Average Writing Can Lead to Better Writing

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This is written for Stream of Consciousness Saturday hosted by Linda G Hill where this week we were prompted to write about the word “average”.  The thing that never ceases to amaze me is how the SoCS prompt always seems to tie into a thought I had or a post I was thinking of writing about.  So, thank you, Linda, for having a fabulous intuition. 🙂

Average Writing Can Lead to Better Writing

I’ve been reading a lot of books lately, a lot of different books to put it more accurately.  I spent a few years only reading one or two authors and not really expanding or breaking out of my comfort zone.  I’m not necessarily qualified to say whether this author is good or that one is better, but as a reader, I know what reads better, and some books definitely read better than other books.  As a writer, I’m constantly doubting myself and questioning my ability and I know I’m not the only one.  That seems to be a consistent theme with writers.  It’s a lonely road we’ve decided to travel, which I suppose makes it less difficult when you join a community like WordPress and receive the feedback and love that I have since I joined.

I didn’t really consider myself a writer until this year.  I knew I liked to write, but I wouldn’t have called myself that.  So I never judged the books I read against my own writing.  This year, I’ve actually done that.  I read things and ask questions and wonder.  I’ve read some fantastic books this year; books that blew me away with technique and voice and atmosphere.  I’ve also read some average shit where I kept saying to myself, I can write better than thisIf this author can get published, so can I!  I’m honestly not someone who has an over-inflated opinion of myself, so it isn’t easy for me to admit that, but I don’t believe I’m the only writer around here who has thought it.

I just finished reading a book that blew me away with how many different moving parts the author had going and how he resolved them.  I started reading another today that was jarring in how (dare I say) average the author writes, especially when I compare it to what I just finished.  I know some of it is style, but some of it is just how someone puts words together.  I know some of it can also be different tastes – what I like as a reader might not be what a different reader will like.  To put it a different way, what I think is average, another reader might think is amazing.

Maybe that’s why this is such a tough thing.  It’s all so subjective – the things we write and the things we read.  But I think it can also be a huge boost.  I can read someone’s writing and think, holy shit, how did she do that?  There is no way I could ever write like that, but damn do I want to be that good.  Then there are times when I’ve thought, how the hell did he get published.  This is the worst piece of crap I’ve read in a while! (Okay, so maybe I haven’t been that harsh, but I think we’ve all read things like that and it does give my writer brain a boost to think, to know, that I can write better than that guy that was actually published and is on a bestseller list.)

I wouldn’t ever shoot for average, but it isn’t such a bad place to be when you think of all the real estate in front of you.  I hope I never get stuck in average but can use it as a place to get better.  I also want to thank all the books I’ve read that I considered average.  They gave me a boost and helped me think of how I could have done it better.  (I apologize if that comes across sounding egotistical.  I don’t mean it to.)

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16 thoughts on “Average Writing Can Lead to Better Writing

  1. Not egotistical at all, Helen. I’ve thought the same thing many times and I’m sure we’re not the only ones. I’ve read some real crap in my time mumblemumble50shadesmumble and I know I can do better.
    Thanks very much for making this part of SoCS! I’m so glad I’ve been able to anticipate what you want to write about. Haha! Hopefully I’ll keep it up. 😀

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  2. I am the same. I listened to an audio book last week. The combination of the voice intonations of the reader and the words written left me with amazing mental imagery and I thought “I want to write like that” but then I read some books some times and the think “Really? And they made a movie out of this”?
    Great write. 🙂

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  3. That’s the way to do it… read a lot and see the things you don’t like, then try to do them better. There’s no ego involved in that. Knowing what you don’t like helps you focus on ways you want to do things. They aren’t necessarily bad books or bad writers, just not your thing. It helps you get at what your thing is. It also should show you that, no matter how good you are, someone’s not going to like it. And that’s fine, too. Write the story you want to write, the way you want to write it. You’ll do a better job that way.

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    • Thanks for stopping by, John. I appreciate the feedback. I think it’s pretty amazing how much reading can affect writing and how it can lead you to do things in a better way. 🙂

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  4. I’ve had that “I can do it better” feeling with some things since I was a kid. I don’t see it as egotistical as much as it is awareness (the same thing my chef husband, who isn’t keen on publicly bragging on his own (delicious!) cooking, but he’s a very discriminating consumer when we eat out.

    You know enough to assess things others might not notice.

    As for your writing – I love it! You have the single most important thing, IMO – passion!

    I don’t find you average at all! =)

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