Stop comparing your writing

Michelle Lee-Ann
5 min readAug 29, 2019

Sometimes, my writing is aboslute crap. Other times, I feel like I’m the most gifted writer in the history of writers and words just flow perfectly from my mind through my fingers and onto the computer screen. Everything seems to be working how it should be, how society made it to be, the only thing I’m missing is a cigarette and a glass of whisky. And, honestly, I can easily get that glass of whisky.

Most of the time, my writing is in between both of those things. Not crap, but not perfectly eloquent and wonderful. Things are kind of flowing, but I have to work a little harder for my voice to come out, and sometimes, it doesn’t shine through. I worry about my grammar and my sentence structure and whether or not I’m really using that word correctly. I wonder if someone else’s work is better than mine and if I should edit this piece or that piece just a little bit more to try to get that perfect rhythym that doesn’t come. Editing your work, though definitely needed, shouldn’t be edited so much that it kills the tone, kills the whole reason people read your work in the first place.

Hunter S. Thompson was so fucked up most of the time that his editors had to de-scramble his faxes sent through the mojo-wire. Now, there was often a nugget of genius in them, but once the drugs started to take over, his writing, looking at solely his sentence structure and grammar and all that jazz, well, it sucked. They cleaned it up, making it suitable for readers to, you know, actually read, but they didn’t take away his voice, they didn’t take away what made it Gonzo Journalism.

you can’t let your own voice go. It’s why people read your blog or column or books.

While I’ll never be able to write like Hunter S. Thompson (or do the amount of drugs to get that brain going), I’ll know that editing, especially over-editing, isn’t needed. Feedback helps, mistakes need to be caught, changes always need to be made, but over-analyzing every single word isn’t needed.

Can I write like Hemingway? Well, no, because I know how to end a sentence and don’t think that a toilet paper roll needs to be described in excruciating detail. But, read that sentence, again. A major complaint against one of the greats, one of the writer’s that we study in Universities…

Michelle Lee-Ann

Recently published kid's book author, lover of all things Karl Lagerfeld, Golden Girls enthusiast, and finds happiness in books from Hemingway to Harlequin.