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Our Favorite Writing Tips (Part Two)

This is the second installment of our favorite writing tips, or, as we like to call them,"the neglected ones." If you haven't read our first and favorite tip, read the previous blog post. That first tip gives you permission to curl up with a hot cup of tea and tell people you are working on your writing.

This second tip corresponds with a little thing called comparison-itis. It's not an actual word, but it's a real problem for many writers. We'll also talk about its cousin, imposter syndrome. The tip?

Stay in your lane.

Comparing your writing (or yourself) to other writers will stall your creativity, or bring it to a screeching halt. We do this in life also - looking around to see what other people are doing, producing, and experiencing. When you read a brilliant piece of writing, do you feel hopeless or discouraged because your writing isn't as good? It's hard to be motivated when we've already labeled ourselves as "not good enough." If you are always looking left and right, holding your work up against the work of others, you may feel like quitting before you start.

You have a story that only you can tell. The writer you are comparing yourself to hasn't lived your life, and can't write the book you are writing (or thinking about writing). Only you can write your book, and you'll get nowhere if you keep stacking yourself up against other writers.

Imposter syndrome is another form of comparison. It's sneaky and will pounce on you at the moment you're feeling good about your work. Imposter syndrome will whisper in your ear: "You're only pretending to be a writer. You can't compete with all the real writers." And it's true. You can't compete, and you shouldn't try. Just stay in your lane.

If you are working on a writing project, you are a writer. Give yourself permission to call yourself a writer, and then don't look left and right, forward or backward. Just write, and believe your story is important and worthy of telling.

As writers, we do our best work, stay in our lane, and ignore the voices that taunt us. But we should do what all the great writers do and make sure our book is the best it can be. So, the caveat to all the above advice is: Get an editor. Few are the writers whose work is untouched after the manuscript is complete. Believe in your work, but let someone tear it apart if necessary to make it the best it can be.

Next week, we'll reveal our final, neglected writing tip. Now, go write (and stay in your lane)!

Photo credit: Karsten Wurth

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