Good Isn’t Good Enough

I’ve been telling stories since before I knew how to write. I taught myself how to type when I was five just so I could write out my stories. Writing is in my blood, and it probably is for a lot of you.

Then you’ve probably also been told many times throughout your life that you’re a good writer. It becomes a title almost synonymous with your name. Teachers, peers, relatives told me all through growing up that I was a good writer. Which at the time was great. It encouraged me to write more, to push myself further. 

And then somehow, it just stopped. I plateaued. I reached a point, around high school, where I was a really good writer. I’d written books, had my own style and voice, had a system. 

I was good. And that was enough. 

I stayed that way for years. It wasn’t until I finally ventured into the writing community that I got a rude awakening. Suddenly, I wasn’t the only good writer in the room, I was surrounded by them.


At first, I was intimidated, insecure, disheartened. What now? Surely I had no hope against countless other writers just as good as I was. 

It took me a while to learn and truly understand the answer, but I’m so glad I did. Over time, I stopped seeing the community as competition and started seeing it as just that–a community. A support group, a panel of advisors, a limitless encyclopedia, a family.

I learned more in a few months with the writing community than I learned in an entire lifetime of writing on my own. Good wasn’t good enough anymore. So I had to be better. 

Writers are a bit infamous for how hard we are on ourselves. But honestly, I think that’s what changes us from good to great. If you don’t ever think you’re good enough, you will constantly be working towards better.

If you want to be a successful writer, never stop learning. Have your writing critiqued as much as you can. Learn from those wiser and more experienced than you. Read. Write. Read again. Write more. Push yourself as much and as far as you can. Humble yourself. Learn. Grow.

Don’t ever be okay with being a good writer. Because good isn’t good enough. 
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19 thoughts on “Good Isn’t Good Enough

  1. I think being told I was good at things that came easily to me made me lazy. I got good grades in elementary school, without really trying very hard. Things came easily to me, and I was told I was smart. So when they got harder (as they do in higher grades!), I was unprepared for the concept of working hard for better results; I coasted by on minimal effort, lowered my expectations of grades (I never got any familial pressure about academic performance), and passed everything anyway. I scraped through the hard stuff, and excelled at the stuff I was naturally good at. It still takes a significant mental adjustment to work harder when I am stuck or struggling. I constantly have to remind myself that I’m not stupid, I just haven’t worked it out yet. Writing has been a huge lesson in this for me.

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  2. I know exactly what you are talking about. I was also told I was a good writer by everyone…..by people who were not writers themselves. I was always hard on myself, and people didn’t understand it – they would say: “oh, but you’re an amazing writer!” because they just didn’t know that there ARE lots of good writers out there, that I wasn’t the only one. Then I trained to be a journalist and was surrounded by other good writers 24/7 and I became even harder on myself. Yet family and friends STILL didn’t understand why I was always striving for better. Now I’ve accepted that only other writers can understand the whole “writing” thing: the pain, the doubts, the always searching for the better word, better sentence, releasing your work but never being fully satisfied with it….etc….
    Your friends, family and random strangers read your stuff and tell you it’s “amazing”, but you know that it isn’t and that’s okay. The writer friends you’ve made along the way understand 🙂

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  3. [ Smiles ] Victoria, I think that you are a gifted writer.

    Even though there is always room for improvement, I do not think that you should be too hard on yourself!

    Do enjoy the rest of your day and it certainly a pleasure dropping by your blog.

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    • You start with these blogs. Haha.

      You can also go on Twitter and play with the #amwriting hashtag (use it yourself; find people using it) and see if you can follow anyone interesting. I personally haven’t done much with Twitter.

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    • Hi there! Well you’re already a part of the writing community, if you’re involved with blogs and writers 🙂 I started out with a real-life writing group, but it kind of happened by chance and it can be hard to find one near you, but it’s definitely worth looking into because they’re fabulous if you can find one! There’s also a huge writing presence and community on Twitter, which I absolutely recommend joining. My Twitter is @vdavenportwrite, so feel free to add me 🙂

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  4. I take it a beta reader or two didn’t like a few bits of your MS.

    I got a lot of “you’re a good drawer” as a kid. Didn’t share any of my writing with anyone aside from my teacher. They gave me some praise, but it was largely ’cause they were comparing my work to those of my classmates who couldn’t care less about writing. 🙂

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    • Haha, I meant more like there is always room for improvement, and being willing to see that and make changes is what makes you a truly great writer 🙂 It took me a long time to be able to share my writing with people, more so as I was older and it was more nerdy than cool. But don’t say that! I think you would know if people really didn’t like your writing, whether they’re writers or not, so definitely take it as praise 🙂

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  5. I just joined a writing group at my public library. My first meet will be the end of March so I’m hoping it all goes well. I already met everyone in the group and most of them are much older than I am. Some have way more experience than I do and others are just starting out. It’ll be a fun adventure.

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  6. 1) Just need to say you have some of the best writing posts online, Victoria!
    2) Totally know what you mean. The writing community can be scary at first, especially for people – like myself! – that don’t come from writing backgrounds/communities IRL.

    Writing is a craft, and one’s ability only gets better over time! With constant learning, of course.

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  7. It helps to also read things outside of your genre. A lot of writers say “I’m a fantasy/contemporary/sci-fi/romance/insert genre author, I don’t really care for reading that!”

    While people shouldn’t read books that they absolutely know they wouldn’t like, it is good to read up on books outside of what you write. It gives you more perspective and into the way different stories are constructed.

    In between edits of my current book, I’ve been scribbling down ideas for things and writing short stories and poems. As you said, I gotta keep learning and keep moving! Writing prompts are also great ways to do this.

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