Sunday, 3 August 2008

We're not worthy

I've finished reading Wicked at long last. It provides a surprisingly human take on the Wizard of Oz story, but the main character is possibly a little too spikey. Since then I've been reading Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams, which has reminded me of one important thing: I shouldn't read too much of the greats of a particular genre just after writing in it.

It seems like a silly rule, doesn't it? But imagine the scene. I've just switched off my computer after writing another thousand words of what I think is pretty good comic fantasy, I've picked up this book, and I've come face to face with comedy that is sharper, funnier, and simply better than what I've just written. Yes, of course I'll make it better with the next draft, but it's still a great way of making yourself feel inferior. I'm put in mind of those musicians who've insisted that they gave up playing for a week or two after hearing the likes of Jeff Beck or Art Tatum, simply because they knew they'd never play quite that well. Hopefully, I'll also emulate the next bit, which is to plunge back into it with renewed effort.

In other news, both England cricket captains have resigned. We'll find out who the new one is tomorrow (ish) and I suspect that Andrew Strauss is probably the strongest contender, but until then I can at least hope that (overly exciteable spinner) Monty Panesar gets the gig.


Stephanie said...

Oh, wow, I totally know what you mean! Sometimes I'm just so intimidated by other published authors that I feel myself wilting as I return my gaze to my own writing. I guess you just have to push your way through it or you'll end up self-sabotaging all of your accomplishments thus far. Hang in there! There's always time to polish and sharpen on the next draft.

stu said...

As the old writer's phrase goes 'if something's worth doing, it's worth doing badly.'