Time to stop comparing

Serendipity is a wonderful, awesome thing sometimes.

Friday morning I started through my “Important People” folder, the links to people who blog daily or at least often enough to pique my brain. One of those important people is Dean Wesley Smith, the prolific writer and daily blogger whose streak is somewhere around 4,000 days (this right here is my 421st consecutive daily blog).

Smith mentioned that he had spent HIS Thursday writing 4,000 words and recording a segment of an upcoming online class.

“Hmmph,” I said, and started thinking about how many weeks it had taken me to write the last 4,000 words of Jeep Thompson and the Lost Prince of Venus and how many years it has been since I spoke into a microphone.

Feeling a little sullen, it occurred to me that Smith’s wife, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, writes a writing business blog post every Thursday, so I clicked on her link next.

The title of this week’s blog is “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

Oh yeah. I have written 10 books in the last 13 years, nowhere near the hundreds of books and novels that Dean Wesley Smith has written, but 10 more than I had written in the previous 55 years of my life — oh yes, and half of those books in the last three or four years. The 20,000 words of the Jeep Thompson novel, while only halfway to the eventual total, are thousands of words more than any other novel I’ve written in the last nine years.

If I compare my efforts with other successful writers, I look like I’m standing still. If I compare my efforts with what I did before, I’m doing OK. That makes me feel better.

But the point of the quote, and Rusch’s blog post, is in the title quote, which she found in an emailing from a local voiceover company.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”

Creativity is about expressing what gives you joy. If you love to write or play a musical instrument or dance or perform, do those things. Share your joy. It doesn’t matter if it’s better or worse than someone else, it doesn’t even matter if it’s better or worse than your own past work. It’s about sharing your present joy. Of course, the more you do it, the better you’ll be at it, but the point is to do it. Do what you love doing.

With 7 billion people in the world, you are likely to find someone who does it better, qualitatively and quantitatively. So what? This is your art, and no one else can do your stuff the way you do it.

So don’t bother comparing: Comparison is the thief of joy.

Be joyful!

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