JA Konrath, author of the Lt. Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels thriller series, has a great blog at A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing. In particular, check out his “Brain Check” post. JA provides a list of instructions for writers trying to persevere in this information-laden and book-heavy age:
1. Study the situation.
2. Set attainable goals.
3. Learn from both failure and success.
4. Don’t compare yourself to other writers.
5. Value yourself.
6. Bust your ass.
Read JA’s full post for his elaborations on each item. I struggle the most with items 4 and 5. I’m always comparing myself to other writers. That can be OK if I’m thinking, “gee, I can write as well as that,” but most of the time I’m thinking, “gee, I wish I had her gift for plot” or “gee, I wish I had his talent for humor.” The thing is I love to read and the second best way to learn about writing is to read (the first is, of course, to write), so not comparing myself to other writers is an ongoing struggle.
I definitely don’t value my writing as much as I should. I’ve received enough encouragement from other writers to keep going, but I need to learn to be my own encouragement. At the end of the day, I have to value what I do. Unfortunately, I wasn’t raised to value my writing, so it is, yet another, ongoing struggle.
And what keeps me from busting my ass is my perpetual self-criticism and doubt. Hmmm … enough excuses already, don’t you think?