Thursday, December 18, 2014

Remembering a Few Things I'd Forgotten



I was recently surfing the Internet like I'm wont to do (too much) and I came across someone saying that you shouldn't look at others' journeys, and compare them to yours. Lightbulb moment! How could I have forgotten this? Here's how.

You know those days when you feel like you're the worst writer in the world? And you're all down on yourself and want to just eat chocolate and watch TV? Then in a few days-- or hours-- you're feeling more okay with yourself and your abilities? Well, I've been experiencing this up and down here lately when I think about publishing.

There are so many different paths to get where it is that I want to be. And that's an author. I know some people dicker about this, but to me an author is someone who has actually been published. Big or little, doesn't matter, but published. And here lately, I've been stressing my journey to that path. I've been peering anxiously down it, trying to figure out if it's going to fork left or right, or continue straight, or even just stop dead.

All the while looking over at someone else's path that seems to be paved with gold brick and headed exactly where they want it.

I don't like this. I want to accept that I am not them, and they are not me, and that's okay. I want to just try the hardest I can to achieve my dream and be open to dreams not always happening exactly the way I think they should. Because sometimes when you let go, things can happen even better than what you had ever imagined.

So here's to following our own paths, wherever they may lead! *raises glass with a double shot of vanilla*


~ Leandra

14 comments:

  1. I've felt that way many times over the past 20 years...I was in a critique group where every member got published but me. After a while, it's hard for it not to get to you. I read a saying recently that hit home: "The problem with comparing yourself to others is that you're comparing your behind the scenes with their highlight reel." That sums it up!

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    1. Ooh, that'd be rough. =/ But look at you now! =) And that saying is spot on, thanks for sharing.

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  2. I can't tell you how much this hits home for me too. In my wildest dreams I never imagined it being so difficult to break in to publishing. On top of all the available paths for us to take, making it hard to make decisions, it's all so SLOW. Each book can take 6 months to a year or more to craft and then we're left with all these decisions on how to get it out there. It's rough. And I'm the worst at comparing myself to others. As hard as I try not to, I still find myself doing it. I can't remember the last time I read a book for fun, and not thinking "WHEN IS IT MY TURN?" I love the quote Stephanie shared. It's so true.

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    1. Yes, slowness and so many choices can definitely be head-ache inducing! And revising takes me forever, b/c I'm constantly questioning if there's more I can do, or am I really truly done? =/

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  3. Preach on, sister! Bottoms up. Mmm, that double shot of vanilla was good. Goes well with my week old cake...

    Now, I know I've mentioned this book before, but when I read your post I couldn't help but think of Section 2.7 of The 7 Secrets of the Prolific: The Definitive Guide to Overcoming Procrastination, Perfectionism and Writer's Block. It's titled "Invidious Comparisons"

    It reads like so:

    "Perfectionists love comparisons. They'll compare themselves to living writers, dead writers, rich writers, poor (and, thus, "noble") writers, non-writers who make a lot of money, non-writers who seem to be having more fun, etc. And they'll compare themselves on any point, including writing quantity, writing "quality," worthiness of topic, purity of mission, income, audience, the size of the house they live in, the speed of the car they drive, the glamoursness of the parties they attend, etc. And they'll always come out on the losing end of any comparison-- because the point of a perfectionist comparison is not to yield useful insight, but to serve as yet another club to bash yourself over the head with to try to coerce yourself into more productivity. Perfectionist comparisons are always invalid, and sometimes crazy. A perfectionist with a day job will compare her productivity to that of a friend without one, and somehow conclude she should be able to match her friend's output. Or he'll compare himself to a writer who got published more quickly, ignoring the fact that that writer specifically chose to take a workshop with a well-connected teacher known for helping her students get published."

    It goes on... Now, I'm not saying that everyone who makes comparisons is a perfectionist, but this really hit home for me. At some point, I realized that I had to take the focus off of others (like Steven King, JK Rowling, Suzanne Collins, etc.) and put it onto me. Now I try to compare myself with myself. How have I improved from yesterday? What have I done to achieve my goals? How far have I come? And then I try to reward myself for it. Just a little pat on the back or 'at a boy. Anyway, it's really hit me.

    I think part of the problem is that today's media takes these rags to riches stories and idealizes them so that those of us out here in the real world feel like anything short of a huge contract with a $1,000,000 signing bonus is a failure. We all have our mountains to climb, you just got to keep climbing! The tortoise never looked around to see where the hare was did he? You just got to keep churning, and know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

    *steps down off of soapbox*

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    1. Thanks for sharing that! And comparing myself with myself is a brilliant idea. The Leandra Challenge... ;) And knowing you're not alone is always a nice boost!

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  4. I needed to read this today. I feel like I'm always comparing myself to other writers, especially other parent writers. "She has four kids and wrote two books this year, what the hell am I doing?" It's a marathon, not a sprint -- new mantra.

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    1. Well, I'm am in awe that you can write ANYTHING with your crew of small kidlets! (tho adorable they may be!) And slow and steady, stead and slow, that's the way to go. =)

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  5. I love this - I needed to hear this today. I found a pin on Pintrest with a similar message: "Don't compare someone else's end to your middle." All of our journeys are different. All of our journeys are difficult. And all of our journeys are valid. Comparisons are so easy to make, but they rob us of the joys of our own ride. I'm trying so hard to remember this, and your own insights help immensely. Thank you for the reminder!

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    1. Welcome! No matter how many times we read about this in posts here and there, it's so easy to lose sight of our own paths, isn't it? And yes to all of our journeys being valid!

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  6. YAY!
    And also, even when your path is heading right where you want it too, i find there are still moments of checking out to see where everyone else is

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    1. That's interesting to hear, Sarah. I guess it never really ends, huh? =)

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  7. Thanks for visiting my blog recently. Just keep in mind that somewhere out there, someone could be looking at you and wishing they could have something you have. =)

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  8. Great post, Leandra! Here, here! *raises glass of Sprite*

    It is hard not to compare ourselves though, isn't it? I sometimes like to go offline for a while because then it's like I'm ignorant and therefore immune to it. If I don't know what's happening around me, I can't let it bother me, right? But this was a great post, really put it into perspective! Thanks!

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