After reading Dean Wesley Smith’s: Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing, I decided to post my own thoughts on competition.
Competition can be a very good thing. It can bring out a lot of good qualities in a person. It can lead to productivity and growth. Taken to an extreme, competition can lead to a lot of bad things.
When it comes to writing, I don’t understand where people get the idea that writers are in a competition against one another. It seemed wrong to me and was at odds with how I was introduced into writing.
The same writers who think they are in a competition with every other writer out there sometimes go to extremes to make sales. A lot of times this backfires. When I first started writing, I saw a lot of this. Some would stoop to doing something unethical or just plain stupid in the hopes of selling one more book. On one of the forums I frequented, the writers spent more time tearing into each other than working on their own writing and helping each other out. This attitude is wrong. It not only hurts you as an individual but writers as a whole.
I have a “one for all, all for one” mentality when it comes to my fellow writers. We’re all on the same team. I think of my fellow writers as friends, comrades and respected colleagues (unless you give me some reason not to think of you as such). I’ve gotten a lot of help from them and tried to return the favor when I could.
If you’re one of those people who believes you’re in a competition against your fellow writers, take a look at some of the more successful writers out there. You’ll find a lot of writers who share their knowledge and experience. They don’t ask anything in return. They do it to help their fellow writers. Obviously, they don’t see it as a competition.
If you must compete against someone, compete against yourself. Strive to make your next story better than the last one. You’ll do more for yourself than you would agonizing over sales.