Guess What, People? It’s Not a Competition!

May 11, 2017

In so many areas of life, it’s all about coming out on top.

  • Trying to get that job
  • Playing that board game
  • Entering that giveaway
  • Applying for that scholarship
  • Even “getting the girl,” right?

In all of it, the goal is to beat out everyone else for that top position.

But writing isn’t one of those places. Just like moms who try to outdo every other mom for “party planner extraordinaire” or best Halloween costume EVER… that person who is out to “outdo” every other writer on the planet is just annoying. Well, and rude. He’s usually rude.

Not a Competition

There’s enough room in the market for ALL of us.

No, really. There is. Not one of us can write enough to ensure that every reader is kept in material for the rest of his or her life!

But not only that… We don’t all write all the same genres. Clark writes horror-slash-thriller—with definite emphasis on the slash. Ahem. April enjoys fantasy, mystery, and a few things in between. Me? Well, I write a bunch of different things. But there are some I’ll never write. Horror (why mess with it when Clark is so good at it already?), erotica (those who know me are cracking up at that idea. And those who don’t. Well, just assume you should be and laugh. I can take it.) Sci-fi… I have one. And one more planned. That’s it. That’s ALL I’m doing in that genre. Biblical fiction? Yeah. Not me.

But other readers love those genres, right? So someone has to write them. And that someone doesn’t have to be you. You can write what you love. And only what you love.

There’s more, though.

It’s not even a word count competition. Look. I write fast—like, really fast. Part of it is that there are stories pressing on me at all times, so when I sit down to write, I’m golden. And, if not just that, I do it all the time. So, like anyone who does anything regularly, I got pretty fast at it. I usually write a rather clean copy as well. Does that mean it doesn’t need editing? No. Does it mean I don’t usually have to rewrite a lot? Exactly.

Why am I bragging on myself? Well, I don’t mean to. The point is, that someone who writes on his days off only isn’t going to be able to come near my word count. I write every day. ALL DAY. He writes two days a week for four hours. How on earth could he hope to keep up?

He shouldn’t. It’s not a competition.

Sales. It’s the same for those, too. Look, there is always someone who will sell more books than you. Period. I’ll sell more than Janey Doeski. She’ll sell more than Joseph Blowenheiser. And Ima Greatwriter is always going to sell more than me. Period.

And you shouldn’t care. Your worth as a writer isn’t measured by books sold. It might be by publishers, but true worth? They don’t get to measure your worth. The person who read your book and loved it (or hated it). They determine the worth of that BOOK. Not even you as a writer. And only for them. Only. For. Them. I loved the book. My friend hated it. Which of us is right?

Neither. Both. And the reason that doesn’t matter is that it isn’t a competition. We’re not here to outdo each other. We’re here to fight through this thing called writing life together. So when we’re done and life is over… we can stand proud of our own accomplishments. If it’s all about competition, we might as well give up now, because someone will always write more, sell more, do better, do more—always.

Unless you’re just aiming for the, “Didn’t suck as much as that other guy” award. Then good news. You’ve already won it. Because you know what? Just like there’s always someone better… there’s always someone worse.

But it doesn’t matter because… say it with me… “It’s NOT A COMPETITION!”

So go help that other guy. I bet he’d appreciate it.

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