Comparing: STOP IT!

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have a big problem. I tend to compare my writing journey with those of my peers, and it results in nothing but depression, self-loathing, and serious doubt in my writing abilities. This is clearly not a good thing, and I need to stop it. If you’re doing it, you need to stop it too.

Really. Because if you’ve read about any handful of famous authors, you’ll see their journeys are as different as their writing styles. For example:

Both Veronica Roth and Stephanie Meyers wrote, found an agent for, and sold their books within a 5-6 month period. Meanwhile Kathryn Stockett queried for 3 YEARS before finding representation.

Nicholas Sparks got an offer of representation with the first query he sent, while Stephen King talks about having enough rejections that he had to nail them to the wall with a spike.

J.K. Rowling spent the better part of 6 years writing the first Harry Potter book, and it was out on submission for a year before finding a home at Bloomsbury. (Did you know, Rowling said there were times she HATED her book while she was editing it? HATED it. Can you imagine?)

As you see, no two stories are the same, and the amount of time it takes to “catch your break” doesn’t indicate the level of success you’ll have.

I have friends that have been querying for years with no luck. I have friends that jumped into the query trenches after me and have book deals already.

Personally, I’ve been in the trenches over a year now and I don’t know if I’m any closer to finding an agent than I was when I started. But I’ve learned a lot. My manuscript gets better with each rejection. I keep writing, and I tell myself that I’ll get there if I just keep moving.

In the meantime, I need to remember that my journey is my own. I don’t need to follow somebody else’s path or feel threatened when someone finds success before me. Because that would be comparing. And I need to stop it. So do you.

Good luck on your individual writing journey, and write on friends!

Shout out in the comments: Whose writing journey inspires/surprises you the most?

 

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2 comments

  1. Aeryn Rudel · March 5, 2016

    I think it’s only natural to compare your success to that of your peers, and it can even be a good thing if it provides motivation. You know, the ol’ “if he can do it, I can do it.” That said, yeah, it can get you down if you let it. I think a good cure for that is to revel in the success of your writer friends, support them, and really focus on the positive. I mean, shit, they’re your friends. You should be happy for them, right? 🙂

    The writer that inspires me is Stephen King. He often tells a story about submitting work to various magazines early in his career and pinning the rejection slips to a nail on his wall. He quickly ran out of space on the nail and had to replace it with a railroad spike (I believe). I dig that because it demonstrates perseverance, which is, I believe, one of the defining qualities of a successful author

    Liked by 1 person

    • slimjym27 · March 6, 2016

      And of course he’d use a spike… because STEPHEN KING, lol. Totally agree:)

      Liked by 1 person

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