By Susan Reichert, Editor-in-Chief for Southern Writers Magazine
We’ve all heard that expression. It seems like now is a good time to bring it up.
Recently I heard authors comparing themselves to other authors and it struck me funny. Why? Because what they were saying I heard in Junior High School. You know the girls who were comparing their looks to other girls in school. You remember those girls, right? They were big on the comparing angles. I guess they needed that to feel good about themselves.
You would here one say, “I don’t know why she got that award, I am much prettier or I’m much smarter.” Or maybe you heard, “Well if her daddy wasn’t on the school board she wouldn’t be the teacher’s pet.”
Jealousy and envy are a terrible shade of green and a total waste of time.
As authors though, I don’t understand why one author who writes romantic fiction would compare their writing to someone who writes thrillers. Or why would you compare your writing, when you have only started writing to someone who has been writing for several years and is a successful published author. Those aren’t exactly in the same ball park.
Our family instilled in us to be the best we could be whatever we were doing. Whether it was helping at home, studies or playing the piano or just helping a neighbor. “Whatever you do, give it your best.”
Competition is good. It helps us strive to do our best. We need competition. But comparing ourselves to others, is not constructive, as a matter of fact, it can be destructive.
Growing up my family gave me piano lessons. I loved music, we were a musical family. My grandmother and mother could play by ear. I took lessons for many years. Every day, I was told to practice. As a young girl my practice period was a minimum of thirty minutes per day, unless I had a recital coming up, then I would have to practice longer. I don’t ever remember complaining about time spent practicing. Maybe it was because I love music. Without the practice I would not have been any good. I certainly would not have been able to play classical music, or play at the church for
services until they found someone to hire, or just play for my own enjoyment or my families.
Writing is no different. The ability to write is a wonderful gift and it should be used. To be good, at anything, you have to practice. The more you write, the better you become. There are books on every subject pertaining to writing. There are courses on different aspects of writing. All of these are wonderful tools. But, if you don’t practice writing every day, even if it’s a few hundred words, you may not get any better.
Talk to successful authors––you will find they write, most of them, every day, and more than a few hundred words!
We would all like to get awards. Until you do, work at being the best writer you can be. IF you do, you will see your efforts blooming.