Wednesday, December 4, 2013

IWSG: Compare Ourselves to Other Writers



Let me say that writing about the negativity in the publishing/writer world helps me a lot. So, I'm going to share these revelations with you all in hopes they help you as much as they help me!

I wanted to talk about comparisons today:

Puppy Twins!

Human Twins!

Puppy twins are Pepper (left) and Piper (right). Human twins are my bubba and me! Yes, we are really twins, I'm not just saying that for the sake of this post. Lol. Born 2 minutes apart, me and my bubba have spent twenty-three years together. That's been twenty-three years of bonding, fighting, and yes--comparison.

My bubba was held back in his transition from kindergarden to first grade. He went into a class called T1. Because of this, though we were twins, he was always been a grade behind me. People NEVER understood how my brother could not be like me. Why he wasn't as "smart" as me. Why wasn't he just like me? You don't have to be twins to experience this. You can be a sibling, a cousin, or just anyone, really.

The reason my brother is not like me is because he is not me. It's so simple.

It's the same with writing. We constantly compare ourselves to other writers. I realize this is a way we can relate to one another--similar experiences and all that jazz, but comparison can hurt us--it has hurt my brother and it's hurt countless others I know. It's cool to have high aspirations and say, "I want to be just like J.K. Rowling." But really, that's not realistic. Not because you can't accomplish what J.K. Rowling accomplished, because you can--I believe that with all my heart.

It's not realistic because you are not her

See, there are all sorts of quotes that tell you not to compare yourselves to others in some way. Some are: 

"Comparison is the death of joy." - Mark Twain

"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." - Oscar Wilde 

"It is not for you to judge the journey of another's Soul. It is for you to decide who You are, not who another has been or has failed to be." - Neale Donal Walsch.


Mark Twain's quote is very important here--how many of you actually feel better after you compared yourself to another author? Now, before you say "Well, this author was terrible, so I felt great" - how is that helping you at all, really? No, you probably didn't feel better about yourself. What this does is open a whole mine of negative thoughts. You start thinking about why you're not good enough. You start thinking about all the impossibilities, and then you're sad again. Those are all icky keywords we don't want in our vocabulary!

It's so important to remember, as Wilde stated, that we are all different. It's one thing to read another author's work and aspire to have certain qualities. Those are goals. Everyone should set goals for themselves. It's when you turn the qualities of other authors into a rant of self-hatred against yourself that you've crossed a line. There's a healthy balance while reading other's works--a give and take, I think. Find merit in your own work, praise your differences, and know when they are what make you the writer you are. 

The last quote is very much about comparing journeys. It's a fancy way of saying no two paths are alike. I know we all know this, but do we really understand it? No one's road to getting an agent, publishing, fame is the same. Everyone has their own story. Sometimes it's simplistic, sometimes it's complicated. Sometimes you're angry at the simplicity, sometimes you're angry at the complications--but those experiences, easy or hard, make us who we are. 

You need to remember that experiences shape you. Experiences are creating things you're going to write about. Experience are making you that unique writer, and for some reason, you're going on your unique path. Believe there's a purpose to that. So don't let comparison make you feel less worthy--it's so silly! You're not the person you're comparing yourself to, so how in the world is there even a comparison? 

I think it's a scary thing to present your raw self to the world, but you're a beautiful self and you've got a unique gift. We all have something that makes us who we are and also different from others. 

My challenge to you is to look in the mirror and tell yourself you're an awesome writer. No matter how much you have to work on, no matter how many words you wrote today, look in the mirror, look yourself straight in the eyes, and tell yourself how wonderfully unique you are.

You are awesome, there's no one else like you.

There's something so beautiful about that. 

40 comments:

  1. Boy am I happy I stopped by! I'm find more and more wise people like you in the IWSG. We all know that we're unique. Still…that lingering feeling. Let's let it go. Thank you for the post.

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    1. Hi Marilyn! I'm so glad you stopped by, too! Thank you for your kind comment, and I agree: IWSG peeps are filled with wisdom!

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  2. I think writers have a tendency to compare themselves, and it can be so self-defeating! You're completely right - everyone has their own journey. :)

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    1. Hi Emma! Yes, we sure do! When I started to write about why we shouldn't compare ourselves to others, I realized how silly I had been to do so in the first place. It's still a struggle sometimes, but I can sure remind myself that we're all different and that is grand!

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  3. I was also held back in kindergarten. I got so tired of hearing, "What grade did you fail?" And of course the shock from people when I said, "KIndergarten." It wasn't a brain thing...it was a developmental, extremely shy thing.
    Love Twain's quote. It's so right and I am guilty. And no, it never helps!

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    1. Very good point, Elizabeth! Getting held back in kindergarden ESPECIALLY isn't a brain thing! Those first few years of school are a transition. Yes, Mark Twain definitely had some great words!

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  4. This is something I'm so guilty of doing! It's a really hard thing to get over but I'm trying to stop. Great post for the IWSG!

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  5. This is definitely the sort of post I needed to read at the moment, thank you, thank you. We are all unique and that is what makes us special, we should all be proud of who we are and our achievements great and small.

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  6. Great reminder! We should have the courage to chase our own dreams in our own way and at our own pace without worrying about comparisons.

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  7. You are your twin are so cute! This was a really good post, thx for the reminder. Also...your cover reveal is quickly approaching! Woot!

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    1. Thanks, Leandra!! LOL. I KNOW!! AHAHA!! I cannot wait to share the cover with you guys! :D

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  8. I really like Oscar Wilde's quote. It's a great reminder not to live in a "grass is always greener" state of mind.

    co-host IWSG
    Elsie

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    1. Oscar Wilde is my favorite! Thanks, Elsie!

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  9. What a gorgeous post! Wow! I loved how you tied all the quotes together. (Twain's is my favorite!) So, okay, why is everybody so insecure? I just don't get it!

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    1. Thank you Kittie!! You are so sweet and so positive! It's totally the mindset that there's not enough for everyone out there...but there totally is!

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  10. Really great post! I love the Oscar Wilde quote.

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  11. Everyone's journey is different, because we are all different. We can only do the best that WE can.
    Very uplifting post for today!

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    1. Agreed, Alex! The best thing I did was stop trying to reach everyone else's version of perfection! Thank you!

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  12. I love the Oscar Wilde quote! Nothing would be as fun if we were all the same. Fabulous post!

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  13. Great post, Ashley - I definitely agree it's important not to spend all your time comparing yourself to anyone else. That time is better spent focusing on what you want to achieve & single-mindedly going for it.

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  14. This is exactly what I needed to read today. Thanks so much for a great post. By the way, my 13 year old uses that Oscar Wilde quote in her email signature.

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    1. I'm so glad, Rhonda! I just love to see comments start with that! Ooh!! She's one wise 13 year old! :)

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  15. Ashley, what a great post, and so so perfect for IWSG. Thank you!! You're so right, and I really appreciate the reminder!

    I love that Oscar Wilde quote :)

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  16. You're right. We can't compare ourselves to anyone else, because we're all different!

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  17. Thanks for reminding us that we are all unique. There are different things that drive us to write a certain way -- using our unique voices. Words of wisdom.

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  18. OK, the comments you shared about people assuming twins are exactly the same made me :headdesk:. People are so clueless sometimes. I guess this is where ideas that twins are magical and have secret telepathy and languages comes in. I imagine that's insulting, people assuming you and your brother should have the exact same personality, interests, intellect.

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    1. LOL. Yes, it's very frustrating...and has kept my brother, I think, from using his own awesome gifts and potential to do great things. :/ However, I do have twin cousins who DO know when the other is hurting which is bizarre! My brother and I cannot do that.

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