Want To Be A Better Writer? Stop Comparing Yourself To Others

By on March 20, 2020

We all know that jealousy can destroy a writer. Yet it is all too easy to get caught up in the cycle of comparing yourself to others, and once you do it is hard to stop.

It doesn’t matter if they are your writing hero or your writing nemesis when you see their new book is shooting to the top of the bestseller lists in the blink of an eye it can be difficult not to feel despondent at our own somewhat less successful efforts. Whether we think they deserve it or not it still stings every time another writer achieves the dreams that we so desperately want to realize for ourselves. 

Comparing ourselves to others can be dangerous, not least because the truth of the matter is that we might never catch up to what our fellow writers are doing, and if we spend our entire time feeling as though we are lagging behind, it will become increasingly difficult to enjoy our own experience of writing - possibly causing us to stop altogether.

So what can you do next time your social media feeds become chaotic with the resounding echo of someone else success? You need to take a deep, long breath and remind yourself that you can only live your own life, you can only do your own thing, you can only create your own stories, and because of all of that, you can only create your own results.

Not a single darn thing you do is going to have an effect on whether or not another author finds their big break. Similarly, their big break doesn’t have any bearing on whether you will find your own.

Failure can creep up on you, and while you might think it has to do with the fact that you are not good enough or that you don’t have the dedication, it also is worth considering whether you are allowing yourself to fail because you don’t think you have any real hope of measuring up. 

There was a study undertaken by the Gothenburg Research Institute that discovered those who spend more time on Facebook were less likely to feel assured and confident. The report from the study stated that “when Facebook users compare their own lives with others’ seemingly more successful careers and happy relationships, they may feel that their own lives are less successful in comparison.”

Of course, it’s not just social media sites, in fact for writers, we are more likely to let the green-eyed monster strike when we read industry news, follow our favorite authors or look on Amazon to see who is currently smashing the bestseller list. 

But doing so is so unhelpful. If you get into this habit you’ll always find yourself reaching for more, never being satisfied with your lot, always finding dissatisfaction and restlessness instead of being able to truly enjoy your own achievement and success. 

If you aren’t happy with where you are as a writer then change it. The only thing you can control is yourself. You choose your own goals, and then focus on them and don’t let anything or anyone else distract you from them. The only thing you need to compare is how far you’ve come from where you started, and how far you have to go to get what you want. Our dreams are our own, theirs are theirs. The bestseller list doesn’t have to be your goal, getting published doesn’t have to be your goal. it’s your choice no one else’s.

If you can find a way to stop comparing yourself to others you’ll feel a freedom and a relief that releases you from the grip that jealousy can have over you, and instead enable you to write with more purpose, pleasure, and creativity than ever before! So set yourself free today - you’ll be a much better writer if you do!

bethany cadman
Bethany Cadman - bethanycadman.co.uk

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