There are three kinds of writers. There are “sprinters”: people who write projects in a hurry and fix the typos later. There are “plodders”: people who write in a disciplined, steadfast way and always meet deadlines.
I am what’s known in the writing business as a “bleeder.”
That doesn’t necessarily mean that I write with my heart on my sleeve (even though I know I do, occasionally). It means I am distracted by my own grammatical and syntactical mistakes. I have ludicrously high expectations for myself. I am surrounded by distractions that are not necessarily under my control. I am mortally afraid of failure.
As a result, I write very, very slowly.
I expect myself to be the next Flannery O’Connor. The next Ray Bradbury. The next O. Henry. I expect my writing to be deep and intricate and to plumb the depths of human nature, yet to come out smiling.
I am incapable of these things. I am not a brilliant writer because I do not practice. I do not practice because I get swallowed alive by a thousand duties that I neglect my duty as a writer to do what I am. I set out to write stories, but have written precious few, and none worth mentioning.
I am not Flannery O’Connor. I’m Stephanie Meyer.
But then again, maybe it’s asking too much of myself to become a Flannery O’Connor unless I let myself start as a Stephanie Meyer. If I never start, I’ll never improve. No matter how poor the start, there’s nothing that won’t improve with practice.
And I can’t expect to write like anyone but me.