Sometimes in life no matter how pure our intentions, or how significant our compulsions, we still manage to lose track of who we really are and what we are trying to achieve. Sometimes we become so concerned with what we are doing that we fail to recognise or pay homage to why the fuck we are even doing it in the first place. It’s a phenomenon as old as man himself. We take ourselves and our talents for granted, and often something we love, or something we aspire to, becomes a monotonous or menial aspect of our lives that we derive little enjoyment from.
For a moment in time this very blog became just another aspect of my life that I gained very little pleasure from; as did my writing as a whole. All because I fell into that all too notorious trap of failing to view myself as a singularity and started comparing myself to others. I started reading the blogs of others, not to learn or to be inspired, but rather to compare. I would pour through the works of writers with a following larger than my own with jealousy clouding my mind and acid dripping from my tongue. How the fuck could this jackass have more readers than me? Was a common question that would spring to mind. Why when he has used there instead of they’re can he still receive five times as many likes as one of my pieces? Everyone was just another fucking amateur that was somehow more successful than I was.
It’s a vicious mindset to fall into; one that is psychologically damaging with no inherent positive benefits. When I compared myself to others it was never a fair fight. I would venture into the ring and pick out the biggest hitter, only to later find myself licking my wounds wondering how the fuck he had managed to beat me so badly. It’s a pretty embarrassing thing to lose a fight to someone who doesn’t even know that they’re in one. But such was my self-destructive mindset that I was comparing myself to the elite; to those who had already reached their goals. This one sided battle of the ego then spilled over from my blog into my other writing ventures. I’d wake at the crack of dawn to write, only to produce work that I deemed as shit in comparison to the works of others.
It didn’t matter to me that the work I was comparing myself to was that of published authors and best sellers like Patterson, Rowling (writing under a pseudonym), Robotham and many more (at one stage I even compared myself to Dante!). I was writing and comparing so much that the task became tedious and I started to resent the process every morning when my alarm clock shattered my sleep and bought me jarringly into the land of the living. Then when I began to judge the workings of writers I loved just as harshly as I was judging my own I knew that I had undergone some kind of transformation from overzealous writer to pretentious prick. I was openly acknowledging my boredom at the predictability or shabby plot holes of writers I actually respected and aspired to, for no other reason than I had lost sight of why I was even writing in the first place.
I don’t write because I want to compete. The truth is that I really shouldn’t give a flying fuck about how many followers the next blog over has; or how many predictably drab stories have managed to make it into print. I don’t want to be the next John Grisham, Clive Cussler, or Kathy Reichs, so why would I ever try to beat them at their own game? I write because I enjoy it; because I want to. I write because I believe that I have a story to tell, a story that there is no one more qualified than me to tell. I write because I am a singularity in this universe. And as such in my own microcosm there is nothing more important than who I am right now. To paraphrase the illustrious Terence McKenna, my thoughts and my feelings are the most immediate sector of my universe. And there is no one more capable to give life to those thoughts through pen and paper than I.
But what does that all mean? It means that from now on I’m going to try my hardest not to get bogged down in all the little things. When this blog first came to fruition I would be over the moon if I had three hits a week, and if someone was crazy enough too actually like a post then I felt like fucking Orson Welles. Three months in and I was hitting out double that. Six people per week were viewing this page. In reality that was less than one person per day, but I didn’t care. I was improving. I was growing as a writer and ever so slowly building a fan base. Milestones soon came quicker. A hundred views became two hundred. Two hundred turned into five hundred. Five hundred blew out to a thousand and so on. The point is that with every post I wrote I was improving.
From this point on there is only one person that I need to be competing with: and that’s myself. If every single time I take to my keyboard I do so with the sole intention of producing something better than what I did last time. If every day I write I try to be a better writer than the writer I was last week, last month, or last year than won’t I forever be a success?
For a brief moment in time I lost sight of the uniqueness of the singularity that is I. I lost sight of the wonderful feeling it is to be me. I was screaming my own frustrations to a world who was scratching its head unable to comprehend just what the hell I was so pissed off about. And then the penny dropped and a little voice inside my head reminded me that the loudest voices are often the ones that scream uninspired. It doesn’t matter who else is writing. I doesn’t matter what they’re producing, how many hits their blogs are receiving or how many of them are securing that elusive contract with a publisher. All that matters is that I am continually improving upon the foundations I lay for myself every time I take to my keyboard or pick up a pen and paper. I’m not competing against anyone else when I write. I’m competing against myself. As long as I can remember that, as long as I can continually push myself to be all that I can be, than who really gives a shit about anyone else?