Welcome to the official blog of Maumee Valley Romance Writers of America! We're a local writers' group in the Toledo, Ohio area. Most of us write romance, but we also have members who write other genres too. New members are always welcome to visit or join the group. See the meetings page for details. We post every Monday and Friday about all things book-related. Whether you're a writer, reader, or both, we hope you'll stop by often and get to know our dozen contributors.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Running With Blinders On, Focusing on our Own Race.

I'm sure most of you have heard that reason behind why racing horses wear blinders. It's often used by motivational speakers. For those of you who haven't, essentially blinders are used so that the horse can't see the others around them. So they run their own race and don't focus on their competition.

I often use this analogy when others ask me for advice on writing and the publishing business. Though, I find it's the hardest advice for me to take.

I think it's human nature for us to want to compare ourselves to what others are doing, especially those who are in a similar business -- or have written and published a similar book.

Even though I know it's advisable to keep those blinders on, I can't help but do some comparisons every know and again.

But what I've found is that even though comparisons can give you a good idea about what other authors or do, or what topics and genres are trending at the moment, comparing myself to others usually makes me feel defeated.

I find myself asking why someone is selling better or why they have more visibility. I try to figure out what I'm doing wrong instead of focusing on what I'm doing right. I'm like that horse that doesn't have the blinders on. I'm worrying about someone else's race and not my own.

The more I focus on others, the further I fall behind.

So today, I'm giving out this advice again, mostly for my own ears to hear.

Whether we're talking about publishing or any personal goal you may have, put on the blinders. Don't focus on what others are doing. Focus on being the best you can be.

Run your own race.

Constance Phillips lives in Ohio with her husband, daughter, and four canine kids. Her son, now on his own, is planning a wedding, reconfirming that romance still lives and breathes. When not writing stories of finding and rediscovering love, Constance and her husband spend the hours planning a cross-country motorcycle trip for the not-so-distant future…if they can find a sidecar big enough for the pups.

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Susana Ellis said...

Good point, Connie! I needed to hear this today!

Kristina Knight said...

I think this is something I'll always struggle with ... and, although I do think a healthy amount of jealousy *can* work to keep us motivated and pushing forward, I'm working toward the no comparison thing.

Thanks for the reminder, Constance!

Constance Phillips said...

Thanks, Susana! Glad it helped.

Constance Phillips said...

Thanks, Kristina. It's something I struggle with too.

Shay Lacy said...

I need this advice daily. Comparing myself to others makes me feel bad. I'll try to put on blinders. Thanks, Connie.