Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Don't Compare, Be Inspired

Insecure Writer's Support Group--September Edition

This past week, my good friend and myself started to talk about writing. We're both working hard on our series and trying to get them complete and out into the world. She is quite a bit further than myself and is progressing at a level I wish I could accomplish now.

But, I was surprised when she said she didn't feel like she was doing near enough. This is a girl who is working full-time, about to get started her semester, dealing with crazy family adventures, and life in general. And she STILL has a work in progress that is being written with great care, emotion, and time. Yet she still felt like it was not enough.

She was comparing herself to another author who would lock himself up for weeks and do nothing but write, hours a day, non-stop.

It didn't seem right to me. She is such a talented, incredible writer who is writing on a full-time schedule and she still doesn't feel like it is enough.

Being a writer, new to the field, is very hard to see the greatness you have in your hands. I think most everyone compares themselves to someone else. I know I have! Back to Christopher Paolini--the guy got his story out when he was younger than myself. How can I not compare myself to that? How can I not feel lazy when he got a best-selling, movie inspiring book so young? Or the fact that my friend is so far ahead when we started at around the same time?

You can't do this. It pressures you in a way I don't think is healthy. You're comparing yourself to someone different, with a different life, from a different time and it is not fair to you or your work.

If you have a life outside of writing, don't sacrifice it (job, family, health, school, etc.). By doing that you will probably hurt yourself and, in turn, your writing.

If you feel too pressured you're going to rush, you're going to lose your writing style, and you will add even more time to your schedule because you will have to go back and rewrite AGAIN.

You need to be who you are as you write. You also need to be fair to yourself. Not everyone works the exact same. Some work great on a tight schedule and under pressure. Some don't. Some are able to get hours in of writing during a full life-schedule and some can only get in thirty minutes. Some authors had nothing to do but write and the majority of people today have everything to do except write.

Don't let your confidence be shaken in who you are as a writer because others write more. Instead, you need to be inspired from their accomplishments. That author get published younger than you? Take it as a healthy challenge to get just a bit more time set aside for writing.

There is a difference between feeling pressured by comparing yourself to an author and being inspired by them. I need to stop thinking I'm not a hard-worker because I am not finished with my first book. My friend needs to stop thinking she isn't one because she doesn't lock herself up to write. And others need to stop thinking that they are less of a writer if they don't get something accomplished by a certain time.

We all have our own personal beat. Don't try to copy someone else's if it really doesn't work for you.

Another little advice to go with this: Don't be afraid to go to someone on occasion to get an ego-boost! You certainly don't want to make a habit of it, because as writers we need critiques to progress and evolve. However, it is because we are writers that we need to get some compliments about something that we are doing.

Writing is a difficult task, even if you're doing it just for fun. This is something that takes hard-work and  a lot of emotion. It is very easy to get lost and down because of how long it is taking to write something to the fact the work is getting rejected. Go to a friend, family, or fellow writer and ask if they can just tell you the good things about your work for that day.

Sometimes, the critiques and things that need to change or what we need to do to get better overwhelms us and overshadows what we're doing great on. So go out there and take in some positive feedback. You deserve it.


  1. Great post with good advice. Comparing yourself to other writers will always overwhelm you - I like that. Thanks for sharing this. Cheers.

  2. I totally agree with you. We are always looking at how other writers are doing, or did, to measure us against them. Most of the time nothing good comes out of it but depression and a tumbling self-confidence. We need to move at our own pace. You have to put your everything into everything you do, but asking yourself more than that is not only physically impossible, it makes you unproductive. To stop living other areas of your life will also bring tragic consequences that won't make you happy. Even if you turn into a big celebrity, will it be worth it to have sacrificed your loved ones to that? I don't think so.

    Great post!

  3. You're absolutely right, Paige! Every writer is different. We all have different methods, different schedules, different work habits, and as you mentioned, different life obligations. It's absolutely no use to compare yourself to another writer and beat yourself up because you're not (seemingly) as productive as they are. Just focus on yourself. If there's room for improvement, of course you should go for it! But there's no reason to hold yourself against someone else.

  4. I completely agree! Last year I took a creative writing class at my uni and the teacher was so wonderful. He knew we had busy schedules and gave us the freedom just to write whenever and wherever we can. He told us to listen to our bodies and let the words come to you. At the end of the semester we would all turn in our short stories and all the students gave each story a feedback. That really me in improving my work.

  5. This is an awesome, awesome post topic! I agree with you whole-heartedly and I have an inkling of a feeling that some thank yous are in order on my part :)

    Doing things at your own pace and believing in your own way and your own writing, that is so, so important. I wish I had more faith in what I just said, but I'm glad that you do. Keep on doing what you're doing, how you're doing it, and more importantly, keeping believing that your writing is amazing and worthy of publication, because it most DEFINITELY is.

  6. I agree with you..besides I could be locked up in an empty room a whole week...if the words don't's useless. I think we all have moments of inspiration...when they come we should take fully advantage of them.