These days they tell us: “anyone can write”.
It’s true. To some extent, at least. But the problem is — the real problem — that most of us content creators will forever be stuck in the mediocrity puddle.
And while it’s heartbreaking, so many of us deserve to hear that they are not good enough.
People will tell you to believe in yourself. To have faith in your skills, talent and power to create something outstanding. But how do we ever improve if we keep wearing a blindfold of unconditional self-love and self-acceptance?
I don’t usually hear anything bad about my writing. Not even when I’m creating pieces in the language that is not my native one.
But there is this one person. Someone who repeats day by day:
You’re not good enough.
You’re not original enough.
You sound stale and boring.
You’re just repeating what someone else said already.
You should do better.
And that person is me.
Before you say how destructive such approach is, let me assure you — it’s good. I’m fine. In fact, I invite this bitter version of myself for a regular tea party. I’d rather hear ten times over that I’m not good enough than forever stay in my writing comfort zone. Cut off from as much as a chance to get better.
For a writer, the worst is to realise is that they’ve reduced themselves to a word production worker obsessed with SEO and headline formulas.
Unless we keep ourselves in the constant state of self-dissatisfaction, we won’t improve.
The key is to maintain the fragile balance between self-confidence and a critical approach to our own writing.
Be harsh — but for a reason.
Be humble — but know you are able to do well.
Your own critical voice should sting but at the same time, it should motivate. It should urge you to write another piece. A better one.
The moment you feel discouraged, you’ll know you’re doing it wrong.
There are many people who would find it highly discouraging. I, however, enjoy seeking out people who are better than me. Reading pieces that leave me wishing I was writing like this. Pieces that make me think: “and you thought you were good, eh?”.
Because once I digest the meat of the content, I’ve got the time to look at the bones. At the skeleton upon which the authors build everything. And while these skeletons vary, the principle remains always the same.
Don’t be mediocre.
We all start somewhere. We grow. Then we get stuck. Sometimes we get lost. And other times, we’re about to give up.
There were times when I bulk-wrote several articles only to discard them all as useless. I wasn’t angry about them not being good enough. I only regretted I didn’t spend that time writing something better.
If you’ve at least some skills at writing, then it’s not hard to impress people who don’t write at all. To them, anything you create will always be stellar. And they’ll praise you, saying that you’re so talented. That you absolutely rock the writing art.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of such praise. To think that you’ve mastered it all when you’re merely at the beginning of your journey.
We can always get better. We will keep meeting people who write better than us. There will be always articles more interesting than ours.
We’re not good enough and that’s alright.
Accept. Understand. Move on.