Wednesday, June 22, 2011

There Should Be No Comparison

I think self-doubt is a very common "disease" amongst writers, and if not nipped in the bud, it can kill our writing career.  As I stated last week, I've had a bit too much time on my hands, which has allowed my mind to wander in the fields of self-doubt.  This, along with a recent blog post on Marian Vere's blog, prompted me to share an older post (from my previous blog) on the topic.  I'm looking forward to reading the comments, but unfortunately, I will not have internet access for the next several days.  I promise to respond at my earliest convenience.  As usual, I appreciate all the visits and comments.  "Talk" to you all soon!

I've been committing a big writer's no-no.  I've been comparing myself to other writers (gasp!).  The strange part is, I'm not comparing my writing to theirs, but my life to theirs.  I'm reading blogs and author bios, and all I can think is, I've never taken those classes, I don't have that degree, I don't have that experience, I've never read those books, I don't belong to that group, etc.  I'm actually embarrassed to say I went to the library and checked out a Jane Austen novel, JUST because it seemed like every "serious" women's fiction writer has read Jane Austen.  Of course, I was bored to tears and only made it through the first chapter (barely).

I know, this is bad and SCREAMS of insecurity and self doubt.  I kind of feel like I'm back in high school, and I'm looking at all the popular girls and mentally listing all the ways I'm not like them. 

I have to keep reminding myself that there are different paths that lead to the same destination.  True, I was not one of the "popular" girls in high school, but somehow I still managed to have some awesome friends, succeed in college, get a good job, and meet an awesome guy (my husband).  So, even though I don't like Jane Austen, I can't write a novel in a month, and I don't have an MFA in creative writing; I can still succeed as a writer--even if it means taking the path less traveled ;o)



  1. I haven't got a writing degree, and I can't write a book in a month either. Self-doubt is natural, but try not to let it become crippling. We'll get there! :)

  2. I've been there, Angela. Sometimes, I spend way too much time in the self-doubt corner, but I get online and I see all these hardworking people toiling away for their dreams. I don't have any writing or fancy-schmancy backgrounds either. But I write anyway just 'cause I love it.

    Good luck, hun!

  3. This is such a nice post because I think we all struggle with this constantly, but don't' often talk about it. Sometimes the best answer is just to get off the internet for a while.

    And remember, there are probably people out there who look at you and wish they'd gotten married instead of getting their MFA. Everyone's path is different (but equally awesome).

  4. "I have to keep reminding myself that there are different paths that lead to the same destination."
    I have to keep reminding myself of that, too.
    Great post, I'm sure there are many others out there that can relate (including me).

  5. I am so with you! About a week ago my agent told me to start looking up author websites so I can get an idea of what mine should look like. I have gone to tons, and all I keep thinking is 'not going to have that section, not going to have that section, hmm, maybe I can fake that part...'
    I'm going to have to let go of what I think it should be and be happy with what it is.

    And BTW, Jane Austen is most definitely an acquired taste. Honestly, most people who claim to love her have never actually read her stuff! They have only read all the companion novels and sequels that are so popular now. I got in to her when I was in high school and HAD to read it. Her prose is really hard for people to read in this era. Jane Austen is a lot lot like Shakespeare--who I also like for some sick reason and is also a bitch to read--if you are used to the verbiage, it's fine; if not, it's almost not worth the time...

    ...which is why they make movies! ;)

  6. Eek. Yes, Angela, I think we've all felt this way. Even now, sometimes I'll look at someone who sold their book the first week it was on sub, or who just scored a major five book deal w/their debut novel, and I feel that jealous niggle in the pit of my gut. Why can't that be me??

    I've found the BEST way to overcome is to read a book by an author I love (this usually sparks a new enthusiasm for writing on my current project). Or even go back and look through some of my fave scenes from my own books, because what's important is staying on the path of productivity.

    It's not when or how you arrive. It's the journey that's the destination. When you look at it that way, well, you're already there. You've met your goal. You are a writer. The rest is just going to be icing.

  7. I really feel you on this post. I have done the exact same thing. Only I like Jane Austen, for me it was wuthering heights - gag me!
    I think your an awesome writer and everyone has their own style. Only a few write 10,000 words a day, and their a little crazy (then again, you kinda have to be crazy to write.) Have a nice Va-ca from the internet!

  8. I've been there too. And I think Jane Austen is a bit boring too! We all shouldn't be comparing ourselves to other writers. We are all unique! :)

  9. Angela, when you are back online we will give you the full force #KalenFanClub on Twitter, because you deserve it!
    I get VERY envious too. I gnaw my spleen in the dark of night...and then I rise to face another day.

  10. I compare myself to other writers, mothers, employees, friends, gym's the nature of the beast. The important thing is you recognize when it's happening--which means, you don't really do it.

    And Phresh is right, dear Kalen started something wonderful with our Twitter daily love-ons. You're up next!!!

  11. What a nice welcome home gift--lots of wonderful comments!! I am still trying to play catch-up with the real world (I'll post about my vaca on Weds.), but I wanted to take a minute to stop in and say thank you to all of you for commenting and reassuring me that I'm not alone in feeling this way (misery loves company! haha!). You guys are all awesome!

    p.s. Hello to my first time commenters!! I love "meeting" new writers ;o) Thanks for stopping by!

  12. I have trouble with these things too, Angela! Don't despair! We all do, I think. I've been feeling VERY bad here lately because I haven't been blogging and everyone else seems to be doing just fine. (Hopefully I'll get back into the swing of things soon.)

    I know what you mean about taking the road less traveled. Some writers try to say, for example, that you need to be writing short stories and publishing them to build your credentials. I say writing short stories isn't for everyone, and plenty of writers have succeeded with zero writing-related credentials to their name! You can do it, too! We all can. =)