Wednesday, 12 October 2011

We're All On The Same Road

Term has started, and I've got quite a few new students to add to my regular attendees. Some have written lots, a couple haven't started writing anything yet, but at whatever stage, joining an established class can be daunting - possibly intimidating.

I know that when I first went to a writing class I was awestruck by the standard of the writing and felt very out of place, given my inexperience. But writing isn't a competition with other people. The only competition is with yourself: trying to be better each time.

I think that being a writer is like starting a journey. We're all on the same road together - you, me, everyone. Some of us are a bit further ahead than others. Some of us are travelling fast, others are going at a more leisurely pace. Sometimes people have a great patch and start zooming ahead, overtaking like mad, only to slow down and be overtaken in turn. Sometimes you can hit a patch when you think you've gone into reverse...

But whatever your speed, regardless of whether you're driving in fits and starts or going a steady pace, you are on exactly the same road as all the other writers. And like all the other writers, there isn't actually a final destination. The road goes on and on, and the writers carry on, hoping to improve their skills, their ability to communicate. The road only stops when you stop writing.

So, whoever you are, and what ever your level, don't compare yourself to other writers. We're all on the same road. All you have to do is enjoy the journey.

Anyone in Bristol/S. Glos area? I'm speaking at Patchway Library on Thursday 13th at 7.00 - Details here!


Chris Stovell said...

That's a terrific post and good advice to all writers. I'll put my hand up and admit that gauging my progress against other writers only makes me feel depressed! Far better, as you say, to write for yourself because then you can relax and enjoy yourself again.

Diane Fordham said...

Excellent post Sarah. I once (not all that long ago) was comparing myself to other writers which was not a good thing for me. Of course there are going to be writers ahead of me on that road and others behind me, but as you say 'we're all on the same road'. Now I am enjoying the journey and putting focus on improving my own writing.

Sarah Duncan said...

Chris - I found it depressing too, which is why I now know to say don't.

Diane - enjoying the journey is what it's all about.