Wednesday, July 5, 2017 | By: Angela Brown

IWSG and A Lesson Learned

First Wednesday of the month brings your chance to share good news, spit fire on an issue, or commiserate with other writers who can understand your pain, genuinely congratulate you on your good thing, and be a support system that is rare to find.
First Wednesday of the month is...

Each month, there is a question you can answer. To check out what others are sharing, click here and hop along to other blogs.
So, about that question: What is one valuable lesson you've learned since you started writing?

There are so many lessons to learn on this journey called #writinglife. But one lesson that took some time, pain, emotional discomfort, and disappointment to learn is that comparisons can be the death of your writing career, if you let them.

We've all done this comparison thing a time or two...or twenty.
Comparing our books to other books of similarity.
Comparing our sales to other authors.
Comparing our writing style to other authors.
Comparing our writing journey to other authors.

It isn't that comparisons are bad. It's actually quite nice to compare and find similar characteristics in your own book that can be found in commercially successful novels. Being told that your writing style is enjoyable and that you capture the voice of the main character like such-an-such successful author is flattering. It can be helpful to see where you stand in order to set attainable goals.

But when you get wrapped up and tangled up in the comparisons, it's easy to lose focus, to lose your way because you're so lost in comparing your everything to all else occupying the world. Writing loses its fanatical hold on you. Perfection is an impossible finish line you struggle to reach. Your writing journey is no longer yours since you've given it over to the obsession of comparisons.

So what do you do?

Well, what I've done is take a step back when I realize that I'm caught in comparing my work or my journey to others instead of letting my characters speak through me. I give myself permission to know it's okay for me to be me. I'm not meant to be the next J.K. Rowling. I'm not meant to be the next anybody else.

I am meant to be my best ME.

How do you deal with comparisons of your writing, sales, and your journey to others?


Natalie Aguirre said...

Yes, agree with you on the importance of not comparing yourself like that. For me, I've fallen into comparing my slow writing self to others who can complete a manuscript successfully so much faster than me. Now I'm trying not to do that and to enjoy the process.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

What you said! Yes, we can only focus on being the best writer we can be.

Pat Hatt said...

Yeah, comparing will be the death of any writing career, so one just needs to do what they can do and screw the rest.

Jacqui Murray said...

That is a great lesson--to take a step back. Thanks for the reminder.

emaginette said...

The only person I compare myself to is me. Am I growing? The rest of the world is apples and oranges. :-)

Anna from elements of emaginette

Chrys Fey said...

In the beginning, I compared my writing to every book I read. It was damaging. I'm glad to say that I eventually got over that, but it took a lot of time.

Maria Zannini said...

That's a tough one. Even though it's self destructive, I can't help but go down that road. I'm smart enough not to go too far, but if I were really smart I wouldn't compare myself at all.

Pat Garcia said...

I have to admit that I don't compare and therefore I am thankful for that. I think it is because I realize that each writer has gone through some heavy up and downs to find his or her way.
Wishing you the best.
Shalom aleichem,
Pat G at Everything Must Change

Mark Noce said...

Yup, it can get crazy comparing oneself to others. I suppose as long as we feel good about the quality of our work, we at least have that to fall back on:)

Christine Rains said...

I'm guilty of getting sucked into comparing myself to others. But you are so right! We each have to shine as our own unique selves. :)

Sharon Marie Himsl said...

I've been learning the same thing. We need to trust ourselves as writers. It'so easy to get caught up in the comparison game.

D Biswas said...

In comparison lies the quickest route to misery. I do remind myself of this from time to time.


Ellie Garratt said...

You touched on the same thing I did - comparing ourselves to other writers can bring pain and doubt. Better to remember every writing journey is different.

Sara Beth Williams said...

I've learned the same thing. It goes along with learning how to find your own voice and not copy other authors' voices. The struggle I've had is finding the style of outlining and plotting that is uniquely my own, instead of copying others formats. While formulas and such will work, every writer writes differently and that's how it should be. I'm still learning, too.

Here's my

Catherine Stine said...

After a certain point I force myself to stop any type of comparison. The best antidote for me is simply to write.

koi seo said...

It'so easy to get caught up in the comparison game.


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