When Books Make You Feel Insecure About Your Writing

Sometimes you read a book so bad it improves your confidence. IfΒ this can get published, than surely I can one day too? While bad books are awful to read as readers, they’re great for your confidence as a writer.

But sometimes you read a book that’sΒ so good that it makes you question everything about your writing. Is my WIP this well written? Are my characters this thought out? Are the messages I’m trying to convey clear? Is it as powerful? As fun to read?

As a reader I love good books, as a writer?

This is the second post in a row I used this gif can you tell I love it

I just finished an amazing book, one of the best ones in a while since I’ve read some mediocre books lately. And suddenly I found myself panicking and thinking about my writing. This doesn’t happen often, actually. I’ve read tons of great books that make me wish I was just as talented, but made me panic? Anxious?

That’s not to say that this book (What’s a Girl Gotta Do by Holly Bourne) is better than any other book I’ve read. My top two books of this year (and among the best I’ve ever read) are still Queens of Geek and The Hate U Give and they didn’t have this effect on me. So…

Me @ this wonderful book

Honestly I just came here to have a good time (which I did!!) and feel so attacked right now*

* I don’t care that this meme is old SO AM I KIDS**
** If I’m acting like this at 20 what will I be like in a couple of years I feel a midlife crisis coming up at like,, 21

Maybe it’s because when I read Queens of Geek and The Hate U Give I wasn’t actively writing and not really thinking about my WIP, which is something I have been doing a lot lately. Maybe it’s because I’ve been feeling incredibly insecure lately. I think it’s becoming pretty clear to you guys that I HAVE NO IDEA WHY THIS IS HAPPENING and I’m basically just writing this post to get out all my feelings and share my insecurities which I’m sure a lot of you share. Right??

I’m sure a lot of us are incredibly insecure and anxious about our writing. Sometimes a good book can either inspire you, or make you feel worse. I guess in a way What’s a Girl Gotta Do did both. Because I want to write, and do better. But I also want to crawl in a corner and cry

Basically I want to pull a Tamaki

Of course crawling in a corner or your bed is not going to do anything. What is going to do anything is learn from the amazing books out there, write a lot (*insert cliche PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT KIDS*) and just,, try to remember why you’re writing in the first place, something I think a lot of us often forget.

Of course we all write for different reasons, some similar, some not. But I doubt any of us started to write to feel insecure. So let’s all stop being a Tamaki and… be a Haruhi instead?* Of course she doesn’t write, but she gets shit done. And we need to get shit done kids*****. So get out of that corner, bed, hole, wherever you’ve been hiding from your writing and get to work. Which is easier said than done, I know, but we should at least try k- nope I’m stopping myself no more calling you guys kids. This is becoming a habit and I need toΒ stop.

Me @ Me

* All of you who are not familiar with Ouran High School Host Club** are probably a bit lost right now and for that I’m sorry but I love Ouran and I’m going with this metaphor here
** Please read Ouran High School Host Club. The anime is amazing too but the manga is better. Treat yourself kids***
*** I need to stop calling you all kids I’m basically still a kid myself even though I’ve technically been an adult for two years****
**** I’ve been a WHAT
****** A while ago I helped with a kids workshop at the museum and they all used the formal you Β (this is a thing in Dutch) while speaking to me and I FELT OLD

Anyway, in all seriousness: insecurities will get to you, but if we give in to them we won’t change anything. We won’t improve and we won’t be able to accomplish our dreams, whether that’s to get published or something else.

Wow would you look at that! I didn’t think I’d actually end up giving you guys advice? I just thought this would be me ranting, crying and crying some more for help.

Has this happened to you? Any helpful tips on what to do when your insecurities get to you, whether it’s because you read a good book or something else? Let me know in the comments!

26 thoughts on “When Books Make You Feel Insecure About Your Writing

  1. This has definitely happened to me before! Very often it has to do with the writing style with me, like if it’s very flourish and poetic but totally makes sense – I will be sitting here and burying my head in my hands because HOW!? Also, if writers manage to do the long con, those twists planned several books ahead. I am just in awe and feel infinitely inferior as a writer afterwards.

    • Yes exactly! How do they write such beautiful sentences?? And metaphors even?? My mind is blown and I just want to hide in my bed forever haha.
      Yes oh my goodness!!! All the foreshadowing in Harry Potter?? like?? Okay maybe some stuff is just fan theories, but there’s still so much that J.K. Rowling thought of long time before it actually came to play in later books. Even the smallest things??

  2. You crack me up. 😁 I do agree with you though. Sometimes it blows my mind how some authors are published then others I am amazed with their work. I do tend to call others kids too, so that’s really funny you do that. I’m almost 24 and I feel old sometimes too. πŸ˜‚

  3. I’m so glad you wrote this post, Michelle, I can SO RELATE to all of this ahah. Whenever I read a book with an incredble writing style, characters I feel like are or could be my friends, everything is just so three dimensional and feels real and is giving me all the feels… well, I do wonder if I’ll ever be able to pull that off in my own writing. I guess we are all different, though, and comparing does no good: we all have our talent, if some writers can do incredible metaphors and others great world-building, we might be great at writing fun scenes or make characters lovable, who knows?! I’m trying to hold on to these kind of feelings to give me some sort of confidence, ahah :)

    • Ahhh on one hand I’m glad you can relate but on the other I wish you wouldn’t because, insecurities aren’t fun ahhh. You’re totally right though! That’s definitely a good thing to keep in mind – we’re all different and have our own qualities :)

  4. If it makes you feel any better those books you see in bookstores went through way more people than just the writer themselves. It also went through a literary agent, an editor, several beta readers, back to the writer for more editing ect (because all these groups of people will make different changes to the book). In a way the books in the bookstore are sorta only written by the author with a whole lot of input and changes from professionals.

  5. I used to get sooo insecure about my own writing when I read amazing books and I still do, but I’m slowly getting better at realising that it’s actually okay to have a shitty first draft. Everyone had a shitty draft at some point ( I hope) and what we read is something that’s been rewritten and polished and edited.

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  7. MICHELLE I LOVE YOUR GIFS SO MUCH and also ummm relatable?? sorry i haven’t commented on your posts much i’ve been procrastinating too much lmao

    but also,,, YOU WATCH OURAN HIGH SCHOOL HOST CLUB??? UMM IT WAS SO GOOD I LOVED IT OMG i only watched the anime so far, but i started it a while ago and DID NOT FINISH IT

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  9. Oh, I love this post!! I definitely feel inescure about my own writing when I read really good books — how could I ever write something as good as that?? — but then I also get to take in their writing style & learn from it & be inspired by it. So that’s good!! But when I read the bad books, I feel better about myself. πŸ˜‚

    Oh and I think it’s wonderful that you say not to give in to insecurities! I feel like it’s important to have those insecurities because that’s how you get motivated to do better, just as long as you don’t get depressed by it. 😊

    • Thank you May! Yeah that’s very true – I know my writing has improved by reading good books as well as I learned a lot from them. Haha once in a while we just need to read a really bad book to feel better about our writing πŸ˜‚

      That’s very true! Having insecurities is also very normal, but they shouldn’t get you down and lead to quitting something you love

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