Wednesday, May 6, 2015

IWSG - Your Path is Your Own

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First Wednesday of the month is a chance for IWSGers to visit one another, encourage, enlighten and/or help a bud understand they are not alone in their struggle. I'm glad for this group because it's far more helpful than I can express.

I saw something the other day that made me glad for the author but worked like a lance of irritation in my gut. They shared about some fantastic sales numbers they got in one month. I felt myself slip into the "comparison zone." This is a dangerous place to be, especially when things aren't going so well. After a brief "I'm doing this whole frigging thing wrong!" moment, I yanked myself from there (with the help of some delicious rainbow sherbet) and back on the solid ground that is my path.

That's what I had to remember, what is important to bear in mind: My path is my own.

Someone else may seem like positive results are coming easily for them. For a handful, it is, but not for most that have success coming out of their ears. Overnight success usually takes a lot of blood, sweat, tears, rejection, and sacrifice... and not simply overnight.

My path has been filled with some interesting twists and turns, particularly this year. But it's mine. I've got to make the best of the highs and the lows.

Have you ever slipped into "comparison zone?" If so, what are some things you do to deal?

36 comments:

  1. Yes, I've done that too. It's easy to do, especially when everyone else is productive and you're not writing-wise. But we all have our own paths. And working and being a parent are very important too. You're doing what you need to do right now.

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    1. That comparison zone is hard place to be but it's good to know that others understand.

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  2. Oh yes. I think that zone is a danger in many areas of life. That's why it's so important to learn to be comfortable in our own skins. (Spoken like I've actually accomplished that mentality...) Haha!

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  3. Oh boy. I sure have played that game before. But you're right, we all have our own paths to walk and sometimes those paths are bright and beautiful and sometimes they're dark and dreary and uphill all the way. We just have to keep hoping there's something good at the end.

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    1. I certainly wouldn't mind a more beautiful path (lol!) But mine is mine and I will work it the best I can.

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    2. I certainly wouldn't mind a more beautiful path (lol!) But mine is mine and I will work it the best I can.

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  4. I spend way too much time in the comparison zone. It's hard to break that habit but I'm trying to get over it.

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    1. You are not alone when it comes to being in the comparison zone, Julie.

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  5. I have been in that comparison zone a lot. So now I just don't even pay attention to other author's rankings, number of reviews, likes, followers, etc. I'm proud of what I have though, because it took a lot of hard work and dedication. :)

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    1. That's a positive way to look at it. I'll keep working in that direction.

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  6. OH YEAH, it is really easy to slip into that comparison, and no good can come of it. Just envy, jealousy, resentment, and insecurity. So I try -- I really try -- not to pay attention to those benchmarks for other people and just concentrate on my own. (Doesn't always work, but I try ...)

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    1. Got to keep trying, Dianne. Got to keep trying :-)

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    2. Got to keep trying, Dianne. Got to keep trying :-)

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  7. It's so easy to fall into that trap. It happened regularly to me when I was younger but now I recognize it for the waste-monster it is and move on. Not my circus, not my monkeys. :)

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    1. Re: waste monster

      That's a view to help keep away from tripping into the comparison zone.

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  8. I try not to linger in the comparison zone, but it's tricky sometimes. Now i don't look at other people's numbers. Or I tell myself they're cheating. ;)

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    1. I'm reducing the amount of numbers watching myself.

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  9. A handful of my books have sold this year. But I haven't been pushing them. I need to write faster and put out more

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    1. You and I are probably in the same boat :-)

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    2. You and I are probably in the same boat :-)

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  10. I love this post so much, I might have to print it out and tape it to my bathroom mirror! I hate that comparison zone. I wish my mind didn't work that way - or that it was simpler to pick and choose when it was a constructive way of thinking (has helped me to write steadily) and turn it off when it is destructive. I feel ya, sistah! I admire your strength to recognize it and pull out fast.

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    1. Please feel free to print it out, tape it up, and share it with others dealing with this as well.

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  11. It's so hard to remember that each writer's path is different. I do slip into the comparison zone. It's even worse when you compare what happened with one book with another book and both books are ones you wrote. Every book is different just as every writer is different. We need to remember that. And now I want rainbow sherbet. I haven't had any in years. Heh.

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    1. You make an important point. Now for more rainbow sherbet :-)

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  12. My editor always tells me to just write the story. Don;t worry about what genre it is or who you might be compared with. Just write it and all these things will sort themselves out in the end.

    Stephen Tremp
    IWSG Co-host

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    1. Just write. Excellent advice to keep in mind.

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    2. Just write. Excellent advice to keep in mind.

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  13. Great attitude, Angela. We each have our own path. Overnight success hides a lot of work that went in before that happened.

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    1. Overnight successes take a whole lot of work.

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  14. I did that too; comparing my no-payment received for my few short story publications to people who are racking up extra dollars each month for theirs. But, I don't produce much, so can't complain :)

    I like the positive attitude.

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    1. I'm trying to keep the positive attitude and focus on the love of writing. Comparing can make that hard, but I am trying.

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  15. I think we've all done it, pretty much at every point in our journey. You did well to catch yourself and re-focus on the path that is yours alone.

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  16. Oh yes that's a dangerous place to go, bringing envy, frustration, discouragement and even making the writer want to give up altogether. I try to remember there's a difference between Art and Money-- our art we can control but money we can't. We cannot force sales. We cannot create success, we can only create art.

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  17. I'm also an editor which keeps me cheering for a good book that doesn't always get the sort of quality recognition I wish it did. A few of my authors have hit the big time and reinforce the fact that sometimes fate plays a hand in success... Not that these authors aren't some of the hardest working individuals I know, but often I think it should be called the NYTimes Best Selling lottery because timing and numbers are everything. I've heard many say they wished they knew what they did,

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Talk to me :-)
Comments are welcome.