We writers sometimes compare ourselves to other writers, even though we know it's unrealistic and doesn't make a lot of sense. We're all on different paths of different lengths, with different starting points and different goals--yet the impulse to glance over and see where we are in relation to the person in the next lane is, apparently, irresistible.
not even about beating someone else, as in a race. I know very few
writers who think that way. It's more like feeling that we need to "keep
up" or "stay on track." It's about a fear of falling behind, getting
lost, not measuring up. And so the internal monologue around this may
go: I should be writing X words a day, because so-and-so writes that much. Or, I
should be on my Nth novel now, because so-and-so's first novel came out
at the same time as mine, and her Nth novel just came out. Or it
could be about advances, sales, awards, guest-speaker slots, length of
signing lines--any of the markers we try to use to gauge our success.
This is why I recommend Jody Casella's recent post,
in which she says, "I also have to learn over and over to stop
comparing myself to other writers." Her post also contains an invitation
to other writers to share your process for possible inclusion (with
attribution) in a conference presentation. That opportunity, with a
deadline of June 30, is a way to celebrate and reinforce the fact that
there are as many ways to write as there are writers.