Let's bypass politics, and focus on that other snarly beast, competition. Writers struggle with enough insecurities concerning their own work. When they start worrying about how they stack up against another artist, whether it be in terms of advances, print runs, contest wins, or productivity, they're opening the door for some really ugly emotions and behavior. Who needs it? Not me. That's why I spend most of my time in my pretty pink bubble, working at my own speed, focusing on my own story, and not worrying about how my career compares to X, Y or Z author. There are others who thrive and make strides by doing so. Not me.
Here's one for instance. I have friends who write four strong books a year. There are times when I've left my bubble, thought about them, and felt less than wonderful because I can only write two books a year. I have friends who have been working on one book for more than a year, and I'm sure there are times they feel less than wonderful when they think about me and my level at productivity. Dwelling on something like this can, to the extreme, become paralyzing. Let's stop and think. Does speed really matter? Isn't it the end result that matters most?
There's a fabulous post (11/9) running at Buzz, Balls, and Hype written by Dr. Susan O'Doherty. It touches on certain forms of competition. (Read it. Read it. Read it.) Here's one of my favorite parts.
"The amount of time you take to complete a novel is not important. Neither is whether you write on a laptop Olympia portable, or a tattered legal pad; whether you spill your raw feelings onto the page and shape them in successive drafts or draw up meticulous outlines and follow them religiously, editing as you go; or whether the work "flows" or requires sustained, conscious effort. What matters is the baby -- your book. You are writing your books using the techniques that work for you, and taking the time required to make them as good as they can be -- that is, to translate your unique vision onto the page as completely as possible. No one else can tell you how to do that, or how long it should take. No one else has your particular combination of genes and experience. No one else has your current life situation. So there is no basis for comparison, either in the way you work or in the finished product. As scary as it is, this is the truth: There is no pecking order. We are each alone with our stories, and we are all together, doing the best work we can."
Doing the best work we can. Getting our passion on paper. Sharing our stories with readers. I don't know about you, but I prefer to focus my energy on that goal as opposed to wondering why X author got a bigger deal or Y author's story placed in a contest and mine tanked. Life is too short and I've got a lot of stories to tell. Returning to my bubble now because it's where I work best.
"The talent of success is nothing more than doing what you can do, well." ~~Henry W. Longfellow