Comparison Is Toxic
Teddy Roosevelt once said that, "Comparison is the thief of joy."
I didn't write a blog post last week as I was busy with a multitude of things tied around my budding career as a writer - so let me fill you in on some of the thoughts that have bombarded their way into my mind over the last two weeks.
I've recently joined a wonderfully supportive Facebook group for self-published writers, like myself, which has proven to be an absolute font of knowledge and a tremendously GOOD idea. Whilst I've scoured the posts, announcements, and documents that this Facebook group has compiled to help writers everywhere, I HAVE however found myself doing something I haven't done for a long time.
I've been looking at the success of others in this Facebook group, which has been insurmountably LARGER than mine ( so far, ;-D ), and I've been looking on with envy and comparing my processes and success with theirs. When I realize that they're doing so much more than me in the way of marketing and book sales, I start to feel the familiar pangs of self-doubt and overwhelming loss of motivation.
We've all done this.
Okay, maybe some of us are freaks of nature who can take this type of thing and turn it into a positive that motivates us to keep on going. And yeah, I think I'm doing that at the moment. But I wasn't immediately. The majority of us can easily lose our way, our driving dedication, our 'reason' to do something, when we begin to compare ourselves to the success of others. It makes us feel as if we'll never be able to compete.
But, seriously, why? What's the point?
Author A writes 70,000 words a week and releases 2 books a month - his readers are constantly fed with content, they're invested in him, and his book sales show it. He's got a gargantuan mailing list of subscribers and his marketing is top-notch.
Author B writes 4,000 words a week. He struggles to get 2 books out a year - marketing isn't his thing, and he has to support his dream with a full time job that eats away at his writing time.
If I'm Author B, why would I compare myself to Author A? Why would you, if you were Author B? What if Author A is a single bachelor who doesn't have much in the way of responsibilities? And you, or me, as Author B has kids, and/or a spouse, plus our full time job to boot. Our circumstances are DIFFERENT - everyone's are. What Author A can achieve is always going to be different than what Author B can achieve. He was dealt a different hand than we were.
You bet I'm going to take advantage of mine though - I don't have space in my mind for this negativity. Neither should you. Push it away, it's not doing anything for you. Yeah I can only write 4,000 words, but I'm going to make those the best damn 4,000 words you've ever read in your life. Yeah I've got a full time job, and kids and a wife, but I'm going to write with my gin and tonic nearby, little by little, when the kids are in bed and the wife is watching her soaps. Yeah, I can only write 2 books a year - but those are some good books. Yeah marketing isn't my thing - but it's gonna be.
Author A is a stud - he's what you want to be, career-wise. But he's a goal, a symbol of what you need to be fighting for. You, and me, as the Author B's of this world, are going to get there or we're going to die trying. Because if tomorrow is your last day, at least you know you tried. You put in effort, you worked hard, you did your best and gave it your all.
Comparison really is the thief of joy - don't do it. Just do you.