Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Do You Substitute They For I?


At some point we all find ourselves comparing this to that or that to this. You can substitute anything in for that or this in your life. Sometimes it may even be favorable. It could give you the best bang for your buck in many cases. But when it comes to writing have you ever noticed how a lot of it hinders more than helps?

If you are anywhere on the internet, which authors tend to be in some form because you need a platform, then you have come across the inevitable they thought. At some point it could even become all about they and less about I. Life shouldn't be all I, I, I but sometimes I, I, I is just what you need to see your true progress and keep going.

So how do we go from they to I?

1. They write 5000 words a day. I wrote 50 words today. Whatever your word count, whether it be 50 or 5000, you pumped words out today. Focus on that. You may not have written as much as someone else, but I guarantee you that you wrote more words than millions of other people.

2. They have 50 books released. I have 2 books released. One book is an accomplishment. Someone else may have more or less but you did it. You published a book. That is a feat that so many others will never accomplish.

3. They have a publisher. I keep getting denied. They may have a publisher. They may have one better than yours. But how long do you think it took them to get that? Chances are that they got denied just as many times as you. You will learn and grow with each denial. All your hard work will be that much more worth it when you get that first yes. I have to keep trying will keep you on the track of I and off the track of they.

4. They have an agent. I don't have one. This is all a matter of preference. You could get the same result without one. You may not. Depends on if you think you have the connections and know how of many of the agents. But again, you have to keep trying if you want an agent like they have.

5. They have 50,000 followers. I have 50. Followers are all a matter of perseverance. They didn't instantly get 50,000 followers. Chances are it took them years to do that. Nothing will happen overnight. You have 50. That is a start. Those 50 will continue to grow if you work at it.

6. They have more time. I can barely find any time. They have more time because they make time. Yes, there may be many other tasks that you have that they don't. Yes, you may have more of a full plate. No, you don't barely have any time. You just choose to do other things with your time. Carve out a slot of time and then it soon goes from I have no time to I have time.

7. They have more funds. I'm on a fixed income. Only spend what you can afford. Some have more than others and always will. You may not get there as fast as one with a lot of disposable income, but while they are throwing money at everything to see what works, you will be searching out the best options for what disposable income you have.

8. They have more ideas. I only have a few. But you have ideas. The more you write, the more you will find ideas may show. One little scene can give you a whole new idea for a book. Pretty soon you will find that you have plenty of ideas.

9. They have more experience. I just started. Experience comes from starting. You have to take that first step no matter what you do in life. The more you do, the more you learn. Also it doesn't hurt to ask they for any advice or use resources like IWSG to your full advantage.

10. They have such luck. I have none. This one is all a state of mind. Kind of goes down into poor pitiful me territory. Luck = hard work. As far as I've always been concerned luck is a word made up by humans to try and make themselves feel better. Better about what? Better about someone else getting what they what. That someone, usually, worked for it. Ditch luck and do the work.

In the end you will find it is a state of mind. The less you care about they and the more you focus on I, the more you will see your own progress. And you never know, maybe you'll become the they to other writers who should be focusing on I.

What do you do to stop the comparing? Has the they over I ever crept in and left you discouraged in your writing endeavors?

41 comments:

Patsy said...

I do sometimes compare myself to 'them'. My husband has a great cure – he tells me to think back to when I first started writing and imagine how I'd feel about someone who'd achieved the things I have in that time. I'd have been mighty impressed with myself back then, so maybe I should ne now, too.

nashvillecats2 said...

The only thing I compare myself to is seeing mothers out with their kids and grandkids, Mine don't want me.
I don't compare myself blogwise, I am what and who I am.
Excellent write Pat.

Yvonne.

Erika Beebe said...

Thank you for your reflection. I admit, I have asked these questions and I love your conclusion, "it is a state of mine."

Natalie Aguirre said...

Oh yes, I try not to but can't help comparing myself. Because I am such a slow writer and am one of those people with too much on my plate.

Pat Hatt said...

Patsy- Your husband has a great way of looking at it indeed.

Nashville - blog away your way at your bay

Erika - the mind can be the key

Natalie - get a smaller plate? They say it works better for food portions and such lol

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Play the comparing game and you'll just be miserable!

Dobson said...

I had a pretty long post on another blogging platform five or so years ago about the famous "They" family that did everything, achieved everything and were responsible for all the bad ever perpetrated. I try not to allow this to get to me, but any more when I go into a book store the jealousy inside is palpable. I think WHY NOT ME?

Tamara Narayan said...

Yes, I have been guilty of comparing myself to others. Sometimes these comparisons can inspire me to work harder, and other times they can make me want to grind my teeth in aggravation or despair. It's better to keep working. That's what makes me happier.

And, is this where we leave the contact info. for today's Writer Insecurity Contest? I sure hope so. Here's my link:

Writer Insecurity Contest

Heather M. Gardner said...

It's so hard not to compare. I want to use it for motivation, but it always turns into jealousy. :)

We just have to keep trying.
Great post!
Heather

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Pat - we can't compare can we ... we are (or I am and you definitely are) unique - each and every one of us ... so we're bound to be on a different - going our way and learning ... we'll get there and we've done more than many - we have books or in our case a blog ... and we learn so much - cheers Hilary

Christine Rains said...

I used to play the comparing game a lot, and it was immensely discouraging. I don't know if it's age mellowing me out or that I do have more experience now, I do it far less. #10 does get to me more than any other, though. Awesome post, Pat!

Sandra Cox said...

Good post, Pat! I think most of us suffer from the 'comparison syndrome'.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

They have because they find a way to make it happen. We need to do the same with what we have.

Kindlemom said...

Good luck with all of your writing Anna!

diedre Knight said...

Terrific post! Certainly resonates with me, anyway. It helps to remind myself that every star shines in its own way, in its own time.

J.L. Campbell said...

Comparison will kill us every time.
Great post!

Sandee said...

Kind of reminds me of trying to keep up with the Jones'. Very interesting.

Have a fabulous day. ☺

Em-Musing said...

Every time I feel a pity party coming on, my muse thumps me. One thing I can honestly say about me is that I am happy...very, very happy...and not every "they" can say that.

Patricia Lynne said...

It is hard to keep this frame of mind from creeping into my thoughts. I think even if I was uber successful, I'd still find someone to compare to. It's kind of in our nature. The best I can do is remind myself to stop and focus on my journey.

The Cynical Sailor said...

Fantastic post, Pat! Good reminder to think about what mindset we've adopted - is it a "they" or an "I" one. Cheers - Ellen

Olga Godim said...

Great post, Pat. No more comparing!
BTW: here is the link to my post with the picture of my avatar in front of the IWSG badge - for the Show Us Your Insecurity contest.

Olga Godim said...

Oh, I forgot to include the link in my previous comment. Here it is: https://olgagodim.wordpress.com/2017/10/04/rubens-and-iwsg/

Juneta Key said...

Great post. Deep thoughts. Thanks for sharing.
Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

L.G. Keltner said...

Great post! Doing constant comparisons to other writers can be demoralizing. When I do look at what other authors have done, I try to focus on their advice and stories of how they overcame the obstacles they faced. I find that much more helpful than focusing on how much further along in their writing journey they are.

Jen Chandler said...

I think we all compare ourselves at one point or another. Perhaps we always will. Whenever I find myself playing the "they" versus "I" game, I take a step back and look at my situation. I look at ME and really assess things. Have I been doing the best that I can do? Have I done as much as I can do in the time I have? Am I dealing with an auto-immune disease flare-up or relapse?

Our journeys are all different and we have to walk our own.

Thank you for this :)

~ Jen

Roland Clarke said...

I fall into the they-I trap a great deal too often. Then I have to reflect on what I have to be proud of - or my wife reminds me. Be still traitorous brain.

Sandra Cox said...

PS. Here's my link of the insecurity contest:
sandracox.blogspot.com

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Excellent post, Pat. I read Stephen King's bio and that did it for me. He was at the bottom, struggling, dreaming, worrying. And now look. They are wonderful people, but they're just people like you and me. Happy IWSG.

Pat Hatt said...

Alex - miserable indeed

Dobson - especially when some that are in the book store are eye roll worthy

Tamara - when it ups your game it can be a perk.

Heather - keep trying we have to do.

Hilary - yep, we have the books or a blog, way more than many would do.

Christine - Yeah, that #10 sure can creep up on one. Experience and age both can mellow one out.

Sandra - No pills for it either

Diane - That we do. Keep on keeping on at every zoo.

diedre - that every star does.

J.L. - kill it will.

Sandee - yep, and that always fails.

Musing - that is the way to be. As not many are very happy.

Patricia - Focusing can sure keep the journey going.

Olga - Don't compare indeed.

L.G. - that is way better to focus on.

Jen - All different indeed, and yeah, health woes sure suck too and get in the way some days.

Roland - damn that traitorous brain

Joylene - just people indeed. Shows one sure can get there.

Toi Thomas said...

I think I ask more questions of why or why not than actually do comparisons, but I'm sure I've compared myself at some point (probably recently). You're so right, "it's a state of mind," that we need to move beyond.

Diane Burton said...

All those big name authors started out like you did. They had (still have) the same insecurities. It's human nature to compare ourselves to others. Your husband's comment is super. Listen to him! :)

Deb R.H. said...

Something great to remember. Thank you.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Comparisons are just painful or judgmental - it doesn't go well either way. I have a tendency to play the "they are such awesome authors" and "I'm not sure I'll ever get there" game, but I try not to go there.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I love this post. Probably we've all done that at one time or another. Even after twenty books published, I still think 'they' sometimes.

Fundy Blue said...

Loved this, Pat! It was fun to find you posting on the IWSG site today. You DO have to push all those theys out of your mind and do the work.

Lynda Dietz said...

It's so hard to not compare ourselves to others. I've found the healthiest things is compare myself to where I was last year, last quarter, last month, etc. It's really the only way to keep perspective. Life is not equal for everyone and never will be.

Liesbet said...

This was such an inspiring blog to read! All very true and something we all need to focus on more. Life is all about priorities. Determination, passion and dedication can get us further than we think. I totally agree with your definition of luck. I have been called lucky for reasons other than writing successes(I wish) and, because of that, I utterly hate the word. We all make choices in our lives and being called lucky to live a lifestyle I choose, bothers me. Great post!!

Adrienne Reiter said...

What a helpful and hopeful post! Having gratitude for what you do have is key. Comparing yourself = death. Thanks for this. Staying true to yourself and refusing to play the competition game is easier said than done. Successful people focus on themselves, not the guy next to them. Thank you for this.

Robert Bennett said...

I'd like to say I have something special that I use, but really it boils down to two things. One: Fuck it. I'll pump out what I want, how I want, and one day I'll have the content and works good enough to publish consistently. Two: Comments on my blog. The comments, good or bad, keep me running and I've found that not working to 'feed' my readers often leaves work on the table.

Liza said...

Yes, sir. Luck equals hard work. I do my best NOT to compare. If I did, I'd drown. We need to set our own goals, and do our best to achieve them. Everyone is different and success can be measured in so many different ways...

Michelle Wallace said...

The only writer to whom you should compare yourself is the writer you were yesterday!
In life, we "make" our own luck. Making your own luck is connected to looking at yourself from a different perspective and stepping outside your comfort zone to try new things. There are a million other ways of looking at it which include the following: join groups; meet like-minded people; go to events; interact. In other words, be an active participant in your own life!

But honestly speaking... we're all guilty of indulging in the "they" mentality.
Thanks Patt!