Sunday, January 18, 2015

My biggest flaw...

Well, not really my biggest but certainly not my only. One topic at a time...

Comparing myself to others. I do it every day. I'm not competitive by nature; at least not with other people. My biggest competitor is myself. And that means, no matter what I do, I will never win.

Regardless of the project that I'm working on, I never think that the finished product is good enough. Others may rave (stop laughing) but I can pick out at least a dozen things that could, not necessarily should, be changed.

It took me a long time to figure out that I want a career as an author. It actually came upon me quite suddenly, truth be told. I always knew there was something missing; I just didn't know what it was. Writing, publishing, signing, yes, even marketing, fill the hole that's been in my soul for 47 years. So what's the problem, you ask?

Comparison. I know authors who write every spare minute that they have. They get by on three hours sleep a night, work 40-50 hours a week at their day job, shuttle their kids to extra-curricular activities, and still manage to log 3,000 words a day. I feel like I'm lacking if I can't match their pace, as they scribble furiously between bites on their lunch hour. I feel like this proves that I don't want it badly enough. How can I want this as a career if I'm not writing EVERY SINGLE MOMENT of my life?

Comparison. I have to constantly remind myself that I'm not them. I'm me. I work at my own pace. It doesn't mean that I'm lazy or want it any less than anyone else. It's means that I'm wired differently; I function differently. I can't force the words to come (believe me, I've tried.) I've sat in front of my computer for three hours at a time, staring at the same paragraph, desperately searching for the right words. You know what? The words do come. In their own time. You know how I know that? I've published five books. Five complete stories that are more than words on a page. They're tears, frustration, struggle, low self-worth. They're me.

I've read a lot of the self-help books that tell you to give up your negative feelings, that you are your own worse enemy (I believe this one), to think positive thoughts and positive things will happen. I know what I should be doing to succeed. If only I could let go of that little voice that tells me that I'm not good enough. That what I create sucks. That it could be better if only I'd change this or that.

Our inner battles with ourselves are worse than anything the outside world can throw at us. So let's stop the war, lay down our weapons of self-degradation and low self-esteem. Exchange them for self-confidence and self-worth. Believe in ourselves. But most of all, burn the flag of comparison. It has no place in any of our lives. We are all individuals. And no one can ever take that away.

Now if only I could take my own advice...

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