Monday, March 23, 2015

The Fallacy of Competition

In high school it was who had better clothes, better hair, a cooler car, the hottest boyfriend.

I couldn't wait to exit the rat race, but life is life and people are people. No matter what age, we will compare ourselves to one another. And most of the time we're the ones that come up wanting, by our own estimation.

There a million ways to shortchange yourself as a writer. There's always someone with more marketing dollars, someone who got a better deal, a cover that you covet, a tour you didn't get to go on. We can check our Amazon ratings against someone else, compare shelf-adds on Goodreads -- and that's without mentioning reviews.

It's very easy to go down this rabbit hole. A writer can't use any social media without being highly aware of a book other than theirs that is getting a lot of attention.

And that's fine.

As a librarian I can say that there are plenty of reluctant readers that need one particular book to flick the switch in their brain that turns reading from a chore into a joy. It only takes one to change their minds - and if it's not mine, that's okay. The one book that turns them into a reader has done a service. Once the transformation from non-reader to reader takes place, there's always the option that mine might be picked up next.

Writers need to be aware of that when we feel a little stab of jealousy when massive exposure is being doled out - and not always in our direction. The book that's plastered everywhere may not be ours, but it's creating hundreds - possibly thousands - of readers.

And that's a wider potential audience for everyone.

3 comments:

Kel said...

That's a great way to look at it, Mindy! And it's true, too. Not every book works for every reader, but every book will work for someone. :)

donnaeverhart.com said...

This post is great - I have to say I especially LOVE your Submission Hell - It's True. I also like what Kel said, but I'd like to add a twist to her statement... and that would be "not every book works for every editor, but every book will work for at least one editor."

Or something like that.

:)

Ladywriter said...

So true. Spending our lives comparing ourselves to other people is a waste of time and energy. I suppose that's been the underlying theme in my own books, and whatever I'm drawn to write seems to have some element of that. We don't get our value from what we do but from who we are. Thanks.