Compare or Not to Compare

When you find yourself in the novice category of writing, you can’t help but compare yourself to other author’s skills and abilities. In my opinion, doing this will hold you back. It did me. My dream: To write a book and publish it. But wait a minute, all the books I read are so above what I can accomplish. There’s no way I can meet the standards of the publishing world. I got way ahead of myself before even starting. The comparison to highly published authors was blocking the simple act of writing. I expected myself to spit out a novel like it was second nature. Yeah right. As my mom and dad used to say when I was a rambunctious child , “Hold your horses, young lady”.  I knew what it meant then, but it rings even more clearly now.

I think of the authors that put out two, three, and maybe four novels a year. Why would I even try to compare myself to them? It’s so silly to go there, but in my own head, I do. Honestly, I don’t have the skills to do that, but do I really want to? That doesn’t sound fun to me. It seems like mass-publishing and that’s not my dream. My dream: To write A book and publish it. I’ve come to realize that to be an author you don’t have to be “big” or mass produce, you just have to write. Period.

Comparing while I read is one of the most distracting obstacles I deal with. Most people can read a book and get taken off to another world. For me, that only happens half way. I absolutely love getting lost in a good book, but it’s changed since I’ve started writing a book.  I should be able to read a book by the pool, or on the boat without constantly comparing what I’m currently writing and how I’m writing it to what I’m presently reading. I wonder if that’s natural for most writers? Sometimes it’s hard to switch off the writer in order to read. The one way I look at is, it’s all about learning. Reading others will help me improve myself. I can’t be intimidated by the wonderful works of others. I have to be confident enough to allow them to inspire me.

So maybe there is a good balance in comparing. Compare enough to learn, but never too much to destroy the love of writing.

Until next time….



Filed under January 2011

5 responses to “Compare or Not to Compare

  1. Oh, I soooo get you. I feel like I’m so late in the game. To writing, to Twitter, to blogging. I’m already behind and there are so many people who are already so good.

    Then I tell myself they all had to start somewhere. Why not me?

    So let’s not give up. Ever.

    • I think there’s unsaid understanding between all writers, whether you’re new at it or a professional. I am super new at all of the this twitter and blogging stuff, but I will say it’s keeping me focused. And there’s something to be said for putting yourself out there versus keeping your thoughts and writing to yourself. Good luck to you and, you’re right, never give up!!

  2. Dad

    The skills of writting may be taught in a classroom.
    The ART of writting is not taught. No classroom can put pen to paper on your excitment, your emotions, thoughts, or the passion you have for the process. The art of writting is who you are, what you are about. Remember your earlier writtings of poetry? You didn’t write something you cared about then asked someone else if it was ok. You wrote about what was in your head, what was in your heart!
    In the same way you can’t compare your writting to someone else’s. Their writting is theirs, as yours will be yours.

  3. Julie

    I believe trying is better than wondering if you can! Good for you. I doubt even accomplished writers were accomplished when they first started. I like your passion and going after a dream! All the more special. How many out there don’t start or go after their dreams out of fear of failing. The only failure is never starting! You should feel proud of your beginning and all that will be learned as you figure this out! As the saying goes….”you go girl!”

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