I listened to several podcasts yesterday as I was stuck driving in traffic for a few hours. (Don’t worry – I’ve already whined and complained about that!). One podcast discussed writing 10,000 words a day. Yes, you read that right – 10,000! That’s pretty much my weekly goal. As I got more and more depressed listening to this podcast while stuck in my car, I realized I need to stop comparing myself with other writers. This applies in particular to two areas – writing tempo and success.
Writing Tempo. For some reason, I’ve been hearing a lot about time management lately. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a HUGE fan of time management. I am not someone who can handle chaos well. As in, not at all. Unfortunately, many of these time management podcasts, blogs, articles, etc. can be boiled down to one suggestion – write faster. Like, obnoxiously fast.
If you can write 10,000 words a day, then go for it! You are awesome. But, you know what? You are also awesome if you write 1,000 words a day. I recently experimented with improving my daily word count. I used to aim for one chapter a day. I decided to try for two chapters a day three days a week. To my surprise, not only did this work, but I can maintain this tempo quite easily.
Slow and steady wins the race! I may not be writing 10,000 words a day, but based on my current tempo, I do plan to publish four books and two novellas next year. That’s a pretty darn good year in my opinion!
“Success” aka Book Sales. I’ll be totally honest here. I started out the year with a goal to increase my book sales five-fold. Yes, five-fold. And initially, it was working. I was selling more in one month than I’d sold in the previous twelve months! Around May, however, sales started slowing down and I was spending more and more time on marketing. I was also spending more and more time being stressed and depressed. Why can’t I make as much money as all those success stories?
In September, I finally gave myself permission to stop. Because here’s the thing – what works for one author doesn’t necessarily work for another. Also, it’s important to note many of those success stories are based on the ‘glory’ days of Kindle when there was a fraction of the number of books and authors as there is now. And then there’s the fact that those success stories are often the outliers – not the experience for the everyday writer.
Instead of spending hours and hours on Facebook and Amazon marketing – checking my ads, my sales, readjusting things time and time again – I am now concentrating on writing and publishing more frequently. This will not make me a millionaire. Guess what? I’m okay with that. Daydreams of being a millionaire notwithstanding.
Be you. Not anyone else. What is the lesson to be learned from all of this? It’s simple, really. We writers need to stop comparing ourselves with other writers. I know it’s hard in this day and age when information is not only readily available but constantly shoved down our throats, but I believe if we are conscious of this decision to not compare ourselves, we can do it – or at least stop with the constant comparisons.
What about you? Do you compare yourself with other writers or other writer’s success?