Stop Comparing!

Stop Comparing!


Fellow writers,

You know how sometimes you read something so amazing that it leaves you wondering what the heck you’re doing, how you ever thought you were cut out to be a writer?

When the negative self-talk starts slamming around in your brain, how does it make you FEEL?

Grateful? Excited? Motivated?

I’m guessing not.


Comparing Kills Creativity.


As you probably know, the great novelist Toni Morrison died a few weeks ago [as I wrote this], which propelled me to my bookshelf to pull down and read her novel Sula for the third or fourth time.

I’ve studied the language, the music of it, the rhythm, the poetry. But I’m still not sure how Morrison does what she does. There’s some invisible, magic ingredient.

And the way she weaves characters’ stories together? What on earth? If I tried that, well let’s just say it would be a mess.

So, yes, I could get really depressed if I compared myself to her – or even to a whole lot of outstanding writers who don’t come near her brilliance.

But why?

I’d rather nourish my writer self by basking in the beauty or quirkiness or gutsiness of other writers, let it soak in. Read it again. Read it aloud. Try to figure out how they did what they did. Sigh or chuckle or yelp with joy that they were able to do what they did.

And then get back to doing what I do.



Reprint of “Something to Consider,” August 28, 2019