Writers - Beware Comparing Yourself
I attended a writers’ conference last year and all around me were winners, winners, winners.
Winners of this prize, that award, this publishing contract. I arrived at the writers’ weekend thinking I was pretty hot stuff having succeeded in seeing much of my work accepted that year-my first year back to writing after retirement.
I fought to keep my self-confidence during that writers’ conference. As I marched through the workshops of accomplished those writers, and listened to the keynote speeches of those best-selling authors, my self-worth took a dive. As I recognized the gap between their grand successes and my lesser accomplishments, my value began to fade.
I went home and stared at my computer screen for days, no, really weeks. Ambition was gone. Confidence was gone. I simply did not believe in myself anymore. It seems it had been easy to applaud myself when I was alone in my writer’s den. Not so, when nickel rubs against gold.
It took a few weeks to talk myself out of my funk. I finally came to realize I had done the forbidden thing. I had compared myself to others.
Instead of embracing the opportunity to learn from authors who had paid their dues, I fretted. Rather than seeing that rubbing shoulders with them could push me toward a higher level in my writing, I only saw competition. I did not recognize that the veterans of the craft were passing on valuable secrets.
The road back wasn’t easy. I did two things to get back on my path. I started being thankful for those authors who gave so much of themselves for my benefit. Then I shut off all author talk and social media and wrote my daily pages until something good started to show up.