I recently joined Twitter, a social media I’d avoided because I didn’t need another thing feeding my procrastination habit.
Upon joining, I found a wonderful world of fellow writers, agents who let you know what they’re looking for, publishers, and pitching competitions where agents come to you (provided they see your tweet).
I also discovered any originality I thought my manuscript had, and my dreams and goals as a writer, are the same as everyone else. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I’m special, and I knew there were a lot of writers in the world and we all have the same desires, it just wasn’t as obvious until I saw it tweeted out with hashtags every second of the day.
The realization you’re a common fish in an increasingly small pond is enough to induce both writer envy and a chronic case of self-doubt (as if you didn’t have it already). So, how do you not give in to that voice now asking why you’re bothering? You remember the most important thing about being a writer is that…
The only Writer You Have To Be Better Than Is Yourself.
Be better than the writer you were yesterday, last week, last month, last year, whatever year it was when you first put your pen to paper.
It’s great that social media and the writing community gives us a glimpse at what others are up to, but when it comes down to the nitty-gritty, that doesn’t matter. The only writer you should compare yourself to, try to be better than, try to improve, is YOU.
It’s a hard thing to remember when you’re in the submission trenches, endlessly editing, or wading your way through some less than stellar beta feedback. But if you love what you’re sending out. If it’s the best you can do. If you worked hard to get it to that level. If you are still going after being rejected multiple times, you are doing a great job, my friend.
Concentrate on what you can do to improve how you write. Celebrate the milestones of putting your work into the hands of others. Embrace the rejections and the feeling you’re shouting into a void that’s already echoing with other voices. Because if you’re doing all of that, you’re working toward your goals. Then, when you do reach what your writerly heart is set on, you’ve got yourself the biggest and best bonus. One that is worth tweeting about.
— K.M. Allan