You may have heard this before. It’s a quote from Voltaire, and something my creative writing professor was fond of saying this semester. It is also probably the most motivating thing I’ve ever been told.
I’m a good writer. I know this. However, I am not a great writer, though I know I have the potential to be. My professor pointed this out to me many times over the course of the semester, showing me where my writing was lacking and where it was undoubtedly lazy.
When we know we’re good at something, we will undoubtedly go through a period of stagnation. After all, we’re good, right? And it’s easy to be good. It doesn’t take a whole lot of effort.
I’m here to tell you that Good is a conniving piece of crap keeping you from being Great.
Great takes effort, and Great takes time — more than Good has ever asked of you, which is why many of us stick with second-best Good. But you are better than that. You deserve better, and you deserve to do yourself better. Do not stop because your work is Good. For writers, this often means that we are content with the first draft of our work, as long as we do some editing to make sure all the grammar is fine.
You are better. You can do better.
Analyze your characters. Analyze your plot. Analyze your sentence structure and word flow. Analyze the shifts in tone in your work. Do not settle for the first draft of your work because it’s Good, when you could put in more effort to be Great. This does not mean you need to revise and edit for years, but long enough until you feel, “This is something I am proud of, because this is a true expression of what I am capable of.”
Do yourself the service of producing your best work, and do not let Good stop you from pursuing the Great.