The Next Step and The Whole Point

When reading the work of prodigiously–okay wildly–talented contemporaries–people like Natalie Lyalin, Heather Christle, Sabrina Orah Mark, Chelsey Minnis, Claire Becker–I tend to think first:

I love this. This is essential and beautiful.

And then at some point, my thoughts turn to my own work, and a voice says,

I can’t do anything like this.

It is all too easy to stop at that point, and stew, and–to drown out the voice–spend the next part of the day doing something that isn’t writing.

But the voice isn’t done talking.

That is going to have to be okay. There are other things I can do.

Listen to that, and return to your writing. This is the next step.

It’s not as if Chelsey Minnis can do what Sabrina Orah Mark does. It’s not as if Sabrina Orah Mark can do what Chelsey Minnis does. This is the whole point.