Comparisons

One of the bloggers I follow just posted a thoughtful piece about writing, and comparing ourselves with other bloggers. You can read it here: http://thegreenstudy.com/2012/12/09/deflating-the-ego/

So that made me think about how often we compare ourselves to others, and wrongfully I might add. It’s like comparing apples and oranges; both have their place but one is not necessarily better than the other. We can aspire to be as good as someone else, but we should never compare ourselves to that ‘someone else’ because we are not them. I used to do that with my writing. I would read someone’s story or poem, then read mine, and feel totally depressed because my writing wasn’t as good as the other person’s. But then one day I had an epiphany; my writing was just as good as anyone else’s, just different! And the same goes for blogging. I write now because I want to write; I enjoy writing. I’m not trying to impress anyone; I’m not trying to write the next Great American Novel (of course, if that happens, I’ll be thrilled!!). I am writing for me.

Granted, I do get a little twinge of prideful happiness when someone tells me s/he likes my work, but in the end, that isn’t why I’m writing is it? I do enjoy getting kudos or pats on the back for my work, who doesn’t? But sometimes I have to remind myself that just because nobody has viewed/liked/commented on that particular post doesn’t mean it isn’t any good. It just means it didn’t resonate with that particular person(s) and it will with someone else.

I don’t really have a ‘theme’ for my writing on this blog (my other two blogs do have themes), I write about whatever I want to write about. Sometimes my posts are inspired by something I’ve read, like this post; sometimes it’s something that pops into my head; or it can be triggered by something I see or hear; I never know what will inspire me. People who are well-known authors often describe how they go about writing, figure out plots, and all those other mundane parts of writing. But just because that works for them does not mean it will work for everyone else. I can no more write an outline for a story and stick with it than I can fly to the moon; I know, I’ve tried it. Same goes for blogs; I can write about something that moves me in some way. If I try to write about something just to be writing, it sounds forced, and isn’t very good.

Just last week, I found this quote that I think is quite appropriate here:

Yet we always envy others, comparing our shadows to their sunlit sides. ― Margaret George

So my advice to me is to write when I want to write, about something that means something to me, whether it’s my blog or my fiction. And if other people like it, that’s just lagniappe.

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10 thoughts on “Comparisons

  1. Timely topic, Ruth! It’s admittedly a struggle for me at times, to not succumb to discouragement because someone else’s writings and/or blogs are (or seem to me to be) “better” or more interesting than mine (particularly when they get more readers and feedback). But like you, I just write from the heart, whatever inspires me at the time. It isn’t “out there” to be measured, it’s just something that flows out of my heart and through my pen (or in this case, keyboard), and that can’t be compared to whatever is flowing out of someone else’s heart or mind or experience. It just is.

    And what does “lagniappe” mean? I love that word!!!

  2. Lagniappe is a Louisiana French word meaning something extra, unexpected. It used to be something unexpected a merchant would give a customer, like a 13th donut if the customer bought a dozen. Then it came to mean anything unexpected or extra; a gift.

    And I also struggle with discouragement, Sharon, but then I have to remind myself of why I’m blogging and why I’m writing stories. I’m the only one who can tell my stories just as you are the only one who can tell yours. 🙂

  3. I love the word lagniappe, too! I learned it the first time I lived in New Orleans, back in the late 60s, and have used it ever since. It conveys so much, doesn’t it?

  4. This has been on my mind a lot lately. I am guilty of comparing myself to other people (and embarrassingly feeling jealous of their success/skill.) Which in turn makes me feel like a failure because I am not as successful as them. Which is really just silly. Everyone is at a different point in their lives and their journey. I need to focus on being me more, and trying to be ‘perfect’ a lot less.

  5. So true. It’s easy to fall into the trap of measuring ourselves against others, especially in the blogging world. It’s a good reminder that we need to write in our own voice for the pleasure of it.

Ruth passed away from cancer. Please remove from list

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