• Rachael Bell-Irving

Falling into the Comparison Pit

The arrival of July marks the start of another Camp NaNoWriMo. A little different from the original National Novel Writing Month event, Camp Nano allows you to create your own goal rather than just the standard 50,000 words in a month.


Camp Nano is a great way to motivate yourself to work on your manuscript or start a new story, while also giving yourself some flexibility in your word count or time spent.


It also means that millions of writers around the world are all writing at once - and sharing about it.

Social media can be as dangerous as it is empowering, as I am sure we all know. While it is amazing to be a part of the online community that is incredibly supportive and encouraging, it also gives rise to an even more prevalent risk of falling into the dangerous comparison pit.


I go through regular fluctuations of insecurities when it comes to writing. For example, when I first joined twitter I was overwhelmed by the number of authors speaking out about how painful the writing process was. I questioned whether I was suffering enough to be a "real writer". Personally, the process of writing a book is an enjoyable one. Was I doing something wrong?


On the flip side, I also deal with that horrible feeling of not being good enough. Every writer does at some point or another. This feeling comes on most strongly for me when a great book I've read leaves me questioning if anything I make will ever be good enough to stand beside it on the shelf. Even though that book has undergone multiple professional edits, I still find myself comparing my first draft to it (you see the problem with this, right?).


These horrible feelings are inhibitors of the writing process. They can make us forget about the diversity of writers out there in the world. The comparison pit can make us forget how different is a description and not a measure of value.


This is where social media can actually be helpful. Thanks to the wide diversity of writers out there, I can nearly guarantee that there will be someone out there who has a similar process to you. Whether you identify as a pantser, plotter, underwriter, over writer, the struggling artist, or the crazy word count achiever - there is someone in the community who is the same way. The online communities can help you find these people.


Let me hop on the soapbox before you go. There is no "right way" when it comes to your writing process. You are not the only one who writes the way you to, and the way you write is the right way as long as it works for you (and you're not hurting yourself or anyone else in the said process).


If you are writing, that makes you a "real writer" whether you have completed the draft or published it. If you are writing you are a writer. You are creating something. However long it takes you, however way you go about it, you are taking on the challenge of writing and that is something to be proud of. Celebrate the small things and forgive yourself for the bad days.

And whatever you do... keep writing!

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