Reminder: Stop Comparing Your Career with Everyone Else’s

Living as a Writer series

This thread made the rounds during the holidays and garnered attention and comments by long time writers even during the whole RWA explosion. From what I saw, the reaction was nearly universal: you’re never too old, and stop comparing where you are to where others are. Their road isn’t your road.

This idea if you haven’t reached some milestone of success (in any endeavor) by age X (some arbitrary number usually less than 35) is an idea we need to resist and resist hard.

Everyone’s journey is different. Everyone’s life circumstances are different. I think we all know this, yet so many of us, myself included, fall to the trap of wanting someone else’s success.

I’ve been writing since I was in high school but publishing was out of reach until recently. I know I couldn’t have written the novel I just turned in at any earlier stage in my life. I didn’t have the experiences that make up the book’s subject and themes. I didn’t have the skills, nor the opportunity to gain those skills until recent years.

But that’s my journey. Rebecca F. Kuang and Samantha Shannon wrote stellar books before they were twenty-five. Each of their journeys is unique. N. K. Jemisin didn’t find success until her forties. Her journey is unique.

It’s easy to see the success of others and wonder why we’re not having ours at the same time. But embrace your individual journey. It’s unique; it’s yours, and your books will reflect your unique life and be better for it.

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