I've started reading a new book (second time around) which I hoped would only taint my style in the best of ways.
It's the wonderful 'Big Little Lies' by Liane Moriarty, which is a masterclass in voice, pace, character, plotting...for me, it has everything I'd love to achieve, including a wonderful feel-good element despite being (essentially) about a murder.
But yesterday I'd edited my own work in progress and (I'm a bit ashamed to say it, so I'll whisper it quietly) I was actually pretty impressed with the chapter I was working on. I thought I'd done a good job. I actually got a little fizz in my tummy, because I could imagine it being good enough for someone else to read; I could imagine self-publishing it, or even sending it out to agents.
Aha, I arrogantly thought to myself, I CAN write! Maybe only in flashes, and I let myself down frequently, and there's laziness in there that needs editing out, but if I can get better at plotting and character, I might actually achieve my dream.
I can't tell you how good that felt.
And then I went to bed. And read the first chapter of Big Little Lies.
And realised how far I am from being a decent writer.
Liane Moriarty is incredible; there's no pretension in her work, and her characters are so fascinating and likeable and true-to-life even when they're doing or saying things that really ought to put us off. Important information is drip fed with the lightest touch, so that things she doesn't want us to notice yet aren't registered at all, and all this with a sense of humour that makes her books a true delight.
I'm in awe, and also feel very discouraged. I'm not sure I've even found my voice yet, but the one I have is very bland and dull in comparison.
And now, back to editing...