It’s so very easy, these days, to compare yourself to others.
It used to be a lot harder. You didn’t have bazillions of Instagram photos being smacked onto your FB wall (because neither existed), there weren’t thousands of blogs detailing all the ways these other people are (apparently) doing it all better than you, and your only challenges and consolations came from magazines, newspapers, tv, or your own actual neighbors and relatives.
It’s way too easy nowadays to look upon all these websites and articles and comment threads and despair. It’s impossible to be perfect, but some people try to maintain a public seeming of it. No matter what field you’re in, there’s always someone doing something better than you are– even Stephen Hawking has competition. And everyone, everywhere, seems to always be willing to lay down their own way of doing things as the best. Advice columnists have heavy competition these days just from the other people you interact with in cyberspace. Blehhh.
I am trying not to compare myself to others in my field, since I’m living out an entirely different life with entirely different parameters. My life is complicated by a lot of issues that other people don’t have to deal with, and although I’ve been spared some horrible things, my problems haven’t exactly been “light.”
Still, I’m struggling to write lately and there’s always this pressing standard out there that “a writer writes” . . . every day, despite whatever else may be going on. Damn hell, Stephen King even knocked out a novel while recovering from being hit by a van. (Let’s not forget that he also wrote a few while out of his mind on cocaine. You can tell which, sadly, because they’re not just scary but bizarre.)
So how can I claim to be a working writer if I can’t sit down and produce words every day?
Well, I’m just going to have to call “b.s.” on the idea that real writers write every day. And write whenever I can, whatever I can. And stop trying to hold myself to some standard imposed by someone who isn’t trying to cope with all the stuff that I’m dealing with on a daily basis.
Real writers write . . . as much as they can.