This blog post will be inspired by school yet again. It's kind of sad how in the few blog posts I've put up since coming back to school, a lot of them have been about or inspired by school. But I promise, this one won't be boring...or at least I hope it won't.
In case you didn't know/forgot, for one class we're working exclusively with Jane Austen's Persuasion which is not only by one of my favorite authors, it's my favorite book by her. So, in case you've never been to a college-level English class working with a text, you tear that thing apart. You learn more than you ever could reading it on your own. I've basically been plummeted on the head every day with how brilliant Austen is (like I didn't already know). So in all of this and being overwhelmed by one of my favorite books yet again, I began to despair.
Why? Jane Austen is so brilliant. She has the best narrative voice I've ever read, she's so witty I can't even handle it, and on top of that she makes entertaining stories that also enlighten her audience. I could never produce something half as witty as she wrote. Then of course I thought of other books/authors that put me to shame. How could I ever plot and world-build like J.K. Rowling? How could I ever write action and characterization like Suzanne Collins? How could I ever write something so meaningful like Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird? How could I be funny like Kiersten White? I can't do it. I can't do it!
Then, in the midst of my darkness, a small trickle of light came. I don't have to be like them. Think about all of the real greats out there. None of them is the same. Each author has different strengths. Sure, overall they make the elements of style, plot, characters, setting, etc. work together. But they all do it differently, and one area is clearer than others. Why pressure myself to be like them? I need to be me and find what I do best. I need to find what's important for me to share, not try to copy my favorite authors. Somewhere, at the edge of my fingertips, my voice and purpose as a writer is there, waiting to break free. I need to search and find it.
Plus, if you've ever read Love and Freindship, a collection of stories Jane Austen wrote as a teenager, you start to feel better about yourself. Because if she started out like that and ended up as she did, then there's hope for all of us.