I was having a bit of a down day when the idea for this post was born. I was soaking in the bath, wondering what to write about and thinking about my writing success compared to other peoples. Basically I was feeling like I was getting nowhere fast and feeling massively sorry for myself about it. At 32 years of age you would think I would have stopped comparing myself to others, it rarely does me any good. But I did and I will do it again despite my best efforts not to.
It is something I think we are taught to do early in life though. Parents at the school gate compare their children and kids hear that. Most of the time it is not intended to be harmful or arrogant, it’s a way to measure where your kid stands in their peer group, gauging if they need help. And so, as a child you learn it is a way of seeing where you’re at in life. Sometimes it can be motivating, spurring you on to do better, other times it makes you feel horrible and you wonder why you bother. I was at that last point when this blog post was born.
The thought that got me going was that I have no real idea what is going on in the lives of the people I was comparing myself to. I only see the highlights of their career on social media, just like they only see mine (except for this blog, I’m painfully honest on here. Sorry). Also, they may have a successful blog or Facebook page, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to get published soon. Realistically it will help, but it is not an absolute. And in all honesty I wish them all the success in the world, I just wasn’t feeling very successful myself at that point.
So I figured I would write a post about comparing yourself to others and it not really being that helpful. But then I read a blog post about 10 traits of professional authors. If you want to read it click here. One of the traits talked about treating writing like a business and that just like an employee, if you don’t show up you don’t get paid. To my dawning horror I realised I wasn’t ‘showing up’ consistently. No wonder I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere, I’m constantly stopping and starting again and that’s just exhausting.
I do have a daily writing habit, but the trouble is I chop and change what project I focus on. End result being that I’m part way through editing one, first draft of another, have another first draft laying around and have several rough ideas jotted down. Some people find this perfectly manageable, I am not one of them. I find that I’m getting tired keeping up with my projects and consequently not giving them my full attention.
Upshot of this is that I’m going to schedule my days and focus on what I’m doing, not other people. Monday is blog and social media, Tuesday first draft, Wednesday editing, Thursday first draft and Friday whatever needs to be focused on. Weekend is for family. I’m still finding my rhythm with this. Writing as a career was a dream as a child, but reality is harder. But I’m determined and also, I love it. Yeah it has its moments, but in all honesty I wouldn’t stop. Also, comparing yourself to others sucks. Try not to do it. Happy creating everyone!