Why don't my knit stitches look like the ones in the book or in the videos?

I have been knitting off and on for over the past 5 years. I am a simple knitter. I have made scarfs, gloves, easy to knit and purl patterns. I have started knitting again for the holidays, but my knit stitches do not look anything like the ones from my previous projects or like the ones in books or videos. It seems like I only can make the correct knit stitch when I am knitting in the round. I am using the right size needles with the right yarn. I have watched video after video to see what I am doing wrong and I still can’t figure it out. Please help me to do something that brings me joy and happiness. Thanks for any help and advice you can give me.

Hi and welcome to Knitting Help!
The fact that your knit stiches look correct (like nicely lined up Vs)when you knit in the round makes me think that you might be forgetting to alternate knit and purl rows when you knit back and forth (knitting flat). This with give you the nicely aligned Vs on one side and purl bumps on the other. This video for stockinette stitch shows you what I mean.

If it really bothers you, practice your knitting with some scrap yarn to get better with your tension. Relax and enjoy your knitting. We are our worst critics. There are no knitting police here.

Also, remember that outside of amateur blogs, most of the knitted pieces you see in the books, magazines, and web sites were done by master knitters. They have to pay big fees and have to know everything about knitting. They must learn several different ways to knit and they are judged by their perfect tension in order to get their certificates. So of course, their stitches will look perfect. The only way to match their perfection would be to become master knitters like them or to use a machine. Enjoy your knitting, eat chocolate, have a glass of wine, and relax.

The frustrations of trying to become a master knitter:

You might be wrapping the yarn ‘backwards’ for the purl stitches, so when you knit into the front leg on the knit row, it twists the stitches. Since you don’t purl much in the round they’re not twisted. Here’s some pictures that show what twisted stitches are like.

You don’t have to change how you purl, just make sure you knit into the back leg on the next row which will keep them straight. If you’re not sure about front/back leg, just knit into the leg closest to the tip of the needle.