Insecure Writers: Falling into the Evil Sink-Hole of Compare

iwsgJumping back onto the Insecure Writers Support Group blogfest, which runs on the first Wednesday of the month. Visit for more info and to join: http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/p/the-insecure-writers-support-group.html.

I have been fighting the devil of comparison lately. Many writers, when it comes down to it, don’t have a whole heap of confidence about their career / dream choice or abilities to write, especially when starting off. That’s what Alex Cavanaugh’s IWSG acknowledges and helps us understand – that insecurities are something natural to most writers, it’s in our genes, and that each of us can share ways to conquer them.

That’s about insecurities and writing – and when I think writing, I naturally think fiction-writing because that’s what I basically want to do. But nowadays most of us, with any intention in keeping abreast of the writing world, know that a lot of it may not be about actual writing: it’s about all kinds of things like building an author platform, blogging, promotion, community…

Which is where it’s easy to fall into an evil sink-hole of …

Dum dum dummmmm….

…compare.

My participation in several blogfests recently has introduced me to many new bloggers, but also the ability to compare my amount of blog comments and follows with a new rash of bloggers. And often, this blog (and me) may be found wanting in such comparisons.

You know those blogs yourself – many of my writer web-friends have them – they put up a post, and within a day, they have 50 comments on there from blog or writer friends.

DL Hammond had a wonderful blogfest going last Sunday: the WIPit Good Blogfest. I entered knowing I had to face some fears about sharing my work in public, or at least my pitch and synopsis for a work in progress. There’s sixty plus people on the WIPit Good Blogfest, and I am still getting around them, to read and place my own comments.

My record of comments on this blog previously for “popular” posts only went to about 15 (including my own response comments). Until the WIPit Good Blogfest – which has my new record of 18 comments (and some likes) so far. Some of those comments really made my day, even if it was to only tell me they liked my character’s name. Those kind of comments were worth their double-weight in gold for my confidence level, because they came from specific fellow writers. They were also helpful in giving me a degree of confidence in my pitches – which I’ve always struggled with – because I was able to read some much less defined ones, some very professional ones with lots of gimmick words, and see the struggles other writers have with these.

And I’m trying to reciprocate and give back comments to all the other writers on that list, so that they get that same good feeling. But many of them already have thirty comments on their entries. So, I start…thinking…sigh.

And of course, those bloggers I do sit looking at, with seven-sins envy-eyes, get more comments (mostly) because they’ve built community, people who support them, and jump in to comment and chat.

I don’t do great chat. I’ve never managed it in real life – I’m the one in the corner – and it seems I’m not fantastic at it virtually either. If it’s possible to have a virtual corner, I may just be the person who could find it.

I know a lot of my comparison problems are of my own making. I battle a personality that would rather be writing (even blog posts) than reading and commenting on other people’s posts. I do read a lot of posts – over 300 a day sit in my blog readers, and I read them – but I prefer to send them out as tweets or ‘like’ them, rather than comment. And where 50 other comments already sit, I sometimes question the point of adding a comment that has no value because it’s already been said.

Part, also, is technical – it’s far easier to tweet, share and like than open up a comment field, write it out, then try to find an acceptable web profile that the blog engines allow for, enter email addresses, websites and names. And then there’s captcha. Yep. Far far easier.

Or am I just too lazy?

Yep. Lazy. Because people don’t notice likes, and tweets – they appear as numbers. People don’t know your name unless you comment.

This is not meant to be a grumpy whiny post at all. I’m talking about things I can do to open myself to more community. And one of these was done earlier today – I opened the blog up to guest posts. There are a lot of excellent bloggers and writers out there who do read me, and whom I read, because I trust what they are saying, and they have something to show or teach me. I hope that a few will take me up on the guest posting, and fill my blog with different thoughts and writing than mine.

And the other solution is to look away, and try not to compare myself so much with other bloggers. And to go easy on myself.

All easier said than done.

What about you? Do you fall into the evil sink-hole of compare from time to time? What do you do to boost yourself and get on with it? What’s your favourite way to find your own community?

4 thoughts on “Insecure Writers: Falling into the Evil Sink-Hole of Compare

  1. I think I used to compare. I just stopped. I read enough blogs to realise it wouldn’t do any good and I just had to keep on blogging to gain any kind of blog readership. I no longer count the amount of comments, and I’m not sure many bloggers do, it’s about the hits/visits. The people who come and read, who want to hear what you have to say. Keep your blogging consistent and they should keep coming back. I personally love having a blog post shared, be that by twitter or Facebook or some other social place now. Because its shared. More people see it. A comment is just one comment. But yes, you do need to leave some comments because bloggers comment back. Keep on blogging and doing what you’re doing and over time you’ll notice things start to grow. Blogging is so much slower than any of the other social platforms but its a lot more sturdier.

    1. I agree Rebecca, re blogging being sturdier. There’s always rumours that “blogging is dead” – I remember similar warnings from a decade ago. But blogs are for life, and posts don’t pass by as quickly as something in a Twitter stream. Thanks for taking the time to comment and boost me up.

  2. I try really hard not to compare but I do try very hard to build my brand and build my comments. That’s one of the reasons I decided to do #blog2013. I just believe if I keep at it, day after day, one connection at a time, one of these days it’s bound to multiply. So I refuse to quit.

  3. I know EXACTLY how you feel honey 🙂

    I try to look at it like this….I’d rather have some faithful regular commenters who I feel like I know than loads of people visiting one or two times only…does that make sense? 😉

    Xx

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