The Wednesday of Our Discontent — Don’t Let Comparisons to Others Torpedo Your Writing Life

Be careful not to define your success as a writer solely based on comparisons to others. Use others as positive examples but define your own writing path based on what is right for you.

Another Wednesday has come and gone and with it our curiosity and perhaps expectations for the past weeks earnings. This Wednesday was anticipated by many with even more hope than the previous three weeks as this Wednesday was the day our entire months earnings was finalized, reported and paid out Some of those in the Partner Program use the numbers they see each Wednesday to compare themselves to what is reported in various transparency efforts.

While some are happy, even ecstatic over their earnings for the week, there are others who are disappointed and upset. As happens every week, I have seen a number of comments in different groups about this topic, some of which question why one person’s earnings don’t come close to what others seem to be earning. These comments and queries are along the lines of:

“I don’t understand how some people are earning thousands each month when I’ve been writing on Medium longer and have written more articles.”

“How is it a few people are making so much and the rest of us are making pennies per article? Something is wrong with Medium.”

[Not actual quotes]

Whenever I read these types of questions, it makes me sad. This is because so many writers on Medium and other platforms seem to spend so much of their time focused on other people’s achievements, using them as a measurement of their own ability and promise. When they fall short, some grow resentful, others become angry, while still others lose hope and quite the platform and possibly writing all together.

We need to realign our focus, our goals, and the way we measure our own success as writers.

When our view of ourselves as writers is aligned with our own individual writing path we are able to remain balanced. As writers, we are always seeking new knowledge, seeking opportunities to grow, finding ways to achieve more, to write better, to do more with our writing. These things are all part of true path which we have defined for our own writing future.

But if our only focus is only on always getting more likes, claps or whatever the currency of the platform is, more views and more reads, better statistics using other writers achievements as our bar we will only see where we fall short. Comparing ourselves to others in order to establish our own worth as writers will never lead to contentment or satisfaction with our own accomplishments.

This is because whatever we think is good enough today won’t be tomorrow.

There will always be writers who are more in some way than we are. Unhappiness is focusing on what we don’t have but others do. Happiness is the art of taking pleasure in what we have and setting realistic goals based on our own values and definition of success.

Learning to be happy with our growth as we make progress toward our own goals so that we reach and surpass them, going on to work towards greater ones, is what will bring contentment in our writing life. There is nothing wrong with always striving for more, as long as what we are striving for is not determined solely by our comparisons to other writers.

There is no one writer’s path. For each of us it is different. I think that the idea of writer’s being happy with our lot has a lot to do with finding our own writing path and finding a way to move along it. It’s not about the speed of our progress or where we are compared to others.

When we set our standards based on constant comparisons with others we will be like the person who is always striving for more wealth, more accolades, more attention only to say he has more. In the end, it is not about who has more, has published more, has earned more. It’s about being true to ourselves and our goals. By doing this we will be able to live our best writing life, a writing life that is satisfying to us and which brings us contentment and happiness.

Thanks to Edith Tollschein for inspiring this post with her article, “The Power of Discontent”.

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You can find links to my other work on Medium and follow me here. Thanks for reading!

Natalie Frank, Ph.D. (Clinical Psychology)

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I write about behavioral health & other topics. I’m Managing Editor (Serials, Novellas) for LVP Press. See my other articles:

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