I love quotes. One of my favorites is from Albert Einstein:
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb trees, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.
This is important for everyone to remember, but especially creative people. I don’t know how it is for other creative types, but from discussing with many writers I know that we are a temperamental, insecure bunch. We are always comparing ourselves to “the Greats” of writing (whichever we feel the Greats are) and feel bad about our work.
But remember this: We are fish. We have very different lives than any other writer. We write different things and in different styles. It makes no sense for me to compare myself to Dostoevsky because we are so different (and write very different things) even though he is one of my favorite authors. Likewise, I ought not compare myself to Robin Hobb because, though we both write fantasy, our lives are different and shape our styles.*
Everyone is different. We are a whole planet of different – don’t compare yourself to the bird or the tiger or the hydrangea. You are a fish, or a leaf, or maybe a frog. Keep your chin up as you write. You are a genius too.
Take care, fellow travelers.
*And for goodness sake, though there are some really awful pieces of writing out there, be nice. Don’t judge them. We were all there once. Practice is the only way to grow. If they are told they can’t do it, they will start to believe that and be the fish that thinks itself stupid.