Intimidating geniuses

Don’t you find sometimes that reading something truly ingenious and marvellous makes you wonder if you can ever create something that good? Like, my favourite authors and pieces often give me this feeling – especially that my English will, however hard I struggle, never be as good as a native speaker’s (not to mention a professional writer’s).

It must be like that with all kinds of art… or goals, actually. Take my thesis, for instance (burying me alive right now, btw). I’ve found some great sources to use, including a four hundred page PhD paper (focusing on a different market, but that’s beside the point), improved to what is IMHO close to perfection. And it’s a great source, not only of information, but also of motivation to see that the thing can be done so well… and meanwhile, am I the only one who sometimes wonders? Or not exactly wonders, because consciously I know that I shouldn’t care and I should go for my best and what I do is unique anyway blah blah… but the question mark stays right there, hanging in the air.

It may also be because I’m quite a competitive person and pretty much of a perfectionist. So people out there with similar thoughts, how do you cope? Is it only me getting blocked – and inspired – by seeing what is possible?


Categories: Writer's block | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “Intimidating geniuses

  1. One thing I do now and then is remind myself not to compare my work to my favourite writers’ masterpieces, because I’m not at that point on my path yet. If you read biographies of authors, you’ll find out that most of them didn’t “hit the jackpot” with the first manuscripts they had ever written. On the contrary, most writers have their first novels that never get published, or the one following the so-called masterpiece, which then turns out to be a failure, or the manuscript that has to be rewritten about twenty times before it is accepted. It’s worth looking behind the curtains sometimes 🙂

    • Yes, I guess I need that reminder quite often. Now you mention I remember one author sharing three or four versions of the beginning of her very same book – with a few years’ and rewrites’ difference (forgot who and can’t find the post bookmarked – such a pity… I’ll keep looking). She showed how some aspects of her writing improved over that time and how she could see her earlier mistakes so much better.
      I experience the same thing. I guess one has always to learn more and there’s no such thing as perfection. This doesn’t stop me from being a perfectionist… and sometimes I like to doubt. Perhaps there is a point where you surpass ‘perfect’ and that’s what you call Art.

  2. i feel that all the time- “If i could write a thing like this….” 🙂

  3. Nimretil

    I am usually inspired to write when reading something really good but yes sometimes i feel i will never be able to create such a perfect writing. Never mind, the most important is that you should never give up!

    Argghh… looks like I slowly forget how to speak in english. Some practise is needed.

    • Exactly my opinion – as long as we don’t give up, we always have a chance. And practice is always needed. That’s what a blog is good for – among other things. 😀
      I’ve tried some new ways of improving my English recently, like taking notes in my favorite books (feels like sacrilege at first, writing in a book) and picking up vocabulary from the text itself. I find it works much better when you can actually turn the pages than by highlighting in e-books.
      I’m also experimenting with free-writing exercises, also in English. Hmm, these may actually be worth a post or two.

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