Thursday, April 30, 2009

Apples to Oranges

I made a fatal mistake yesterday. I peeked at my work and started making some edits. Ugh.

So why is that so bad? Because I was trying to write this book without doing that. Because when I did, I started thinking how awful it was written and it needed this and that and then my confidence level tanked. So when I tried to jump back into where I was--it was hard to move forward.

What made me do it? I received a free book in the mail and started reading it. I loved the way the author detailed every movement of his character. I know, I know--his book read like that only because he had edited it a million times.

But I started comparing. And that's when I fell apart. Whenever I compare my achievements to someone else's--it changes everything. My eyes turn a shade of green and I choke.

So I put my WIP aside for a day.

Today I'll give myself a pep talk and pray that God will spur me on to do this and He'll work it out the way it should be. And maybe, just maybe I'll get that momentum back.

Have you found yourself discouraged in some things because you compared yourself to others?
It's an easy trap to shut down , as well.

Praying you have a move forward day today!


Janna Qualman said...

I get hung up like that often. And, like you, I remedy it with pep talks and prayer - some times it's easier than others.

I hope you find your old groove today!

Jessica said...

OH no! Yes, I've totally felt like that, many times. You'll get past it. :-) I'm so stuck on my wip right now it's not even funny, so I'm very sympathetic to you.

Lin said...

try writing out your feelings of competition and comparison and see if that doesn't help you work through them.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Nooo! Sending you a set of blinders for that little gremlin of a self-editor!

Ter, don't you think this is a good life lesson about comparison too? You ARE unique and so is your writing. Don't forget it. No going back or into neutral...just straight ahead. Step on the gas and look at all the glorious signposts along the way!!

Jessica said...

Terri, when you said I look like me, does that mean I really have all those wrinkles around my eyes? I don't know whether to LOL or Wah!

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Oh, yah. I just need to open a craft book and see where I need to make fixes without even looking at my manuscript. It's that perfectionism that keeps me from ever submitting, actually.

Do you ever wonder if published authors ever look at their books in print and their chest just falls to the pit of their stomach, feeling like they failed? Because that's how I feel everytime I reread to revise and edit once more. Will I ever be satisfied?

Greg C said...

Although I try not to be, I am very competative and always judge myself acording to the accomplisments of others. I know I need to stop but I can't. I want to be #1.

Cindy said...

Oh yeah, I've fallen into that trap. And then I go, "maybe if I just change this little bit of my WIP or write it more like so-and-so, it will be better."

I'll pray for you--for that extra boost of confidence and to be productive when you get back to that WIP.

Cheryl Wright said...


It happens to me too. I love the color green but that envy-green does wear well at all.

When I find it hard to shake it off, I try to identify one thing about the writer, his or her process, style, words that resonates with me and turn the envy into a snippet of inspiration or information to make my writing better and myself a more committed writer.

Jody Hedlund said...

It's so easy to compare with others and get discouraged. I'll pray that you get your momentum back!

Kristen Painter said...

I start every writing day by going back and editing what I did the day before. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. It's my process and it works, so why change it?

Sassy Granny ... said...

I love the sort of inspiration I feel when someone does something really well, and that something is what I want to do really well too. It doesn't feel competitive or deflating, but compelling. It's learning to live on the compelling side that has been helpful to me. But it's not always easy.

Hang tough! I'll just bet your WIP needs far fewer edits that you're imagining.


Melissa Marsh said...

Oh my goodness, this happens to me, too. I read a book and I think, "Why can't I write like THAT?"

But then you have to tell yourself, "Because God wants you to write like THIS" and brings you back to your manuscript. :-)

Carmen Gamble said...

Yes! I know what you mean. When I read other people's submissions to the E-Circle I belong to, I notice how different their styles are from mine and wonder if there's something lacking in my style. I think we just have to go for it and let our own voice shine through. Beauty is in the eyes of the just allow you to be you!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

This very exact thing happened to me yesterday after reading someone else's work. I'm now quoting what I wrote to my friend Joy in an email (just so you'll know I'm telling the truth)...

"have this sudden and overwhelming thought that my words don't matter; that my book isn't good enough. Who would want to read it anyway? Has this all been for nothing?

I know ... defeating. It's like a bad hair day. No matter the way you comb it, you just can't be happy."

How's that for like-mindedness?! We're in this together, friend. Keep to it.


Yolanda said...

Oh, comparing is not good and I wonder if there is one of us that doesn't do that from time to time.

Our weight, our hand bag, our hair, our ministry?

Great thoughts!!!


Jill Kemerer said...

Yes. I'm having that same day today!

Once I started writing, though, it went away. I can't help myself--I love my writing even if no one else does! That's terrible isn't it? Ha! Ha!

Pat's Place said...

Yep! I am my own worst critic! I junked my own book as just a bunch of drivel, but my husband gave me a serious talking to and I forged on with more confidence. I think you have a treasure going and you just have to refine it a bit before it is ready to shine in public!

Chelle Sandell said...

That is something I think we all deal with. I can always open my chapter or scene and find something to tweak. It's so hard to turn off that internal editor. Ans as for reading something and feeling inferior...all the time;) That's one reason I LOVE connecting with other share and commiserate our journey together.

Lynnette Labelle said...

I have days like that, too. I hate 'em. Lucky, I'm okay the next day.

Lynnette Labelle

Helen Ginger said...

A lot of authors say that when they're writing, they do not read books in their own genre. It's a cardinal rule of theirs. Your's may be do not read books in any way similar to yours. Read YA or biographies or cookbooks. Nothing that will cause you to break your own rules.

Now, put down that other book and go back to work on your first draft.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Terri -

Sure! I've wanted to sing like Sandi Patti, dance like a prima ballerina, and write like...whoever's book I'm reading at the moment.

Then I learned something. I heard a speaker say, "It's better to be an great original than a poor copy."

So, I'm being just plain ol' me, and praying the talents He's given me will grow, bloom, and bless those they touch.


I love your blog! You're an engaging, delightful writer. :)

Saleslady371 said...

I was standing in the check out line at the grocery store yesterday when this tiny woman in front of me kept putting not one but several candy bars on the belt, then a few sodas, etc. I will never be petite like her and if I ate that stuff, I would be so fat!

Made me so mad. But I'm comparing myself to her wishing I had her cute little figure.

I so know how you feel.

Beth in NC said...

Oh Terri, I'm sorry! Yes, I compare and it is never a good thing. God has given each of us our own flavor and style.

I pray you'll get back on track and shine in the way He intended YOU to shine. :o)

Alleluiabelle said...

Great post Terri. I know I've compared myself before to others in so many ways, but I have to rechannel myself in my mind and let my true heart lead me and then it turns around quite quickly...along with His help of course.

It looks like you're making quite a bit of progress despite some of the edits.