Why writers shouldn’t compare themselves

What are your writing goals for 2017?

I must confess, I’m still figuring mine out. It’s summer school holidays here in Australia at the moment. The kids don’t go back to school until the end of January, so I tend not to get too focused on my writing again until early February.

I can promise that HEARTBREAKER, book 2 in the Hollywood Hearts series, will be out mid-year. As for late 2017, I’m still deciding. I’m not sure whether to work on the next book in this series or try a standalone to mix things up a bit. Instinctively, we tend to look to others and see what they’re doing, but this isn’t always wise…

Writers thou shalt not compare

There’s a lot of writing advice being thrown around. Some good, some bad. I think one piece of advice that is important and has a lot of merit is: try not to compare yourself.

Easier said than done, of course.

What about the writer who just scored that big publishing contract? Or the other writer you know who made the best seller list? It can be difficult not to feel a pang of discomfort when you’ve been slogging away just like they have and the results are very different.

Stick to your own lane (or your own page)

I was reminded of this in the swimming pool recently. Stay with me here. I promise this will make sense in just a second!

I swim laps regularly. I was never a team sport sort of person (I’m a writer, need I say more?) Swimming not only keeps me fit, it’s sanity saving. My meditation, if you will.

Anyway, we were on holidays last week and I visited a local pool to do my laps (yep, I do my laps on holidays, too – see paragraph above).

Apart from all the kids, there was only one other lady in the lane next to me swimming laps. Coming from a busy Sydney suburb, this equals bliss for me. A whole lane to myself! I was going to really enjoy this swim…

Except I couldn’t help noticing the lady next to me. She was older than me and yet she powered past me effortlessly.

Now, I’m no Olympic athlete, but I’m no slow poke either. I have one of those swim watches I time myself on and like to challenge myself to swim faster.

So when this woman breezes past me, my mentality of just taking it easy and enjoying a lane to myself vanishes.

I pick up my pace a bit, but still she breezes past.

What the?

It took me a few more laps to apply an imaginary face palm to my forehead. She was wearing fins!

I’m embarrassed it took me that long to realise. In my local pool, plenty of other swimmers wear fins, but it was a good lesson nonetheless.

Don’t compare yourself (if you can help it). You never know what’s going on under the surface – literally in this case! Everyone’s journey is different, so keep focused on your own. Writing is not a competition, although many may suggest it’s a labour of love 😉

What do you think? Is it dangerous to compare your writing career to others?

 

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Why writers shouldn’t compare themselves

  1. eliinprogress says:

    I do think that it can be dangerous to compare yourself to others. I understand this, especially as a newbie at this whole blogging thing and in the writing world in general. We see so many others who seemingly breeze past us and find success and gain followers/readers so much quicker… and it can be hard to want to continue when you feel so far behind and/or not good enough.

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