Wednesday, February 20, 2013

You Are Uncomparable

by MarcyKate Connolly

It’s easy to feel down in the dumps when you see others drafting like speed demons or revising with glee. Especially when each word of a first draft feels like pulling teeth or revising gives you an ulcer.

Sometimes it can feel like it's not even worth striving towards the next step because everyone else already got there first. That their way of writing is best and since you can't do it their way, you'll never make it.

I think all of us feel like this at some point or another. And no, it doesn't necessarily go away when you finish that draft/get an agent/sign a contract. How can we help comparing ourselves to other writers? It's a tricky, steep path at every stage of the game; naturally we look to others to gauge our progress.

But here's the thing: you are uncomparable.

That's right. There's no one else like you. No one who writes the way you do. No one who will have the same path as you.

This isn't a race; it's a marathon. What matters is crossing the finish line - at your pace and in whatever way is yours, be that running, skipping, cartwheeling, or crawling.

So if you start getting down because you fear you're not measuring up, take a moment to remember that this journey is yours. Own it. Treasure every misstep and stumble, and most importantly learn from them.

MarcyKate Connolly writes middle grade and young adult fiction and becomes a superhero when sufficiently caffeinated. When earthbound, she blogs at her website and spends far too much time babbling on Twitter. Her debut upper MG fantasy novel, MONSTROUS, will be out from HarperCollins Children's Books in Summer 2014.

8 comments:

SC Author said...

I needed this. I'm in a slump because I feel I write way too slowly, and I keep thinking, what if something happens and my MS is left unfinished? It's hard to get away from that feeling. It's scary.

Jai said...

Wow, I really needed this today. I'm in the process of trying to find what works best for me. It can be very frustrating.

I like the marathon analogy - crawling, that would be me you see crawling, but I'm still dragging myself onward.

Dianna Narciso said...

Beautiful post, MarcyKate.

I'm working hard to finish the first draft of the first book in a new series and sometimes I feel like I'm crawling up a mountain, naked, in the snow, without any chocolate.

If we just keep plugging away, we fall in love again it then it's joy for a while.

Thanks for the boost to help us through.

Raven Paramour said...

This was a wonderful pick-me-up, MarcyKate.

I hear about authors who it takes a short amount of time to write and rewrite their manuscript, being able to finish so many novels so quickly.

For the paranormal satire that I'm writing, I have been writing it for several years and I'm still on the rewriting process. I'm working on the final draft but it seems it will never be finished.

You are right-writing is a marathon not a race. There should be a focus on quality rather than quanity.

Also congrats on getting a publishing contract for MONSTROUS. The excerpt I have read from your website was great.

Jemi Fraser said...

Love this MK! We all do have to find ways to love our own journeys! :)

MarcyKate said...

Thanks all, I'm so glad to hear this post resonated with you!

@SC - I know just how you feel. I usually write slow too. And now that I'm under contract, there's extra pressure. If only there were twice as many hours in a day!

@Jai - The trial and error of figuring out one's writing process is certainly an interesting thing...Personally, I feel like I've been doing my marathon as a crab walk - kind of awkward, strange, and uncomfortable, but you eventually find your way there :P

@Dianna - NO CHOCOLATE? *immediately sends virtual chocolate* Drafting is almost always the longer, trickier part of the process for me. And you're right, loving the book you're writing is is so very important. If you don't, who else will?

@Raven - I personally haven't worked on a book for that long of a sustained time (2 years has been my max thus far), but I have a couple friends who have. Books each have their own personalities and some are harder to write than others. But it's worth it in the end.
And thank you! It took many years of trying and several books shelved in the process, but I'm so thrilled that MONSTROUS will see the light of day next year! :)

@Jemi - Thanks! :)

Janet Johnson said...

So true! And so easy to forget. Thanks for the reminder. :)

amyknichols said...

Thank you for this!