Plan Your Progress: The Art of Comparison

February 22, 2016 Strategy

We all have different timelines, different development periods – we move at different paces and write different stories. At some point it’s crucial to ask yourself the hard questions. Are you in a better position now than you were a year ago? Are you closer to where you want to be as a writer? Is your life moving forward? No, no, come back. It’s not as scary as all that. To plan your progress, it’s like the saying goes, 'Compare yourself only to who you were yesterday.' Click To Tweet

BUILDING FORWARD MOMENTUM

There is no right or wrong, only the articulation of your growth in terms of self-betterment. Self. Not how you are doing in comparison to the others, but how you are doing in comparison to who you were yesterday.

You’re a writer. By nature, that’s an ambitious thing. You evoke thoughts and feelings out of your audience through a story. No one story is exactly the same.

In fact, your life story is going to be different than Quentin Tarantino, Diablo Cody, or Shonda Rhimes. Your career is going to take off a different point, you’re going to have different writing methods, your life experiences will be different.

Constant comparison isn’t going to help you; it’s just going to provide pressure that doesn’t serve any purpose. Learning from the experience of others can help inform your journey, but ultimately there is no “how to” guide for being a writer.

PERSONAL DOUBT

That’s why it’s important to look at your writing growth in relation to your own hard work. It gives you a tangible point of entry into the daunting task of self-improvement.

We seek to become the best writer we can be. You’re probably not going to start off at the level of genius you aspire to be. In a world of ego, there’s a world of limited self-growth.

Introspection is not all butterflies and roses. There are common threads I see within my own writing and amongst friends who are writers – the feeling of stagnation, confusion, maybe uncertainty – like you’re treading backwards efficiently, like you’re effing the eff up (in a slightly less censored way). I see these in established writers and newbies alike. Nothing takes the fear out of writing, but you can’t let your fear overtake the act itself. Click To Tweet

HOW DO YOU EVALUATE YOUR PROGRESS?

Go back and read what you were writing one or two years ago.

Does it sound different than your writing now? Do you have a new grasp on it? Can you look at an old script and see things you didn’t see before? Without judging yourself, can you find some objectivity to see if you are making progress as a writer? What have you learned?

Have you been making new connections?

Do you actively expand your network? Are you making new peers, talking with other writers, meeting people who do what you do or do what you want to be doing? Is your writing helping you engage and take meetings with new people? What do you do to get yourself and your work out there?

Value what you have accomplished.

Take an honest look at your accomplishments – big and small – and recognize them. Setbacks are human experience and also help us grow. If you’ve learned something, you’ve gained something.

Determine how much time you spend procrastinating versus working hard/efficiently.

If you’re not writing, that’s a big problem. At the end of the day, the more you write the better you get. Work hard, yes, but work smart. Use your time efficiently, especially if you don’t have a ton of time.

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