Eyes on Your Own Work

Veronica Rossi 4 Thursday, July 03, 2014
"Comparison is the thief of happiness." -- Laura Williams

Yesterday, I got a little down because I realized I've been working on a book for almost three years. That feels like a long time. Granted, I've been doing a lot of other stuff in the meantime. Writing other books, starting a business, raising boys. Still. Feels like a long time.

I know lots of writers spend five, seven, ten years on a novel, but I'd always thought of myself as a writer who could knock a book down a year. I've done it--twice. But I also see, every day, on twitter or Facebook, some other writer commenting about finishing their third book in a year. Or getting an 8,000 word word-count day. A great day for me is 1,500 words.

My storyboard a few months ago.
I think those are Mother's Day flowers.
It makes me wonder: Why am I so slow? What am I doing wrong? Why can she write 8K a day? Is she a better writer?

Some days I take it a step further and come up with truly excellent disaster scenarios: Does this mean readers will forget me? Any readership I've built--will that all be gone by the time I get this thing written? What if, after all this time, no one wants to read this book?

These types of thoughts stem from me looking out instead of in. Usually, it means I'm spending too much time on social media following other people's achievements instead of creating my own. They arise from scattered focus and a weak connection with the writing itself.

Recently I was at a conference with a friend, Aaron Hartzler, talking shop. I mentioned to him my concerns about the book I'm writing. Not just how long it's taking, but what it is--the concept, which of course, also worries me.

"You think anyone's going to want to read it?" I asked. Then I proceeded to answer my own question, because when you're really good at disaster forecasting like I am, that's what you do. "It's crazy, right? No one will. I can't think of a single book like it out there."

Aaron shook his head. "Stop," he said. "Eyes on your own work."

He proceeded to tell me I should be focused on my effort--only. Just like in school. Don't peek at your neighbor's work. Do what you do, was his message. Don't worry about the rest. It's not going to help you to know that other people are writing 8K a day. How many can you write that feel good and right? Do that. Write them. Write your book. Not someone else's.

I've come back to Aaron's advice often since he gave it to me. In fact, I'm going to put it into action right now.

Eyes on my work.

On another note (but not really), my coauthored New Adult novel BOOMERANG launches next Tuesday. Great summer read, if I do say so myself. Check it out!


Thank you a thousand times, V! I needed this today.

I think we ALL can use this advice! Thank you!

Yes, yes, yes! There is no way to win the comparison game. The writing is the thing. Love this!

Post a Comment

Grid_spot theme adapted by Lia Keyes. Powered by Blogger.


discover what the Muses get up to when they're not Musing

an ever-growing resource for writers

Popular Musings

Your Responses

Fellow Musers