When you start comparing yourself to other writers, their books or book deals you’re going down a dark path. Here are my tips to avoid jealousy when it creeps in.
WHEN YOU START COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHER WRITERS…
1. Remember they started somewhere too. You might be seeing them at a different point in their career. I love this quote from Jon Acuff because it’s SO TRUE. If you’re at the beginning and you are comparing yourself to someone in the middle of their career–there is no comparison! Apples and oranges.
2. It should spur you on to think ‘If they can do it, so can I!’ Don’t let jealousy stop you from trying. When you see other writers getting deals it shouldn’t make you think ‘Why them and not me!’ It should be making you think ‘Agents are still signing clients and editors are still buying books! The industry is thriving!’
3. Instead of turning inward with negativity, turn outward and support them. Writers that help build each other up have lasting literary friendships. You’ll notice the writers on their blogs and on Twitter that are constantly supporting each other. Not only is it good for the soul, it’s good for self promotion. Because when it comes time to promote your book your writer friends will have your back because you had theirs.
4. Step away from Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. Never before have we been inundated with constant reference points for comparison. 50 years ago there was no online water cooler to see everyone’s success thrown in your face. It’s hard to see other people having what you want. That’s why you have to stay away from Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and the like when you’re writing so it doesn’t seep in.
5. Focus on what you CAN control and get back to your desk. The only antidote for comparison is focusing on what you can control, not what you can’t. You can only control your own writing and that growth. Negativity eats away at success because it makes you question yourself when you never did before.
6. Learn from everything. What is it that you’re comparing yourself to? Is it pointing to a weakness in your writing? Ask yourself what it is particularly that you want that someone else has and how that can help you grow as a writer.
It’s inevitable that the self doubt creeps in when comparison is everywhere. I suggest unplugging–take internet breaks!–and posting that Jon Acuff quote on a cork board above your desk. Comparison doesn’t mean you’re a lesser writer, it means the tools are out there if you grasp them.