This is when the nasty bug called comparison can kick in. It can strike any of us in any line of work. Competition in publishing is fierce. To succeed we’re urged to participate in social media to promote ourselves. Be on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Have a blog, a web page, do give-a-ways and newsletters, enter contests so you can add Award Winning to your resume. And of course write books.
So for insecure writers, it’s easy to look at what other successful authors are doing and feel like you’re not measuring up. Sometimes, as I scroll through all the good news posted on Facebook by other authors I begin to feel like I’m not doing enough. There are authors who seem to be super heroes – they work full time, homeschool their five kids, write a daily blog, a monthly newsletter, serve as president of their local writers group and in their spare time teach100 other authors how to write a best seller. It’s enough to make me want to go throw a great big pity party. Woe is me. I’m not promoting enough. I’m not writing fast enough. I should write bigger books, issue oriented books, suspense books.
It’s awards season in the publishing world – the time when the hundreds of contests held each year announce their winners. Winning an award can boost your career up several notches, especially if it’s a prestigious one. Some authors seem to win them by the truck loads. Nearly every book they write wins some kind of award.
As Christians we know we’re not supposed to compare ourselves to others, but it’s difficult not to at times. The truth is, not all writers are created equal. God has given us each a gift to use for his glory. Some of us will write big, epic novels. Others will pen gritty suspense, coming of age, or high adventure stories. And some simply want to write romance.
I’ve been asked; don’t you want to write bigger books someday? Something significant? I always answer no. I love writing romance. It’s all I ever wanted to do. I don’t have the call to write women’s fiction, or delve into political issues or even to write a frenetically paced suspense.
I confess to twinges of envy when I see others gathering awards like bunches of grapes and when I hear of authors who write six books a years as if it’s nothing. I’m a one at a time writer. It takes a great deal of thought, and hard work to get one plotted and written. If I allowed myself to get too caught up in what others are doing I’d quit right now.
So what do I do? I keep a couple of Bible verses in the forefront of my mind. One is
Philippians 4:11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
I am content with my productivity. I’m working at a pace that is comfortable for my abilities, and my stage in life. More significant is the other verse I like. Romans 9:21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?
My task may be to provide sweet romances for common use. And I’m good with that. As long as I do it for his glory, and make my stories reflect his heart I’m content. If any of my little stories are destined for a more special purpose then I’ll leave that in His hands.
In the meantime, I’ll keep following the path he has laid out for me, and be extremely grateful and content. Not everyone gets to travel the way of publication.