I've had quite a few of those books, but some of those top authors that manage to evoke that feeling of inadequacy out of me are Suzanne Collins, Ellen Hopkins, and Laurie Halse Anderson.
They are amazing writers. And with each of their books that I've read, I've torn through the pages, fallen in love with their characters, and felt like I lost a family member when the series or book was finished.
But instead of using their books as inspiration, I used their books as a way to punish myself and tell myself that I wasn't good enough, nor would I ever be good enough to write a book made of that much awesome.
And I've finally realized that my mentality is just plain stupid. I don't know what their journeys were like into their writing career. How many books were turned down before "the right" one hit, how many times they felt at the bottom of the barrel and "not good enough." (And if they had the I-Wrote-And-Sold-My-Very-First-Book-Within-A-Month Syndrome, then I'm covering my ears, and I don't want to hear it. La la la la la...)
My mentatlity was putting such a strain on my creativity and the ability to write for fun, so I decided to end that. I will continue to read those amazing authors, but instead of allowing it to bring me down, I am going to use what makes their books so riveting to my advantage, and put that same passion in my books. And when it's my time (if it's my time -- oh wait, do you have to have a complete book to have that time ready for you?) then great. No more writing to find an agent. No more following all "The Rules". No more beating myself up constantly.
Let me introduce you to the new and improved Tiffany Neal.
Nice to see you.
I feel good. Or maybe it's the black and plum hair dye seeping into my pores and damaging my brain. Either way, I'll take it.