While I normally like to keep my posts upbeat, today I’m going to talk about something a bit more personal that we desperately need to address more as writers, especially bloggers. I wasn’t planning on publishing this post — it’s been in my drafts almost five months — but I can’t ignore the topic anymore.
So. Here it goes.
I’ve only been blogging for a few months now. It would make sense that I don’t have hundreds of views a day or 500 followers.* But, still, I was in a bit of an emotional slump because of it a little while ago.
I’m an INFJ and don’t like people feeling bad for me, so I didn’t tell anyone and played it off like blogging and writing was easy-peasy. Cool beans. A piece of cake.
But, honestly? I was comparing, and I was slowly losing hope for myself.
*WE WILL GET THERE ONE DAY. WE WILL RULE THE WORLD
I’ve had a history with comparison. Even as a young child I was always thinking so-and-so was better than me. Sadly, this competition in my heart was centered around me and my older brother. To my younger self, he was perfect, the model student who always succeeded easily while I was the creative kid who barely held onto a B in math.
Hold up – there are three problems here already:
- my standards were MUCH too high. Did I understand that it took a lot of focus and discipline to study as diligently as my brother? Nope.
- my brother and I are polar opposites. I’m a creative writer; he’s a computer programmer. On top of that, he knew how he could benefit best from studying and had learned how to understand his material faster.
- math is dumb. That one is self-explanatory.
As a then-nine-year-old, I didn’t understand that. Neither did ten, eleven, or twelve-year-old me.
Fast forward a couple years.
Those who know me from YWW might remember a time in early October where I was very discouraged by other people’s achievements. Of course I loved those people. I was cheering on them loud as anyone else! But their victories made mine feel like nothing. Here’s what I said:
This sounds so selfish, but I want to know if anybody understands. I feel.. sort of discouraged on [the YWW Community].
I think I have a pretty nice blog and I’m about to get into my first year of NaNoWriMo. I’m working up the courage to ask someone to be my mentor. So I should be on a pretty decent track to be an author, yeah?
But everywhere I look there are people are SO MUCH BETTER than me! I mean, I can’t even get three blog followers in a week and there are people my age getting full-fledged book deals! Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely excited about things like that but at the same time I’ll never live up to that standard.
This makes no sense since I’m so supported by my family and the YDubs community. Maybe I’m jealous? Does anyone understand?
And of course they did. The first response to that post was by my prayer warrior friend, Courtney.
Boy do I. It kind of makes you feel like, “Why do I even try? They seem to be doing really well and all, and I’m way behind. I’ll never get where they are. So why don’t I just give up?”
This comment was followed by many, many others.
This can’t just be my issue. It can’t even be just a writer or blogger issue.
It’s a sneaky way for Satan to steal joy from e v e r y b o d y.
Then one of our wonderful Student Mentors, Aleigha Israel, gave us a beautiful piece of encouragement.
Ah yes, that feeling that we can’t always put a finger on, right? I know exactly how you feel and I have struggled with this SO much, Abby! You are definitely not alone and you are not selfish in asking this here.
I also tend to compare myself to other writers and it NEVER turns out well! Having that feeling that other people are “so much better” comes from comparing, and trust me, I’m the worst at this! When we stop comparing ourselves to others, the Lord will bless us for it.
Secondly, I give my entire writing life to the Lord. I do it at least two or three times a week! When I start to feel discouraged or feel like I’m traveling a long dusty road that’s not seemingly going anywhere, I just take it to Him and I’m reminded once again that my entire writing life is in His hands. He’ll bring me more readers or book reviews in His time.
W.O.W. Give your entire writing life to the Lord.
This doesn’t even have to apply to the writing life anymore — it can be body image, talents, grades, jobs, you name it.
My life verse is Jeremiah 29:11, which says simply, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”
I think a lot of people say this is their favorite verse because, look, God just told us he’s not going to harm us!! Nothing bad will ever happen!! YAY!!
and abby facepalms into a brick
But, seriously, take a second to stop and think about the beginning of that verse. It’s the very best part! Take a look:
For I know the plans I have for you.
God has plans, guys! Plans specifically for you! He knows exactly where you will be in a week, a year, a decade. Isn’t that so encouraging?! He has plans! *excited squealing*
I like how Mandisa puts it in her song Unfinished. He started something good (you, duh) and He’s going to complete it. So let’s not be discouraged by other people being faster, prettier, cooler, or better than us in any way. God has a plan for us!
Oh, by the way. Want to know something special?
You were created with a unique learning pace, a certain type of body, and, yes, you were created to be at this place in your writing right now. You weren’t created to be a carbon copy of someone ‘prettier’ or more famous or better paid. Maybe you don’t know why you’re like that, and boy do I understand. One thing is true though.
You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
I want to thank you guys for staying this far into the post. I know it’s a little long, a little deep, and a little sad, but it’s necessary. Far too many people aren’t happy with the great things they achieve just because other people get to them faster or easier.
I still think sometimes that I’ll never make it as a blogger because I don’t have talent ‘like everyone else’. I still look in the mirror and frown at my big nose or frizzy hair that don’t look like people on TV. I’ll never fully win the fight with comparison, and it’s likely that nobody ever will.
But I know it’s a flat-out lie to think that you don’t measure up.
Your body, writing, job, or social standing don’t define you.
God has a plan for you, and where you are now is a part of it.
You are wonderfully made just as you are.
Well, there it is. A sort of sappy, sort of empowering post half a year in the making. I know it’s really different than usual, but different is okay, right? I’d love to hear what you think, so go ahead and comment. Have a wonderful weekend 🙂