How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Other Writers and Start Believing in Yourself

Are you ready to stop comparing yourself to other writers and start believing in yourself? Great, me too. But how can we do it? Here are some ideas to help you.

But before we begin, let’s just take a second to appreciate this gem of a quote… It’s a great place to start.

‘When you’re creative, you render competition obsolete because there is only one you, and no one can do things exactly the way you do. Never worry about the competition.’

Terry Crews

The danger of comparing yourself to others

Comparisonitis – a disease that can spread through a writer quicker than an STI at a music festival.

You read your manuscript and sigh, it’s just not as good as <insert name of writer you admire>’s work. Closing your laptop, you wonder if you’ll ever get to ‘that level’. May as well just give up now.

You feel doomed to live in Mediocre-ville for the rest of your writing life. The people are friendly, the shops are quaint and the hedgerows are neatly trimmed, but, let’s be honest, it’s not the Big City.

There are no lights, no hustle and bustle, and no opportunities. The Big City is where you want to live, but it’s not for writers like you. You’re not ‘good enough’.

You’ll stay in Mediocre-ville because it’s comfortable. It’s easy. You’ll be able to continue comparing yourself to other writers while you prune your hedges.

Hand me a pair of gardening shears, won’t you?

Comparing yourself to other writers

So why do we do it? Why do we compare ourselves to other writers to the detriment of our own sanity?

The good news is it’s perfectly natural. 

If you’re at the start of your writing career, you look up to the authors you admire, and long to be as successful and as talented as they are. 

You put them on a pedestal. 

You imagine them lying in their ivory towers on a bed of cushions, dictating their latest work to a minion who types furiously on a typewriter until it’s complete.

Nope? Just me then…

But seriously, we tend to put writers we admire on a level that seems impossible to reach. In fact, we often inflate their successes because it seems to justify our own weaknesses. 

They must have come out of the womb, pen in hand, with a publishing deal on the weighing scales, right?

But it’s not only writers who suffer from comparisonitis. Why do you think so many celebrities, fitness gurus and thought-leaders are so successful? It’s because people aspire to be like them.

Whether it’s Kim Kardashian’s booty, the washboard abs of David Beckham or the work ethic and attitude of Steven Bartlett, everybody wants something they haven’t got yet.

They see their heroes with all the success or the fame or the money and they want it too. They devour the celebrity’s content, buy their products and attend their events because they want to be just like them.

And you know what? The celebrity or the guru only becomes more successful and the fan only becomes more dispirited with his own life and his own dreams.

How to stop comparing yourself to other writers

So is there a way to stop this comparison madness? Can you even use it to your advantage?

Before you become the dispirited fan, believing they’re never going to be as good as their writing heroes, try these on for size. 

1. Aspire But Don’t Compare

It’s actually good to aspire to greatness. It can fuel our goal-setting, our work ethic and our productivity. But, as Terry Crews says, there is only one you. There will only be the books you write, the content you create and the fans you gather. 

Readers will like you for being you. They’re not looking for an exact replica of another author. They want to find original voices and creativity. 

Aspire to be a great author who writes books their readers love. Don’t aspire to be another Brene Brown or Mel Robbins or Ryan Holiday. 

Aspire to be the greatest version of your author self you can be. No one else.

2. Everyone Has to Start Somewhere

When you’re reading through your manuscript and you feel it’s not as good as other books you’ve read, remember the following:

  • Your hero author (HA) had to write the very first word of their very first book at some point too. Then they wrote another and another until the book was finished. Stop worrying about the level of their writing, before you’ve even written a single word.

  • Your HA had to suffer rejection, procrastination, self-doubt and negativity too. Any publishing deals or otherwise had to be won through hard work and determination. 

  • Editors are a writer’s best friend. Your HA would have gone through many revisions and edits before the book became the thing you admire. Nothing is written perfectly on the first attempt.

3. Negative Energy Can Damage Your Chances of Success

What your conscious brain thinks your subconscious brain believes. If you always tell yourself you’re never going to finish your book or your writing isn’t good enough, your subconscious brain believes that must be the way things are.

The scary yet amazing truth is your subconscious brain doesn’t know the difference between fact and fiction. It simply believes what you tell it and what you visualise as true. If you’re constantly having negative conscious thoughts, your subconscious will believe it to be the truth. 

That, in turn, impacts everything. Your desire to write, your productivity and how often you listen to your inner critic.

Find the time to say positive affirmations each and every day. Make them writing specific. Make them bold and exciting. 

The more you tell your subconscious brain you’re a successful writer and take action, the more it starts to believe it and takes that as the truth. Suddenly you’ll find yourself with a whole new outlook on your writing goals.

4. Find and Remember your ‘Why’

People write for different reasons. Some dream of fame and glory, others like to write as a hobby. Most of us would like to be published, either via the traditional route or via self-publishing. 

If you always compare yourself to other writers, you’re forgetting your ‘why’. Tap back into it – why did you start writing in the first place? What are your goals? Who are your writing for and how will your book help them? 

Focus on those every day and don’t get sucked into the perceived achievements and successes of others.

5. Be Grateful

Instead of feeling negative or jealous about the successes of more established authors, be grateful to them.

Published authors pave the way for everyone else. New writers emerge every year and open new avenues with their work. Self-publishing no longer has a stigma attached to it. Furthermore, some traditionally published authors are choosing to self-publish to be in greater control of their writing careers. 

Terry Crews addresses this when considering his acting career. For every part he doesn’t get, instead of feeling resentment towards the actor who won the part, he feels grateful to them. They pave the way for him to explore new roles and work with new people.

You are enough

As writers, we are our own worst critics. When you listen to your inner critic or compare yourself to other writers too often, remember one thing…you are enough.

Your writing, your efforts and your book are enough. Don’t try to be someone else, concentrate on being you. 

You’ll be a much more successful, happier and well-rounded writer.

Goodbye Mediocre-ville, hello Big City.

If you need some support to confidently get your book idea together, get in touch and we can discuss how I can help you.

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