Why comparisons lead to madness
Here is a mindset I went through today.
- The Sandman is celebrating 25 years this January.
- Neil Gaiman will be 53 in January.
- This means he wrote The Sandman when he was 28.*
- Gaiman didn’t start slow, he started with one of the most critically acclaimed comics in history. At 28.
- I am 40.
*Actually he probably wrote it when he was 27 or 26, considering it was published January 1989.
Then I decided that if I really, really believed in this comparison, I should do it with everyone. List every author who has achieved something younger than I did. List every author who has won awards before 40. Then let’s look at income! Who earns more than me? Who got more for their first book? Whose books have sold more?
I might as well quit.
It doesn’t matter that I have a book that’s gotten several excellent reviews. Or that I won the John W. Campbell award. Events in my life don’t matter at all, except in how they compare to others’.
Seriously? Is this what I’ve sunk to?
This mindset is what got me to quit writing when I was 21. I decided there was someone better than me and I could never be better than him. So why continue to try?
I have stories to tell. They’re mine. Comparing myself to others is simply a pointless effort in