Aspire, But Do Not Compare

There is a quote that I love that says,

You might not be the next J.K Rowling, or J. R. R. Tolkien, or (insert author here), but they won’t ever be you either.

I think this is such a powerful quote that, while at face value might be incredibly discouraging, is actually incredibly empowering.

I aspire to be a lot of things in my writing. I aspire to write stories that speak truth like C. S. Lewis. I aspire to write stories with complex characters that a reader can relate to, like Steven Gould and Ted Dekker. I aspire to write epic tales that do more than entertain, but provoke thought, like Victor Hugo. I aspire to write like David Gaider, like Orson Scott Card, like Dean Koontz, like Kevin J. Anderson.

But it is so important that I don’t compare myself to them.

Because I will never be them.

Because I am me.

And I find that encouraging and uplifting. It means I can read their books and learn from them, find out what makes their stories feel so big, their characters feel so real, their writing pull you in. I grow in my writing and in my storytelling by studying authors that I admire and aspire to be like.

But I don’t want to be the next J. K. Rowling or the next Veronica Roth.

I want to be Erin Phillips.

I want to be a great storyteller, but it will look different than other authors. Rather than seeing that as a downfall, as something that hinders me – because I can’t pull off a twist in the same way Dekker can, or write with the same gentle intellect of Lewis – instead I see it as what sets me a part and gives me the freedom to write things in new ways.

Mark Twain famously said,

There is no such thing as a new idea.

These two quotes coupled together are far from despairing to me. Instead, they are freeing.

So that’s what I’ve been thinking about as I continue brainstorming for the Book Book in between writing. I’m just over 40k for NaNoWriMo and have hopes to get to 50K this week! I hope you are all finding time to escape into your own stories and finding joy in them like I do.

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