I’ve been feeling a little down lately, so I went to Dr. Google and typed in my symptoms. Crappy writing, unfinished editing, rewriting scenes 20,000,000 times, binge coffee drinking, making voodoo dolls of other writers that have completed their tasks (that can’t be just me), and not focusing on my WIPs. The diagnosis? I have a case of the Why Not Me’s.
How do you treat the Why Not Me’s you ask? You don’t. Unfortunately the lesson I learned is that everyone has their own path in the writing world. When writer A finishes editing manuscript A before writer B has finished writing manuscript B, which they both started at the same time, it doesn’t make writer A any better or writer B any worse. They’re just different.
I know… duh! Sometimes knowing this doesn’t make it any easier to stomach. We all have our talents. Writer A may be better at banging out a first draft, so all of his/her time is spent in editing. Writer B may be better at completing a practically perfect first draft, so editing is minimal. But if they compare themselves to each other, they are both envious. The whole grass is always greener ideology.
It’s human nature to covet, and that’s a difficult hard-wired trait to overcome. But you can move past it. Instead of focusing on the why not’s, focus on the I have’s. I have a great story (to me) I’m working on. Is it done like Peggy Sue’s? No, but it will be soon. I just need to focus on finishing it up, and I will have accomplished my goal.
Easy? No. Doable? Yes.
Stay focused on the positive, and you will be able to move past the Why Not Me’s. And if you can’t get over the Why Not Me’s, try having someone read what you have or starting a new project. Writers can get too bogged down in a story. Talking to someone about your story may help ideas flow. Or, a new story may open your mind to how to complete the other story. Don’t beat yourself up. If you keep moving forward, you will eventually accomplish what you set out to do.
What about you? How do you conquer the Why Not Me’s? I’d love to hear from you.
Happy writing ~ Jen
Interesting post. I think every once a while I suffer from “Why It’s not Me” too. But as you said yourself, it’s not something that can really be treated. Just like a cold – you just get it, you have it, you get better (hopefully).
And I think I do look at it like at cold: when it comes, it’s just there, but I just keep on going until it’s gone, maybe treating myself to something nice (nice hot tea works well for both 😉 ), instead of wasting my time thinking about it. I think it’s the best thing one can do: learn to simply ignore it instead of spending time and energy on the battle.
Great advice. Spending time and energy on the battle is definitely letting the feeling take root in your brain. Ignore it and move on, especially if you’ve been down that path before. Thanks for commenting!