Comparison-itis is a dangerous disease to develop. Whether it is the keeping up with the Joneses type or the online, she's got more followers than me type, it can squash you. Stifle. Mess with your mind. But there is another, more positive, side. It can also inspire you.
You have a choice. Let it bring you down. Or let it make you up your game. I'm choosing the latter.
I see wonderful writers, bloggers, photographers. Making the most of all the opportunities afforded them in this new, online, world. I see them celebrate traditional book deals (some with similar ideas to mine - gah!) or write articles for magazines. To successfully generate a revenue stream from their writing and photography. From something they love doing.
So. I'm not going to weep in a corner wailing that someone has stolen* my book idea.
I'm upping my game.
Do you know how long I've wanted to get to this point in my writing career? To be writing a novel. To have a literary agent. (I still pinch myself about that a few years later). To have a blog where I can write about the things I love and have people other than my mum and mother-in-law read it.
Well, let me see. *counts on fingers*. I first started blogging in 2006. So that's ten years. TEN. And ok, yes, the blogging landscape was slightly different back then. And I have, in the meantime, written a proposal for a recipe book. And nearly finished my novel. And written for other websites. Oh, and had a second child. And moved to the countryside. And changed our lifestyle. And became a keeper of chickens.
But I never really went for it. Particularly with my blog. I wouldn't put myself out there. I wouldn't comment on other people's blogs or join in twitter chats and facebook groups, allowing that trail of breadcrumbs to lead back to my blog. But then I changed my blog name. And something changed in me.
I'm not beating myself up. Sometimes these things happen when you're ready. And I haven't been ready. Yes, there is a massive worry that I'll fall flat on my face with both my novel and this blog. But I also have a major fear of success. This fear allows me to procrastinate. It allows me to get bogged down with other projects (hello Annie Sloan furniture painting and chicken-keeping courses). And it makes me avoid sitting at my desk and avoiding that blank page.
After all, who would want to listen to my voice? Who else would be interested in the content I create? Who says I can write, anyway?
In the last few months I've read lots of blogs, seen lots of tweets and listened to podcasts. Many of which touch on the topic of The Fear and facing that fear. Inspiration is all around us.
Just yesterday I listened to author Miranda Dickinson's vlog where she says this year she wants to 'try stuff [with her writing]. Just have a go." And, as her music announced the end of the vlog I was already making notes for this blog post. I, too, want to try stuff. Why not? I've nothing to lose.
Yesterday, I also listened to a podcast by Jen Carrington. (Podcasts are great for when you're washing up.) I've just discovered Jen so have a lot of catching up to do. Again, she gave me food for thought. About not just being an echo of other people but being a voice.
Jen also said if she read a blog she wanted to see a picture of who was writing it. To get that connection. I've never put my picture on my blog. But, as soon as I heard that, I opened my laptop and immediately found a semi-decent photograph (I don't have many) that I could use. It is now on my About page. Now that is me being very brave.
Lizzy Kremer, a literary agent, also writes this week that Anything is Possible: Writing Without Fear.
Do you feel the fear when it comes to writing or in your creative career? Have you managed to push through? Any links you recommend? I'd love to hear.
*They haven't really stolen it. It just feels like it.