Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Wednesday Winnings And Comparisons Of Skill
Thanks to the talented and successful Galen Kindley, I'm a winner! Galen's book Hearts of the Morning Calm is about to be published, and he is holding a contest to win some free copies. Jane Kennedy Sutton and I were the first lucky winners. Time to do a happy dance, Snoopy style!
I have been a fan of Galen's work from the moment I first stumbled on his blog, and it's an understatement to say I am excited to receive his book. Ecstatic might cover it. Because of this honor, expect to see an interview of Sir Galen (he's unofficially a knight, we're just waiting for the Queen to acknowledge it) here at The Muse soon. I will also be posting a review of the novel, once I'm done enjoying it that is.
This brings me to the topic of comparing ourselves to other writers (aspiring or otherwise). Christine got me thinking about this, thanks to her recent post. Her post hit home as I realized I have been doing this writing/blogging thing for over a year now. When I look back at where I started...well, let's just say only force of will keeps me from deleting those first posts. But what I can say is that I have learned so much in the past year. I had to stop for a moment though and take stock. Do I compare myself to other writers I've met here in blogland? Sure I do.
Christine had an interesting quote that I don't entirely agree with:
"When I compare myself to anyone else, I negate the power of my own journey. And I lose the purpose of the journey in the first place."
While I understand her meaning, I disagree with the idea that comparison mandates negativity. I prefer to approach comparison from a different perspective. When I compare myself to other writers, I get the chance to evaluate what they are doing right, what I may be doing wrong, and figure out how to improve overall. Rather than viewing comparison as a disintegration of self, I see opportunity.
There are a few writers/authors I've had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with (online, anyway). Each of these people have had an effect on how I think, how I write, and how I view literature. Some leave me daunted, with the feeling that I'll never be able to write as well. But most have something to teach me, whether they are aware that's what they're doing or not. I have watched success stories like Jody Hedlund unfold, and her example gives me hope. I marvel in awe at the writers in The Literary Lab, as all three of them challenge us to think deeply about our craft. I keep a sliver of hope alive that someday I'll be ready for Elana's book about querying.
Christine is an author I have a great deal of admiration for, and so this post is not meant to be a detraction. While I may disagree with her statement, I see the determination and drive behind it. These are wonderful qualities, and they are one of the many reasons I look up to Christine. What I take away from her post is that I need to remember who I am at the core and not let anything deter me from continuing my journey towards publication.
Do you compare yourself to other writers? If so, how do you deal with the results of your comparisons?