A friend asked me this morning how to write a book. He has some ideas and has been jotting them down and is now at the point where he’s thinking about creating. After a long phone conversation that left me excited for him, I started thinking about competition.
Writing seems to be one of the few jobs where competition exists in the higher echelons, in the marketing realms, in that thin ozone layer populated by big names and big dollars. Down here on the ground level, competition isn’t as apparent. I’m not saying it doesn’t exist, but rather that it’s not as common.
Almost every writer I come across is excited to help other writers. It’s like we get just as enthusiastic to support another as we get when we start one of our own stories. There’s something about seeing the magic we feel bloom in another.
It’s one of the reasons I love editing and talking writing, and sitting in on writer’s groups, and attending conventions and classes and…you get the idea. Just being around writers, no matter what level, is inspiring. Maybe that’s a type of competition because the inspiration makes me want to jump into my own writing. But if so it’s not a negative competition.
I like the idea of being immersed in something I love, in something that I see in others, and in something I can support another in. Not once have I paused and thought, ‘damn, that’s a better idea than mine’ or ‘crap, they’re a better writer’. Instead when I come across writing that shines, I’m inspired to write better, to learn, and to work. Confess; don’t you get a thrill when you realize the person you’re talking to writes?
Maybe I’m bordering on being naive here, but my friend’s excitement about beginning makes me only want to support him and see him soar.
How about you? Do you feel a sense of competition when it comes to being around other writers? Can you tell me what that competition feels like? Do you want to support beginning writers, or make sure they don’t pass you up? Does competition inspire you to work harder, or threaten you? Any other thoughts?