Have you ever finished a wonderful book that, when you put it down, only left you feeling full of self-doubt? Because you think you’ll never write that well? Repeat after me 😊 I will never do this again! Comparing yourself to other writers can only damage your future successes. You may not be at the same experience level of those you’re comparing yourself to, and another person’s success may not be the magical transformation you feel it will be.
It’s not magic
Self-doubt can arise from the comparisons you make between you and fellow writers. Some may seem to have the Midas touch no matter what genre they write in–but you don’t know how many rewrites and edits they put that work through before it hit the bookshelves.
Those writers who are successful have likely spent an enormous amount of time and effort on their writing. It may look easy, but chances are they went through the same self-doubting process about their own potential for success.
Fear of exposure
Comparison to others and the self-doubt that follows goes on in every business – but it’s more prevalent in writing because you’re always putting yourself out there, presenting yourself and your ideas to others, particularly your friends and family (why do we feel more nervous about this audience?). They’ve been hearing for a long time about your writing, now they will see for themselves how good (or not) you are.
The massive and constant success of others can make you feel like such a failure–because someone is always making more money than you or seems to be successful with everything they publish.
Defeat the comparisons
Comparisons like that are treacherous to your own self-confidence and can defeat what you’re trying to accomplish. You may not be aware of their many unfinished novels in the past or of how much time and money they’ve spent getting to this point.
One way to view comparisons is to see them as challenges. “If she can do it, so can I!” may be exactly the boost you need to act, and make your own dreams come true. Note also that success for writers in the 21st Century is as much about marketing as it is about writing. Educate yourself on the strategies used by successful writers to get book sales.
Competition is fierce among writers. Looking into the strategies of other writers can be a good thing if you use them as models rather than comparing yourself to them negatively.
Self-doubt can grow to be the nemesis of your future. Guard against comparing yourself to others negatively and focus on getting your writing to be the best it can be.