I’m BJ Sheldon, and I am my own worst critic.
If I have one fault when it comes to my writing it’s that I am constantly comparing how well I write compared to published authors. “I’ll never be as clever as George R.R. Martin,” or “I will never be able to tell a story as well as J.K. Rowling.” Because of this, my writing recently came to a slow crawl and I developed a bit of writer’s block.
As I read the reviews of follow authors by the public, other authors and even literary agents, I begin to think to myself, “When I’m published, I will never be good enough to warrant that kind of review. These people are so much more talented than I am.” Part of that mindset has to do with the fact that I haven’t yet been able to get a literary agent to represent me. There is also the notion that because I started so much later in life than many of the recent debut authors that I won’t be taken as seriously.
But, then I realized I wasn’t following my own advice to my children. At times, they get discouraged…looking around and comparing their lives to others’ around them. Other kids their age may have a nicer car, are more talented, can sing better, read better…and the list goes on. On days like that, I am consistent with my words of wisdom…you don’t need to compare yourself to anyone but you. The world is difficult enough to manuever without measuring yourself up to a standard that just doesn’t exist. Life is not a competition.
And yet, that is exactly what I have been doing. I’ve been comparing myself to others and setting a standard that just doesn’t exist. Published authors have worked hard to get to where they are and none are exactly alike. Romance, science fiction, erotica, young adult, paranormal – there are various types of writing styles and talent to go around.
It’s true that my writing style isn’t anything like J.K. Rowling’s. It’s also true that my storytelling greatly differs from Stephen King, J.R.R. Tolkien and Agatha Christie, but the same can be said about all the other authors out there. When a writer tries to emulate the work of someone else, there’s a chance they’re not being true to their own talent. An artist of any type has an obligation to show the public what they’re truly capable of doing.
I now realize that the only person I need to measure up to is myself. I will continue to work on my stories and put them on paper. The possibility of bad reviews and being compared unflatteringly to other authors no longer frightens me. What I write, I write for the enjoyment of others.
I’m BJ Sheldon, and I am an author.