A to Z Challenge 2013

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?


Jody Hedlund said...

Hey Eric!! I tried to leave a comment last week, but I don't think it went through. But hey, thanks for popping in my blog from time to time. I always appreciate your comments! And thanks for the shout out in your post today! I appreciate that.

I really think you're spot on. I've learned so much from blogging and seeing what other writers are doing. I think we can use comparison to pull out the things we can do better and build on it rather than letting it tear us down.

And, btw, I've considered deleting early posts too! We've all grown so much over the past year! It's really fun to see!

Have a great one!

Breeze said...

Thank you Eric, for your kind words on my post this morning :)


Suldog said...

When I compare my stuff to stuff by others? Sometimes I feel as though I don't know what the hell I'm doing. It all depends upon the blogger in question, though. I know I have a better grasp of the language than some.

I guess the important point, though, is that I don't ever read anyone else just to make the comparison. I read them for enjoyment, first, and if I come to some conclusion regarding my own talent level, after the reading, that's just an added benefit.

Galen Kindley--Author said...

Hey, my name in lights! Too cool! Thanks, Eric.

You know, I try to not compare me with anything or anyone. Why...well, for starters, the obvious. I'd almost always come up short and I don't need the ego bash.

Secondly, I'm old enough now that I'm just me. Oh, I'm still changing some, but, materially, I'm just me and will likely stay that way. Took awhile to get this way, and well, I'm comfortable in my skin. I hope I'm not abrasive to others.

In terms of writing. Way too late to change. I write the way I write. Can't do much about it. Kinda like having blue eyes or...in my case...no hair! HA.

Best Wishes, Galen
Imagineering Fiction Blog

Eric said...

Jody - I think I got your comment, but I probably didn't get a chance to respond. Sorry. And I've been stopping by your blog alot lately. It's really fun to watch you go through your publication process. Thank YOU for stopping by.

Breeze - No problem. Your post was really wonderful.

Suldog - Some great points there. What you say about knowing your strengths (like a better grasp of language) is spot on. When we can realize these types of things, that's when I think comparison can be beneficial - even if it's just to recognize our own strengths.

Galen - I know what you mean. I feel more and more that I'm getting to that point, but I try to remain flexible. I'm right there with you though about the hair. I gave up that battle a long time ago.

CamrynMorrell said...

I try not to compare myself to other writers. I try to think that I'm my biggest competition. My past novels and short stories are the only ones I have to surpass.

However, I don't think we can truly avoid comparing ourselves or being compared to other writers. We all draw from the same pool of ideas, and I think similarities here and there can't be helped. :)

Christine Fonseca said...

Hey Eric - Great post. I agree with you actually. I don't think comparing for the purposes of learning is a bad thing. But when it is used as a distraction, or as something that pulls us down, which is a more typical case, problems incur and we loose site of our own path. IMHO.

sherrinda said...

It's hard not to compare, but more often than not, I am the one that falls short! lol But that's okay. There will always be room for improvement. We will always be growing in the craft and perfecting our abilities. What an exciting journey! (Thanks for your encouraging words on my post today!)