Sometimes I really feel like banging my head into a wall. Seriously. I just want to hit it until all the negativity stops and I transform into a magical, positive butterfly. Because, like many writers, I have days where I think everything I’ve ever written and will write is complete garbage. This feeling is further intensified when I venture onto social media and see the success of other authors, especially those who are around the same age as me.
Now, don’t think I’m some hateful, jealous, bitter individual. I’m not. There are just days when I can’t stand to see another author post about how they’ve gotten whatever number of reviews, had another thousand people subscribe to their channelor received a jaw-dropping book deal. Because as I’m seeing their success, all I see is my own failure.
Sounds like I’m putting myself down, right? Well, that’s exactly what I’m doing which is why it’s totally pointless. The same days I go on these downward spirals of comparison and “why can’t I,” tend to be my least productive writing days, as well. Since I’m so busy beating myself down and foaming at the mouth at others’ successes, I forget about what I really need to be doing: Writing.
I mean, after all, writing is the reason I put myself through a ton of mess in my life. I could be like one of those non-writer peeps and go to the typical 9 to 5 where I get paid consistently and with a good amount of money but I opted out of that self-inflicted torture for this one instead.
But I’m getting off topic. What I’m trying to say is that comparing yourself to another writer is a waste of time. While you’re doing that self-harming nonsense, you could be writing or working–if you’re not writing full-time–and you could be marketing or at least learning how to because that skill comes in handy in the industry. Trust me.
And I know what I’m saying is easier said than done. I haven’t completely mastered it myself but what I do know is that every moment I waste foaming at the mouth, is a moment I’m pushed a step further from becoming the writer I want to be and being able to help other writers.
Not to mention that writing isn’t a spontaneous act. Writing is all about growth and development. I’m sure who Stephen King was when “Carrie” released is not the same writer he is now. As writers, we’re on a constant path of development because things change in our lives and those changes affect our writing. Through time, practice and patience (which I lack more often than not) we hone our skills and we’re always a bit better than we were before.
In the words of David Schlosser, “The only writer to whom you should compare yourself is the writer you were yesterday.”
So, let’s all take a vow. Let’s promise to minimize how often and how long we get the “I’ll never be as good a writer as (Insert Name)” thoughts and recognize that we’re better than the writer we were yesterday and that’s worth something. Let’s give those negative thoughts a tenth of our attention before we turn to our keyboard or notepads and get lost in our own worlds.
I don’t think I’m alone in my aspiring writer struggles. What other challenges do you peeps go through?