The Dangers of Comparison

Image courtesy of  Yves Geissbühler
During the month of April, I'm taking part in Camp Nanowrimo to give myself a boost in rewriting my novel. My target is to write 30,000 words.

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?

Comments

  1. So very true, Fi. I think it's human nature to compare ourselves to others, but it's certainly not healthy. Everyone is different. We have to accept that and just be the best we can be.

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  2. Oh yeah, I've done that. I remember during NaNoWriMo I'd get all green envy when I saw others reach their 50k goal halfway through the month. And I'd wonder what's wrong with me. But you bring up a good post that sometimes the reason(s) might be that the other writers have more favorable conditions/enviroments eg young teens or nest free parents. Sometimes you can just only be you and go at your own pace.

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  3. Very true, Fi. How's Camp Nano going?

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    Replies
    1. It's going ok. I'm behind with my intended wordcount but I'm pleased with what I've written so far.

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  4. It's normal to compare ourselves with our peers, but it isn't healthy (like Kelly said). Comparing with our past self is probably more encouraging!

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