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Weekly Quote #21

“You have to remember that no one can write exactly as you do. You are the unique product of a unique life history. Even if you had an identical twin, they could never write precisely the poems, plays, stories that you will. So if you don’t write this text and in your own particular way, then no one else ever will. No one can do it for you.” (fromΒ ‘The Creative Writing Coursebook’ by Julia Bell and Andrew Motion)

I get intimidated when I read a really great book. Not as often as I used to, but sometimes it still happens. Some of the books I’ve read recently were so brilliant they made me doubt whether I can really do this. Who am I, to think I can do what they do? How dare I call myself one of them? And to an extend I’m right. I can’t write exactly what they’ve written, but they’ve been doing this for a lot longer than I have and I wouldn’t really want to write exactly what they’ve written, anyway. Those are their stories, there are plenty more in my own head I can write! Likewise, they wouldn’t have been able to write what I’ll write. They’d have written it differently, maybe/probably better (again, they’ve been at this for waaay longer than I have) but it wouldn’t have been the same. Only I can say the words in exactly the way I need to say them, and the same is true for you and your story.

So stop making excuses, and don’t let those amazing, big names out there intimadate you. You don’t have to write as they do to be amazing and earn your spot amongst them. You need only to write, and to keep writing.

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4 Comments

  1. Well said.

    I get intimidated too. In fact, when I saw the movie Inside Out, the first thought that jumped into my head was, “I could never write anything as amazing as this movie.” But then I eventually got around to the idea that I don’t have to write anything that amazing. I can just write what I write and let other people decide if they find what I’ve written to be amazing. And if they don’t like it, so what? It would’ve taken them at least an hour of reading my work to decide that they truly hate it, and wasting an hour of someone’s life, an hour that they’ll never be able to get back, is an accomplishment in itself. πŸ˜‰

    • Thank you πŸ™‚
      I’ve recently seen Inside Out, it’s a really good movie :3 For me, it was The Flacon Throne – I got to around a third through the book and wondered ‘Oh My God, the hell am I doing?’ This was a really useful quote to me so I hoped it would be of use to others, too πŸ™‚
      Well said, Gabriel – wasting an hour of someone’s life is an achievement in itself!

      • It’s a useful quote for any writer, no matter how skilled. I’m sure even the best writers have their share of doubts.

        • I’d like to think so, Gabriel. No one is perfect, right? To doubt oneself is a basic human condition.

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