Writers: 5 Remedies for Inferiority Complex

Now we know that Voldemort is actually a teenage girl, it’s time to face a harsher truth: so are writers.

Maybe I’m generalizing. Maybe I’m the only writer who has mood swings like a teenage girl in puberty. Sometimes I believe my writing is better than many published contemporary authors. Most of the time, however, I doubt I will ever measure up against them.

When this doubt intensifies, I become so depressed I don’t want to write anything.

There are enough reasons to beat yourself down. Rejection slips are the classic culprit. But even before you submit anything, you may think that other writers have a better way with words or, simply, a larger vocabulary.

Maybe you think that compared to theirs, your writing looks like that of a typical Indonesian “tacky teenager”, a.k.a. alay. God, I hope not.

Maybe you often think, “I can never write like that.”

If the above symptoms occur to you, here are five remedies:

1. Blog.

First let’s admit that blogging is all about ego—we think our writing is interesting and our voice should be heard.

So let your blog be your ego booster. Cherish every like and every praise. Whenever in doubt, read them again to remind yourself why people like your writing.

2. Call yourself a writer.

Since I read “The Simple Reason You’re Not a Writer (Yet)” by Jeff Goins, I no longer call myself an aspiring writer. It makes me feel inferior; and that’s the last thing I need.

I believe you are a writer long before you publish anything. So call yourself a writer and be proud of it.


3. Declare yourself the best writer.

If you haven’t watched “Midnight in Paris”, do. In this movie, fictional Hemingway (Corey Stoll) says:

“If you’re a writer, declare yourself the best writer! But you’re not as long as I’m around unless you want to put the gloves on and settle it.”

We all should have such pride and passion!

4. Take some time off.

In “On Writing”, Stephen King tells you to set your finished manuscript aside for “a minimum of six weeks”. He says it makes rewriting easier.

I find that it can also give you pleasant surprises when you finally pick it up again. Of course, the opposite may—and should—happen, but there will always be bits and pieces you like, which make you think: “Whoa. Did I really write this?”

5. Get published.

Like it or not, there’s no greater ego boost than this. I can only imagine the thrill published authors feel when they see those five-star reviews on Amazon; or those intelligently written praises on Goodreads; or quotes from professional critics such as The New York Times Book Review, which they can print on the cover of the next edition.

So let’s keep writing until we get published. Race you to it?

Do you (sometimes) have inferiority complex? If so, how do you deal with it?

Featured image taken from the movie “Midnight in Paris”.

Sky Sairyou
130113 11:03 PM
Antwerp, Belgium


5 thoughts on “Writers: 5 Remedies for Inferiority Complex

  1. A very thoughtful reflection. I may have wrote this to you earlier in a message, but when I was younger, attempting to become a writer, I went through a period when I refused to read contemporary fiction because I was either: a) jealous b) contemptuous (thinking I could do better) or c) afraid of being accused of plagarism.

    Now that I’m older and more confident in my writing, I read voraciously and learn from writers living and dead.

    • Thank you for reading this! No, you haven’t told me this. 🙂

      I can’t say I’ve been through a similar period; maybe I will someday, I don’t know. I don’t remember who it was who said that we should read everything, good writing and bad—even total crap. I think it was Stephen King, but I don’t remember the exact quote. Anyway, I think it’s true: we learn something from every kind of writing, even if it’s “I should not write like this”.

  2. Hi! I’m an Italian (not yet published) writer, and I’ll never be published, but it doesn’t mean I’m not gonna try or not gonna write anymore! I love what I create and won’t ever cease, so don’t get depressed and do what you like for yourself.

    • Hi! Thanks for reading this. I know that the chances of getting published (by major publishers) are slim, but like you, it’s not going to stop me writing either. Thanks for the encouragement and for the follow! 🙂

  3. Pingback: Where James Joyce Fails, Neil Gaiman Prevails | sairyou.me

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