This morning, I ran across a blog post by Ferrett Steinmetz, “My Secret To Success: I’m The Dumb One.” Go read it, I’ll wait.
Parts of that post reminded me of some thinking I did a while back. I was feeling like I was never going to get anywhere with my writing, never going to be good enough, never going to get a big sale, blah blah blah. If you’re a writer you probably know the feeling. If you do anything you care about, you probably know the feeling.
Then I realized: Most of the writers I hang out with are “ahead” of me. It makes it easier to get discouraged, because I see them getting things I’m not (sales, invites, acknowledgement of existence). But I shouldn’t be comparing myself to them now, I should compare myself to where they were N years ago.
Ok, ok. I shouldn’t compare myself to anyone, everyone’s path is different, etc etc etc. Anyone who says they don’t ever do that is either a liar or a candidate for Buddhist monkhood.
Many of my writer acquaintances have been doing this longer or working harder than I have. Many of them are also more talented, but I try not to think about that, because that way lies madness, or at least severe depression.
There are great benefits, like Ferrett says, to being the dumb one in the room, and to be able to ask the dumb questions, and learn from the smart people. It’s how you get smarter. Just don’t let the discouragement stand in the way.