Confessions of a Competitive Gal

Theodore Roosevelt was a smart guy. How do I know this? Because he’s the one who said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

Image courtesy of flickr

Yup. And I should know. I may not appear like someone who keeps score (or maybe I do, haha), but I’m about as competitive as a quiet, non-threatening Asian girl can be. 😉

As you can imagine, this trait does not bode well for someone who works in sales. Yes, I spend a lot of time writing books, but the other part of my job is selling them. And boy, is that part hard.

Ever since hubby and I published the book we wrote together, he’s been asking me every day how many copies we’ve sold. When I showed him the latest results, all he could say was, “Wow, it’s not easy to sell books.” Haha. Amen to that!

There are so many methods that authors use to sell their books. Some spend hundreds of dollars on ads every month. Others release a new book every 4-6 weeks!  You can imagine how competitive this industry is.

For many authors, we write because we dislike numbers, but selling books is all about the numbers. The number of words you can crank out in a day, how many sales you make during any given week, your author ranking in your particular genre. It’s so, so easy to get caught up in the numbers.

I found myself getting caught up in this trap recently. I heard of some bestselling authors writing one to two thousand words a day, and wondered why I couldn’t do the same? Assuming I could keep it up, I’d be able to crank out a book every other month—at a minimum. Sure, it would mean some late nights, but I’m a night owl already, so why not?

Well, after attempting this kind of lifestyle for a few weeks, I realized why not. 😛 I realized the very reason that I had started writing—for the pure joy of it!—had all but disappeared from my heart. I had become a writing machine—cold and robotic. I no longer looked forward to creating characters and storylines. I had lost my passion for words. And it was sad!

After reevaluating my priorities, I took a step back—way back!—and decided to stop. To stop writing for the sake of selling. To stop staying up so late. To stop comparing myself to other authors who are able to write more and sell more than me.

And do you know what happened? I found joy in writing again. 🙂

The thing is, we are all on our own journey in life. No two people are the same. That’s the beauty and wonder of God’s handiwork, that we are unique beings created with our own set of abilities and passions and strengths. There’s no need to compare ourselves to another because how can you compare two completely different things? We are each meant to do what we’re good at and what we are able to handle. It’s as simple as that. (Kind of.) 😉

So, here’s to doing your own thing, wherever your passions lie, and to doing them for the pure joy of it.

What do you do for the pure joy of it?

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