Have you ever read a book and felt super discouraged? Feeling like you’ll never be able to write this good. Telling yourself you’ll never get published.
I do it all the time. I read a sentence that is crafted to perfection. The word choice or the structure of the sentence is so powerful that it makes me stop and think. Or I read a sentence that makes me feel deep emotion. As if the author somehow knows me and what I’ve been through. As if they are reaching out with their words to say, “hey, I’ve been there too.” Or I read about something I’ve never experienced, but I learn to appreciate it in a new way.
This writing blows my mind and occasionally discourages me.
Because I compare it to my worst writing.
I compare someone’s best writing to my worst writing.
And that is never helpful.
What You Need to Remember About Published Authors
Published Authors have More Experience
A published author has more experience than you. But you can gain the same experience that a published author has. You too can see your writing start as an idea and end a published story.
Most published writers have probably been writing for longer than you have.
But wait, you might say, I’m not published, but I’ve been writing for 10 years or ever since I was in second grade, and there are authors publishing several books a year.
That’s a fair point, and it can be frustrating to think that some authors are publishing several books a year while you’ve been working on your novel for 10 years. But I’ve learned that it does no good to compare. Some writers can churn out a novel faster than others. But that doesn’t mean that they are better writers.
They might have more time for writing. Maybe it’s their first published novel, but their third or fourth attempt at writing a novel. Maybe they read a bunch of books about writing before beginning their writing journey. We all have different experiences that influence our writing, so we may have different experiences as we write.
But a published author has completed that experience. They know what it takes for them to turn an idea into a fully fledged novel. They’ve gone through the process start to finish. So, although some writers have been writing longer in terms of years, a published author has more experience with the writing process than an unpublished author.
And a big part of that experience is revision.
Published Authors have Revised Extensively
If you are reading a published book, you can bet it’s been through rounds of revision. They once had a first draft, likely similar to yours. Every writer that has ever been published was once at the first draft stage. It’s impossible to know how many rounds of revision it went through before it was seen by eyes other than those of the author, how many critique groups shredded it to pieces, how many beta readers offered necessary feedback, how many changes the editor requested be made. There is so much that a reader never sees, and it is easy to forget that even the best writers go through a revision process before their work is published.
So, your unrevised first or second draft isn’t as good as an author’s revised and re-revised published writing. Yet. Keep revising, and keep working at it. With time, effort, and maybe some help there is no reason to be discouraged by your writing. You can be proud of your story and confident that it is good enough to publish.