty damn good pretty damn fast. I just had to really swallow my ego enough to put myself in that position where I was consistently getting my ass kicked in the gym so that I could improve. Had to kill the part of me that always wanted to "win", to be "better", in training, because I wasn't in the gym to win, I was in the gym to become a better fighter.
     
  11. IfAnEchoDoesntAnswer
    Offline

    IfAnEchoDoesntAnswer Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2011
    Messages:
    98
    Likes Received:
    3
    The great writing of others is a reminder that this is indeed something worth aspiring to. Otherwise, reading my own poor drafts, I'd probably decide that the whole enterprise was pointless and quit. But reading excellent writing by others encourages me.
     
  12. Show
    Offline

    Show Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Messages:
    1,495
    Likes Received:
    30
    ALL THE TIME! Every time I read I feel all inferior cause my writing is a bit different. xD
     
  13. VM80
    Offline

    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2010
    Messages:
    1,211
    Likes Received:
    43
    Location:
    UK
    Right answer. :)

    There will always be people better than you, unless you are a Hemingway or a Shakespeare perhaps.

    It should make you want it all the more and work hard for it.

    I know it works that way for me.
     
  14. Quorum1
    Offline

    Quorum1 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2010
    Messages:
    96
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    On my couch
    Go find something that you wrote a while ago and you might find that you can suggest a better sentence for yourself. You (probably;)) write better than you did before. Don't be discouraged, be encouraged!

    To answer your question - yes I used to feel that way, but then I realised that someone will always be better than me at everything, but no one else *is* me, so no one else can write like me :D.
     
  15. Porcupine
    Offline

    Porcupine Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    Messages:
    346
    Likes Received:
    21
    Location:
    Frankfurt, Germany
    I feel discouraged when I read something I wrote years and years ago, and I find myself thinking that I couldn't possibly write sentances as beautiful as those today.

    As for other authors - no, haven't found anybody who could discourage me. Quite the opposite in fact.
     
  16. evelon
    Offline

    evelon Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2009
    Messages:
    613
    Likes Received:
    24
    Location:
    England
    You should never be content with your writing. That's another way of saying you'll settle for second best.

    Before you submit your work for other people to read are you really sure it's the best it can be? Perhaps you need to take a more critical look before you post it. Don't be too easily content with what you've written.

    Those people who you think write better than you have probably done the years of hard graft and learning to get to that point. Don't resent that, take it as an inidcation of what you can achieve with the right attitude and learn from them.

    And I agree with Elgaisma, some suggestions are not necessarily better, just different.

    Don't get disheartened. We've all been there.
     
  17. Manav
    Offline

    Manav Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2010
    Messages:
    839
    Likes Received:
    21
    Location:
    Imphal, India
    But you do realize that one sentence doesn't make a story, don't you? Simple declarative sentences, which seem ordinary, can make a great story if other elements of your story are working. It all depends on how you use and place your sentences.
     
  18. Elgaisma
    Offline

    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,337
    Likes Received:
    92
    This is where reading a lot and reviewing other's work is good. It helps you know what works and what makes up a good story.

    I know my plots are great, my characters are good, my technical writing is improving hugely, my SPaG is going from OK to good. I know it because of the stories I have read in the past. I know what I love reading and I put it in my books.

    My first book was completed five months ago it had an enjoyable little story, characters people who read it enjoyed reading. It was ready and stood as good a chance as anybody else's with agents and publishers. However I decided to put it into a contest and reread it, I still enjoyed reading it but realised my writing had improved and I could do a better job - so decided to rewrite it. Glad I have it has gone from good to something I am incredibly proud of. Your writing will improve as you practice but you need to know yourself know what is good and when you can do better. Also when you can't.
     
  19. joelpatterson
    Offline

    joelpatterson Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2011
    Messages:
    76
    Likes Received:
    6
    Someone writes better than me? Who, exactly?
     
  20. VM80
    Offline

    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2010
    Messages:
    1,211
    Likes Received:
    43
    Location:
    UK
    I agree, but knowing when something is 'good' comes only with experience.

    God knows I thought my first few attempts as a kid were great.

    I read something the other day I wrote when I was 15. It wasn't bad, but not quite as good as I thought at the time.

    Fifteen years later, my 'standards' of what is good are so, so different.
     
  21. Trilby
    Offline

    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2010
    Messages:
    2,098
    Likes Received:
    69
    Location:
    NE England
    Learn to be content, but don't lose your ambition to improve.

    Think of it as you would wealth. No matter how rich you are, there's always someone richer - If you let it get to you, you'll never be content.
     
  22. evelon
    Offline

    evelon Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2009
    Messages:
    613
    Likes Received:
    24
    Location:
    England

    I agree with you. But I think a lot of people don't take the time to read their own work with a critical eye. Then they become disheartened when the reviews aren't as good as they were hoping.
     
  23. Silver_Dragon
    Offline

    Silver_Dragon Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2011
    Messages:
    166
    Likes Received:
    3
    I don't get discouraged by the fact that there will always be someone who writes better than I do, as I think your work is still worthwhile if it's not the absolute best. Critiques can be discouraging at times, so I generally wait until I am completely finished a work before I let people tell me what's wrong with it.
     
  24. Radhika
    Offline

    Radhika Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California
    Yes, I do. I do. I don't know why - I know I'm a horrible writer, but when I see somebody flow their words in a mere forum post like this, I get angry. I give up and stuff. I suppose I'm not the persevering type.
     
  25. IfAnEchoDoesntAnswer
    Offline

    IfAnEchoDoesntAnswer Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2011
    Messages:
    98
    Likes Received:
    3
    By that logic, only one person (whoever the Greatest Writer EVAR is) should ever write anything. Everyone else should just go home.

    But think of all your favorite authors -- at least SOME of them had to have SOMEONE who wrote better than them. Do you think it would have been better if, because of that, they didn't bother to write at all?
     

Share This Page