Writer's Envy

I've found a few books recently I wish I'd written. My life has been in a stewpot of smelly mess recently (cleaned that one up, as the words that accurately describe what's been going on aren't used in decent society), and I've been striving to find time to read new authors for a contest I'm judging. A handful of these guys are gggoooodddd. Others are solid. All have talent. But good golly Miss Molly, how did some of them break out of the gate with such stellar debuts?

I re-read my debut novel, Morgan's Land, a Western published in the early eighties, and cringed at some of my rookie mistakes. On the flip side, I discovered pieces here and there that lit up the page, so it wasn't a lost cause. To cut myself some slack, I reminded myself that writing styles have changed a ton in the years since. But I had nowhere the level of sophistication of some of these new authors.

I am impressed. I want to write them fan letters. And I need to get back to my own writing before I forget all I've learned since that first novel was published eons ago.