you ever looked at another writer and thought, “I wish ___.” (You fill
in the blank.)
I wish I had her talent.
I wish I had her idea.
I wish I had her schedule.
I wish I had her resources.
I wish I had her office.
The list can go on and on if you
let it. I think I’ve probably thought all of the above at one point or
another. This kind of thinking can be dangerous, and will take us down
a road that ends up in an ugly, desolate place. Comparing ourselves as
writers will only lead to discontentment. Comparison, as I’ve heard it
said, is the death of contentment.
You know what I’m talking about.
You’re feeling pretty good about things. Maybe you’ve just scored your
first contract, or had an agent show interest, or finished your first
manuscript. Then you get on Twitter or Facebook or the blog of another
writer, and bouta bing, bouta bang, you see someone who has what you do
And suddenly, you want it. You
want her Amazon rating, her great review, her invitation to appear at
that event. And what was looking pretty good to you suddenly looks
It’s tempting to look at other
writers and think, “Well, she has it easy.” I’ve had my struggle with
that as I’ve balanced writing and a busy, full household. I’ve coveted
this writer’s detached office, just far enough from home that she
removes herself but close enough she can run over in her pj’s. I’ve
desired the long stretches of quiet writing time that writer has
because her children are older. I’ve envied that other writer’s
resources that enable her to have that whiz-bang Website and those
each time, I have to circle back to where God wants me. He gave me this
space and these talents, ideas, and people to write with. He didn’t
make a mistake, and He doesn’t sit around wringing His hands, wondering
if I can do what He created me to do. Mostly I think He wonders when
I’m going to stop looking around and start looking right in front of
of the best things a good
friend made me do after my first novel was released was to identify
both the strengths and weaknesses I bring to the table. The weaknesses
were easy—I could reel them off without even thinking. The strengths
were harder. In the end, I had to ask some friends to help me identify
them. But once I did, it made it easier to live with the writer I am. I
can better accept the weaknesses because I also see my strengths. That
one exercise has helped to make me a more confident writer.
In my new novel, She
Makes It Look Easy, I deal with the tendency we women have to
compare ourselves with others. I depict the dangers of pedestals and
the ugly fall from them. Ultimately, I take my protagonist, Ariel,
through a journey similar to my own—a journey that takes me full circle
back to loving who I am, where I am, and what I’ve been given. “She”
might make it look easy, but it’s not—for any of us. When we learn to
embrace the talents and resources we possess, working toward our
strengths and accepting our limitations (because we all have both), we
can finally be free to write what He’s called us to write. And in the
end, that’s the place we all need to live.