Wednesday, August 05, 2015

IWSG: Stay in Your Lane and Keep Driving

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means hundreds of us will be posting about our insecurities. But first, have you signed up for my Piper Morgan cover reveal? If not, click here to sign up. I've also included the form at the bottom of this post.

Now...here's my IWSG post!



As human beings, it's only natural we'll compare ourselves to others. We notice who is driving a nicer car...



Living in a bigger house...



And wearing nicer clothes.



In writing, we can sometimes feel desperate to compare ourselves to others. We need a benchmark for what we're doing--something that will let us know we're on the right track.



Unfortunately, when we compare ourselves to others, we do ourselves a huge disservice. As I've said before, one of the biggest problems, especially in the social media age, is this:



Someone recently said she lives by this motto: "Stay in your lane and keep driving." It's a reminder to stop looking at everyone else and merely focus on what you're doing. In other words...



That's easier said than done, especially once you're published. You constantly watch what other writers are doing. Are they doing 1,000 booksignings the first week their book is out? Is Twitter lighting up with news of their new release? If so, what does that say about your own efforts?



While it's important to note what other people are doing, the only real reason for it is to notice things we can add to what we're already doing. It isn't to feel bad about ourselves. When comparisons start dragging us down, it's time to take a step back and realize this:



Do you ever get dragged down by comparing yourself to others?

Have you signed up for my Piper Morgan cover reveal yet? If not, sign up below!
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52 comments:

  1. I like the Roosevelt quote.
    I think we all compare to a degree. But we have to remember, we're all at different points of the journey and going at different speeds. (Not to mention driving different vehicles.) We can't compare, because we're the only ones out there like us.

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    1. And we have NO idea what's going on in someone else's life. I think we also see the aggregate of everyone else's posts and assume everyone else is doing more publicity or selling more books or writing more words than we are. But if we look at each person individually, we're each just trying to get through the day without derailing our current WIP!

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  2. I've always been careful about this one, and it's also my favorite bit of advice to give new writers.

    Until recently, though, I stepped on another landmine: Comparing myself with where I wanted to be instead of where I am now. It's just as unhealthy, so I'm glad to say I'm pulling myself away from thinking like that.

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    1. That is true! Honestly, though, it's never enough. Even if you achieve what someone like JK Rowling or Stephen King has, you're always worrying about the next book. We all just have to enjoy where we are NOW! (Easier said than done, right?!)

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  3. I tend to compare over non-material things, like who is nicer than me! LOL

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    1. That's actually a good thing to envy in other people. More important than material possessions or success.

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  4. Comparing myself to others is my biggest flaw. Sometimes I have to cut myself off from social media for a while, just so I can concentrate on my own writing, and I always feel much better for it. I love the quotes in your post, I'm going to have to try and remember those in future.

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    1. DEFINITELY true. I've seen successful authors say they have to take a Twitter break sometimes because it's just a constant stream of people bragging about their new book sales and events and releases. It can really start to wear on you after a while. But it's important to remember that all you're seeing are the successes. Nobody posts on there, "I didn't write a single word today and I got three rejections." You also don't notice that MOST people don't post good news for a long time...

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  5. What about when we need to check our blind spot? Just kidding. I agree. It's best to stay focused on ourselves and try our hardest not to make comparisons. Learning from others is good, but getting down about our own progress is a problem.

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    1. LOL, or change lanes, right? This assumes we never need to go around someone who is crawling along in front of us. Not sure what the analogy is there, but I feel like there IS one!

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  6. All signed up! And a great reminder, I compare myself to other writers, especially the ones who get agents, as that's what I'm trying to do. But learning from them instead of comparing is a much better way to handle it!

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    1. Thank you, Leandra!!! It's important to find a GOOD agent. I've seen people sign with the wrong agent and regret it, so take your time and find the right fit for you. Then even if your short list of "perfect agents" keeps rejecting you, don't give up. Keep refining and sending them new things. And don't rule out new, young agents. Mine was new and young when I found her and she's a rock star now!

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  7. Love your quotes--especially your friends-- Stay in your lane and keep driving. I may borrow that one.

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    1. It's pretty deep! I can't even remember where I heard it.

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  8. Love that Roosevelt quote and the one about being better than the person we were yesterday. In this day and age, it's a lot harder to keep our heads down and do our own thing, but I'm trying. I'm trying. :)

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    1. That's the best we can all do, right?!

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  9. Love this! I've rarely compared myself to other writers since the only thing I've published or intend to publish is my memoir. I celebrate that we are all individuals on our own path trying to figure out what it's all about just like trillions before us. I signed up for the cover...good luck!

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    1. Thank you for signing up! I think I was pretty darn happy when I was writing my first book and didn't know about other writers. It's only once you venture out there and start hanging out with other writers that you start comparing yourself. If you can avoid that, you'll be very happy!

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  10. We all compare ourselves to others sometimes. And while it's easiest to look at people who are "doing better," guess what? There are also people who are doing worse. Whatever your task or goal, you're probably farther along than someone else who had that exact same dream. So appreciate where you are and keep striving to go forward... and maybe give the guys behind you a hand when you can. :-)

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    1. Good point! Do you think people like Stephen King remind themselves of that when they're having a bad day? You know he doesn't just walk around thinking how lucky he is!

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  11. Girl AMEN!! People need to quit comparing themselves to others. Be your best you!!

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  12. Absolutely awesome post! I'm guilty of comparing myself to others. Sometimes that leads to really bad days. But I've gotten better at not doing it as I've gotten older. Why couldn't I have this wisdom 20 years ago?!

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  13. so much these days depends on luck and connections and being on the right place at the right moment... not on talent or depth or writing skills and dedication

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  14. I liked your friend's saying, that is a good one not to compare ourselves to others. So hard not to do though. I tend to compare how I look with others (mainly weight, LOL).

    (In answer to your comment about birds on my last blog, I have not seen rats around here, I think we have a lot of different types of predators that keep that population down. We have had birds hit the window, in fact we have outlines of them on the window, must go and clean the windows, LOL, but only one casualty so far of a bird that didn't recover when they hit it. It does scare the heck out of me though when it happens, especially the doves that are a bit heavier. No nests so far, but lots of seed on the ground. I sweep daily and hubby occasionally uses the leaf blower to blow out the other seed. When we move later this year, we'll have to stop feeding them a week or so before we do move to get everything cleaned up.)

    betty

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  15. No, I gave up the comparison thing years ago. I'm who I am and that's good enough for me. I see a lot of young folks doing this though and I know of one adult that has to have the best of everything. He's miserable too.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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  16. I love this post because it is so true! Nothing good ever comes from comparing ourselves to others, EVER.

    I love all the quotes you posted Stephanie! A great reminder to be who we are and to be happy with that because we are unique and one of a kind. ;)

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  17. Such great advice for writers to follow! I tend to look back at my work and try to improve and be the best I can be. It only hinders us when we compare ourselves to the literary greats:) Hope your getting accustomed to your new home!

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  18. What wonderful thoughts, really insightful and something to ponder on. Greetings!

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  19. I love the quotes. We do way too much comparing in our lives.

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  20. I agree with you that comparision is the thief of joy. Constantly comparing ourselves with other writers is indeed doing a disservice to ourselves and our talent.

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  21. All the freaking time. This summer has been awful for that. But I have this little voice that says- perhaps you are deluding yourself and a career in the food service industry would be a better use of your time?

    I'll stay in my lane. I don't want to crash.

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  22. Just signed up! So excited to see the cover :D

    I LOVE this post! So true through and through. And yes I totally let myself get dragged down now and then, ugh. But like Elizabeth said, I don't want to crash either, I'm sticking to my lane ;)

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  23. That's some advice I've been thinking about lately too. We do get too sucked up in comparing ourselves--especially before we've completed a work.

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  24. I don't consider myself a writer. I am blogger. There is a difference, however as age happens, I have discovered there is only me to compare too. It is a very freeing experience.

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  25. I've seen people who are more successful than me compare themselves to those who are more successful than them and so on. We shouldn't spend so much time with these comparisons. I always try to do better than how I was a few years ago, and I always see progress that way.

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  26. Some brilliant quotes today.
    Quotes to remember.
    And a big thank you from this reader to all writers. You rock my world.

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  27. Oh I do this often and it does get me down. I see other people who do amazing cards and then think mine are so mediocre which is so wrong. I believe in the saying you have here and lobe the Roosevelt quote. It is true so one must set those nagging doubts aside and just keep moving ahead.

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  28. Loved this so much I Tweeted it!

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  29. Comparison can help push us to better ourselves, but it can quickly become detrimental. I know for myself I often have to step back when I start comparing what I do with what other people do. I can only do the best *I* can, not the best of what someone else can.

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  30. I love this post!!! I used to compare myself to others while I was still seeking out my own path. Now, not really, although I still have moments of weakness, but the ensuing bad feelings will straighten me up pretty fast.

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  31. So, so true!!! After I read a good book, I wish I could write like that. Love the quotes. And I stole, I mean, I borrowed them...Stephanie, signed up for the cover reveal, but I'm going on vacation Aug. 9 and there's no internet excess. So I hope you send me your info by Saturday so I can get it ready to publish.

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  32. All the time! Love the last quote.

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  33. I rarely compare myself to others... I am highly competitive but more with myself then others. I am trying to always be a better version of myself. Sometimes easier said then done... ♡ xox

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  34. This is a really awesome topic that makes sense. As I've grown older, I feel a lot of joy in seeing others succeed, but I don't want to BE them. We all have something to say or share, so I don't think there's a need for comparison. Hugs...

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  35. OMG - that Steve Furnick quote is absolutely right and I never thought of it before. Yes, I wondered if people bragging on FB about high sales ranks or hundreds of reviews might be hiding something, but it never occurred to me that what they choose to show the world is their highlight reel. I'm gonna stay in my lane and keep driving. Thanks so much for the excellent post!

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  36. Oh, this is so great! I really needed to hear this. Every time I get on Twitter or take a peek at the blogging community, I start to feel discouraged because there are so many good things happening to everyone around me. I keep telling myself that my time will come, but I really, really love the quote by Steve Furtick. I think I need to hang that on my bathroom mirror to use as a daily reference. Thanks for the inspiring post! I'm off now to sign up for your cover reveal. :)

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  37. Excellent advice! It's hard to keep my blinders on, but it's a good reminder to just do the best we can, and continue to improve.

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  38. Great post! I'm not a writer but I am sure good at comparing myself to others in every other possible way. This helped.

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  39. The best thing, I think, is to remember I'm me, not someone else, and do the best I can. It's easy to get frustrated when life doesn't follow the path I'd like it to. You make some good points. Thanks.

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  40. "While it's important to note what other people are doing, the only real reason for it is to notice things we can add to what we're already doing."

    Love this. So true. It's so easy to get caught up in how we compare when we shouldn't be.

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  41. I love that quote about comparing our 'behind the scenes' with others 'highlight reel'. So true, I do this all the time.
    I signed up and working on a few questions for you, then I'll send them over. :)

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  42. So true! I think comparing ourselves to others is one of the biggest reasons most people are unhappy. And you never know how people are really living behind the scenes. They could be miserable! And I love that Roosevelt quote:)

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