Comparison stands entirely in opposition to creativity.
I created a rule for myself a long time ago that, when it came to my writing, I would not be in competition with anybody. My goal was, and has always been, to be better today than I was yesterday.
This does not mean, however, that I’m not ambitious.
I am. Extremely so. I want to hit the bestseller lists, I want to win awards, and I want each of my projects to be exceptionally successful financially.
But whether it makes more money than the writer who lives next door or whether I am on more lists than another author or whether I beat someone else on an awards list is of no interest to me. I’m interested in my own accomplishments but I don’t care how they match up (or don’t) to anyone else’s.
This is the distinction that many creatives miss. There is a difference between being creative and being ambitious. I am extremely ambitious; I want to get to the highest levels of my chosen profession. I truly believe that this is not a zero sum game and that if I’m hitting the bestseller lists, that doesn’t mean that other people can’t or won’t or that if I’m winning awards, it doesn’t mean other writers can’t or won’t.
I believe this to be true in all of life: There is opportunity for all of us, there is success for all of us, whatever you want is available to you, and to me.
I do not believe in competing with other authors and businesses.
I don’t care about being better than anybody else.
I do aspire to excellence, to be the best I can possibly be.
As artists, we need to let go of the idea of competition. Because two things happen when you start competing with other writers: One, you set yourself on a path that may or may not be true to you. Two, and more importantly, you become reluctant to take as many risks with your own work. The one that becomes the original breakout success.
The market respects and rewards originality. Sure, it rewards the clones, too. But the clones always come after the big breakout success.
That’s what I want to be. And I hope that’s what you aspire to, as well.
Comparison is a natural part of the creative process, but it doesn’t have to become so instrinsic to you that it stands in the way of your originality.
And how to benefit from your instinctive human need for comparison whilst not allowing it to hamper your abilities is exactly what we discuss in 30 Days to Creative Courage.
I’ve been traveling unexpectedly and so I haven’t been able to tell you about this course in as much detail as I would have liked, and so I’m extending the holiday sale on the course until January 2, 2020.
To more creative courage in 2020!
I’ll see you there!