In a recent Grub Street blog post, author, workshop leader, and coach Hillary Rettig says, “An honest comparison can be useful as a learning tool, but perfectionist comparisons are usually slanted because their goal isn’t edification so much as self-shaming and self-coercion.”
Do you regularly make honest comparisons in order to improve yourself as a writer? Or do you play the self-shaming comparison game? The way you feel at the end of the comparison is usually a good way to judge. Do you feel motivated and energized to keep writing? Or are you ready to hang up your career because you think you aren’t __________ (fill in the blank: creative, smart, original, talented, connected) enough?
Comparisons can lead to jealousy and envy, shame and effect-effacement, but don’t let yourself be stuck there. Pay attention to those things that rage the green-eyed monster, trace back the self-loathing, and discover the hidden desires that can help you flourish in your writing life. Consider inviting an honest friend or colleague into the process, too, because often it’s hard for us to see that we are talented, connected, and creative enough. We just need to put aside the comparisons and get to work!