We’re not supposed to do it. I know that. I can’t help it though.
Every time I look at someone else who does the same thing I’m doing, I can’t help but pull up my comparison sheet and start nitpicking.
They are better at writing. They have more views, more claps, more engagement, whatever it is that they have more of makes me feel bad about my writing… here is the real kicker.
I’m great at realising your accomplishments, but I’m blind to my own.
I constantly beat down my accomplishments so that they fit tidily into the ‘everyone else is doing better than me’ box. It’s a garbage box to put my achievements in.
My box is the writing equivalent of the cookie tin in my grandma’s house that turns out to be a sewing kit. I think I’ll find treasure, but I only find things that remind me of what I need to fix.
It’s not normal healthy self-assessment either. It’s not conducive to improvement. It’s the kind of ultimate smackdown that makes someone not want to get back up. So why do I keep treating myself like this?
The fact of the matter is that I have a long list of accomplishments, whether I want to acknowledge them or not. I have written a book. I am consistently writing. I am growing my business. I’m doing the ‘successful writing’ thing right now.
How do I translate those accomplishments into something that I can harness to encourage my writing, instead of using them to beat myself up?
I need to stop judging myself.
I need to focus on what matters. What I’m doing, what I’m sculpting. I am practising my craft, and that’s important, and it’s valid!
When you work out, your body physically wants to reject what you’re doing. It’s screaming at you to stop. Your mind understands that it’s sculpting something and that the pain is worth it.
I need to figure out how to translate this to my writing. Sure it doesn’t always feel natural, but it doesn’t have to. It is okay for writing to feel awkward, challenging and painful because that’s how we get stronger and better. Unnatural positions or exercises help us improve.
Instead of looking at writers that are better than me and feeling envious and ‘less than’. I need to start looking at them as mentors.
Unfortunately, that’s a lesson that I need to keep relearning. I hope you don’t treat yourself the same way I do. If you do, maybe we can work on this together.
As always, I cannot wait to see you on the bookshelf.