My wonderful agent, Natalie Lakosil, recently posted a blog that touched on something that has been bugging me lately. She called it "peer pressure," which was the perfect description of it.
She was referring to the pressure we feel from other writers. The, "everyone else is doing it" mentality we never quite escape, even after adolescence. It's human nature, after all, to measure ourselves by others.
No matter where you are in your career, someone else will always be ahead of you. Winning contests, getting published, hitting the bestseller list...
Comparisons destroy friendships. They inhibit your ability to truly be happy for your fellow chapter member or critique group partner. They may even drive down your confidence, which will cause the worst thing of all to happen...
You'll stop writing.
The interesting thing about social media is that we have the power to let people believe anything we want. That successful writer who posts every five seconds about her new WIP, booksigning, or multi-million-dollar book contract? Her situation is likely completely different from yours. Or she's just really insecure and likes to brag.
It's important to focus on what you're doing and not worry so much about others. This quote says it best, I think:
Have you ever struggled with comparing yourself to others?