Thursday, May 13, 2010

Big Picture: Eyes on YOU!

Today I want to mention something that I've had to learn the hard way, in honor of Big Picture Week:

Keep your eyes on your own damn paper.

What I mean by this, is don't be tempted to look to the right or the left, comparing yourself to what someone else is doing.

During your journey as a writer, you will meet the following people:

  • The person who can write 80,000 words in 3 weeks
  • The person who only has a first, second, and third draft
  • The person who found an agent in the check out line
  • The person who found an editor through their church
  • The person who works 40 hours a week, writes 12 hours a day, babysits orphans, makes gourmet 5-course meals for their five kids and spouse, and still manages to look fabulous. Oh, and blog ;).

Tell you what--you CANNOT compare your journey to the journeys of others.

Why not, you ask? Let me put it to you this way.

Are you the same as anyone else you know?

Have you lived the same life?

Dreamed exactly the same dreams?

Worked the same jobs?

Loved the same people?

Written the same words?

Your life is completely different than anyone else's on earth :). And that's exciting! You don't have to be anyone else, compare yourself to anyone else, or worry about anyone else's successes. Your dreams and goals are your own.

So, keep your eyes on your own paper, take your own journey, no matter how short or how long, and enjoy the heck out of it while you're at it. You'll be glad you did ;).

What do you guys think?

Have there been times when you've compared yourselves to others?


Lydia Kang said...

What a great post. This is so true. Thanks for the reminder to remind myself that it's not a race!

Rebecca said...

More times than I can count. But I usually get over it very quickly!

Tere Kirkland said...

Oh, yes. Especially when I read other people's sucess stories. It can be a bit demotivating sometimes. Other days, it can be very inspirational, but I still hold myself up to the standards of others.

But this is my journey, not someone else's, and I can only live it for me.

Great post!

Stephanie said...

This is so true and I have so been guilty of doing it myself. Sometimes it's very hard not to compare yourself...especially after getting a rejection. Who doesn't ask themselves "Why does so and so have an agent, but I don't??" Or after you read a badly written published book, "Why is this person published and I'm not???"

I do my best to keep my nose down and keep writing, keep working hard, keep learning and growing and perfecting. I hope I'll get there someday.

Angela said...

I have compared myself to other writers, although I've maintained that I am different and my journey will also be different.

The hardest part is to read the success stories of others. Honestly, it leaves me torn. I am sincerely thrilled to read about others' success stories. I'm happy for them, and it gives me hope that I will someday reach that goal myself. Then again, part of me can't help but feel frustrated that my goal seems so far away, sometimes unreachable....

Your advice is so true. I need to keep my eyes on my own paper and work hard without the distraction of worrying about others around me (other than to be happy for their accomplishments).

Simon Kewin said...


Oh yes, I do that all the time, although I try not to. Wise words indeed!

Pen said...

Thanks Rebecca,
I soooo needed this peep talk today. Your the best!

Jamie Grey said...

Great post Rebecca! I have a problem comparing myself to other writers, so this is a great reminder that everyone's journey is different and we should really learn to enjoy our own paths.

Cole Gibsen said...

I'm super busy (just like everyone else) and while I always read my subscribed blogs, I don't always take the time to comment. (Bad, Cole! No Cookie!!!) But I couldn't NOT comment on this post because it's something I feel so passionate about. It's so easy to compare yourself to others and wonder "Why not me?" I completely agree with what you said and love your comment "Eyes on your own paper". Made me giggle. Great job!

Elana Johnson said...

This is the biggest curse out there. I just read a blog and I've got all these feelings inside about how "unfair" it is that this person got something "so easily" while I worked my freaking tail off.

I have to take deep breaths and remind myself that "My journey is my own." And that I'm the only one who can walk it.


nomadshan said...

Great tough-love post, Rebecca! Just this spring I had to remind myself of these very points.


You sooo wrote that post for me. Yes, I compare myself to everyone but the mail man. AND yes everyone is having a better writing life -
God bless you, writer friend for putting into words the way I've been feeling.
I hope after reading this I'll be able to put some distance between myself and my crazy ideas of comparing myself with others.

Thanks and I'll be back.
Blessings, Barb

Nishant said...

I usually get over it very quickly!I usually get over it very quickly!