Learning Not To Compare

photo credit: Βethan -  cc
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photo credit: Βethancc

In September 2013 I took a position as a full-time journalist for WP Tavern. I spend most of my waking hours thinking about writing, narrowing down what to write and working hard to distill news/events and make them interesting. I still have so much to learn. Becoming a better writer isn’t instant; it takes time. One of the biggest pitfalls I’ve found is comparing myself to others. It’s the quickest way to get discouraged and waste half an hour in tears.

There’s a difference between learning from other’s work and holding yourself up to it with a red pen, marking all the places where you fall short. Comparison is paralyzing.

I read this a long time ago, but it’s never meant more to me than it does now:

If I thought I had to say it better than anybody else, I’d never start. Better or worse is immaterial. The thing is that it has to be said, by me. We each have to say it, to say it in our own way. Not of our own will, but as it comes out through us. Good or bad, great or little: that isn’t what human creation is about. It is that we have to try. – Madeleine L’Engle, (Circle of Quiet)

3 Comments

  1. You are a very good writer. The former WP Daily guy is also a good writer, but he burnt himself out. Cautionary tale although you are not on the same path.
    Next step could be to broaden your experiences and step outside the WP ameba. A little more travel (outside the USA) could be the elixir for that.
    Consider a Melvillian novel in a tech setting satirically based on Moby Dick.
    http://www.doctormacro.com/Images/Barrymore,%20John/Annex/Annex%20-%20Barrymore,%20John%20(Moby%20Dick)_01.jpg
    Or something else….

  2. Like Mike said, you’re a good writer.

    The work you and Jeff are doing over at WP Tavern is fantastic and has really, really revitalized the site.

    On top of that, having multiples voices helps to give the site variety (which obviously you and Jeff are the ones doing that).

    Writing is one of those things that’s all about the journey (as cliche as that sounds) rather than the destination, and you’re already much further down that road – and doing a good job – than many.

    Keep it up :).

  3. Thank you for this blog. This piece fit into the exact spot I was needing today.

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