Saturday, October 24, 2009

Be Careful in Comparison

Jenn here. By habit and learned behaviors, we tend to compare ourselves to those around us. If we aspire to be good at something, we desire to be the best. There is nothing wrong with striving to be better, but we must be careful putting too much emphasis on others and comparing ourselves to them.

It wouldn't be right to compare a debut author's sales with those of a national bestselling author. Yet, so many aspiring new authors and midlist authors do so. While that kind of success may be a long-term goal, we need to set short-term goals that will lead to that point. Otherwise, we could risk losing heart and becoming weary of never succeeding at anything. Some short-term goals could be obtaining that first publishing contract, earning out an advance, achieving more contracts or series, finaling in contests and winning them, and selling more on each book in realistic increments.

We are all on an individual journey. Writers are on the road to publication and a writing career. Just as some will be published within a few years of trying, others will work hard at it for 10-15 years before they earn that first contract. A few will never make it past the midlist, and they will write some excellent books. I've read many books that I thought were better than some I've read on the bestseller lists. It happens. We are on different roads and taking various journeys.

If we spend all our time comparing ourselves and our success to others and their success, we may lose the beauty in creating our own work. We could jeapardize the enjoyment of doing what we do. Worse, we could risk losing sight of God's calling on our lives and the great things He is doing in us.

"For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. We, however, will not boast beyond measure, but within the measure, but within the limits of the sphere which God appointed us--a sphere which especially includes you."
2 Corinthians 10:11

Please share your thoughts.


  1. I agree Jennifer. I preach this same philosophy to the teenagers I work with everyday, but still it's easy to fall into that trap. Focusing on little steps for ourselves will help keep our focus from straying to the temptation of comparing.

  2. It's very easy for someone my age who still considers herself new to the writing field and has yet to have a pubbed book,to compare herself to someone younger in age but well established in their writing career (think anyone of you!). I speak from experience!

    Excellent reminder not to do this!

  3. I think comparison issues can apply to any area in our lives. It's so hard not to do b/c we live in a competitive world that teaches us to do this. Thanks for sharing.