The Dangers of Comparison
|Image courtesy of Yves Geissbühler|
Most Novembers, I take part in the main NaNoWriMo word sprint of 50,000 words in a month. I've never managed the full 50,000 words but I've always completed a massive chunk of text.
The problem with taking part in a group writing sprint like either of these events is that you might start to compare yourself to the other people taking part. During NaNoWriMo, every year, there are individuals who not only complete the 50,000 words in November but exceed that wordcount, or perhaps they reach the 50k by the middle of the month.
The same is true of Camp Nanowrimo. I look at the wordcounts of others taking part and become discouraged because I'm not keeping up with them. How have they managed twice my wordcount? How do they have the time to take part in lengthy discussions online when I'm manically juggling my life to fit writing in with everything else?
Whenever we compare any aspect of our life, be that our writing word count, the holidays we can afford to take, or the way we look, we run the risk of belittling our own experience and endeavours.
Some of those writers who overtake me in my wordcount don't have children to spend time on. Some are near children themselves, teenage students writing late into the night. Some are parents but their children have long since grown up and left home. There are all kind of ways that our lives and daily routines differ.
It's a cliche, I know, but comparing ourselves to other writers is like comparing an apple and a pear. They can both do the same job of providing a tasty snack but there is no denying that they're different.
It's time we stopped comparing ourselves to others in our field (and equally on social media and in our lives) and started just appreciating ourselves for who we are. Instead of looking at how much better we perceive someone else to be, concentrate on how great we are. We can only ever be ourselves. Why not make that a wonderful place to be?