This weekend, Pam Morsi gave a workshop to my local chapter. During her presentation, she said something about success that really spoke to me. I’m going to butcher the paraphrase because I didn’t have the foresight to write it down at the time, so apologies in advance to Pam if I screw this up, but the basic sentiment is this:
Don’t judge your personal success by anyone else’s. Where would the world be if classical oboeists decided their self-worth by comparing their iTunes download popularity with pop stars? They’d throw themselves on machetes, and then we’d have no classical oboeists.
(Okay, I added the bit about machetes. She might’ve said, “Off a cliff.”)
I think in this industry, it’s especially easy to want to judge our progress by that of our (internet) neighbor, or friend, or chaptermate, or so on, when in reality, no two cases are the same. Even with the same type of book at the same publishing house for the same editor. And there’s little to no data aggregated for our perusal, not that it would mean much even if there were.
Despite all that, I think it’s really important for us to remember that we can’t all be Madonna or Outkast or Daddy Yankee or whoever the download of the week happens to be. I’m not exactly sure how to do that, mind you, but I’m positive it’s essential for writer sanity…
YOUR TURN: Is comparing yourself favorably / unfavorably to others human nature? Should we kick it down a notch to save our sanity? If so, how? Is it ever a good thing to judge yourself by someone else’s path?