Keep Your Eyes on Your Own Page

    The second I heard the phrase, it didn't jump out at me. Rather, it slipped into my subconscious; there, but not obvious. Slowly, ever so slowly, it made the journey into my thoughts.

    I wish I remember which writer said it.

    But I don't, so here is the phrase in all its glory: Keep your eyes on your own page.

    As artists, it's natural to compare. Usually we compare ourselves to others, and that's when we get sucked into the comparison trap. It's not pleasant. It's not fun. At all. I myself fall into it too many times to count on both fingers and toes. I tumble into it, slowly pick myself up, carry on, then trip and fall. Again. And again.



    Word warring for NaNo the other day, it nearly happened.

    I thought I had written a lot. On the Facebook chat I proudly typed out my wordcount at the end of a word warring session, complete with a smiley face. It was a huge amount of words for me in twenty minutes!

    Someone else tripled my wordcount.

    First, my eyes bulged. Then I may or may not have gasped a little bit.

    And then, I started falling.

    How come I can't write as fast as them? Am I horrible writer? I'm a horrible writer. I'll never be able to complete NaNo at this rate. I should just quit. I should--

   Keep your eyes on your own page.

   The phrase hit me out of nowhere. But I have never been more grateful for my subconscious which prodded it into my direction. The wisdom in the sentence is overflowing for anyone, but especially writers.

   There will always be someone in front of you, someone beside you, and someone behind you.

   In such a time as NaNo, or during any writing session, or a chat with writing friends, it can be easy to peek over at others' pages. It can be tempting to check where they're up to, what their wordcount is, how many people are liking their posts, and how many are commenting how amazing their story is.

   "I'm just checking," you say.

   No, you're not. You're looking for the person behind you. Most of the time, the writer whose page you're peering at, will be in front of you. So you start doubting. You fall into the comparison trap. You forget about your own page and wallow in self-pity and worries.

   Here are three truths I want you to remember:





    I could unpack each truth for years, but I'm going to leave them as they are. You know what they mean at their heart; you don't need me to explain their every nook and cranny. You know they're true.

   You just needed a little reminder.




Do you struggle to keep your eyes on your own page? Have you fallen into the comparison trap lately? Whether you are or aren't doing NaNo, how is your writing going?
Believe in yourself, and have a wonderful day! <3

Comments

  1. This is SO encouraging. While I can write fast I always feel that my ideas are not as original or well-developed as others' around me, so this post was very timely. Thank you, Melissa :)

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    1. I'm glad, thank you! :) Don't worry about those things---simply writing your story instantly makes it original and unique, because YOU wrote it. Thanks for commenting!

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  2. Thank you , thank you and thank you a million times. <3 You always hit the soft spot in the most gentle way...

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    1. You're so very welcome Anna. <3 Thanks for commenting!

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  3. This is my first year doing NaNo. I'm a slow writer by nature. Probably has to do with my panster ways. And the fact that I let myself get so easily distracted. Anyway I do a group chat on Twitter and a few of us ladies are doing NaNo. We post our counts throughout the day. I'm usually behind, but try not to get discouraged. I've written more in the last three days than I have in a long time so I count that as a win.

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    1. I'm mostly a pantser too, so I feel you! I just remind myself that every writer has different speeds, and NaNo is about sitting down and dedicating yourself to your writing. That is a win! Thanks for commenting Meka, and good luck with your writing!

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  4. Oh, no, the comparison trap!! I fall into it so easily. Thank you for this, Melissa. <3

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    1. Ugh me too. I wish it didn't exist. xD You're very welcome Lila! Thank you for commenting!

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  5. This is something I very much struggle with - comparing myself to other writers. Thank you for this reminder - I need it continually.

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    1. You're very welcome Kara---I hope the reminders helped you. <3 Thanks for commenting!

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  6. Ugh I think I'm that speedwriter. I'm so sorry for discouraging you. I promise I didn't mean to!

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    1. Don't worry love, it wasn't you! <3 Though you are a super speedy writer haha. xD

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  7. Definitely needed this reminder!

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  8. A friend and I were just talking about this very topic! I love your insight and that quote! Thank you for your reminder.

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    1. Thanks Sarah! <3 Good luck with your writing!

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  9. Absolutely beautiful, Melissa!!

    Catherine

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  10. Word wars are something I've been trying to get into, but I'm not a fast writer either. But it gets some words written, so I [try to] persevere. Lovely words of reminder; thank you, Melissa!

    (If I had to guess who said "keep your eyes on your own page"... I'd guess some sort of teacher/exam supervisor/my mum??) ;)
    - Jem Jones

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    1. Word wars are great, even if you're not a super fast writer! Absolutely, having some words written is better than none. xD You've very welcome Jem!

      (Bahahaha quite possibly. ;) )

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  11. Thanks for the encouragement! I was falling, but you picked me up!

    By the way, I tagged you. You definitely don't have to if you don't want to. :)
    http://moviesmeetmatch.blogspot.com/p/october-writing-challenge.html

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    1. *hugs* So happy I could help you. You're very welcome! <3

      Okay, thank you! I'll check it out. :)

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  12. Thankfully I haven't fallen into the comparison trap this NaNo, but I definitely haven't before. How fast one writes a novel definitely doesn't define how good of a writer you are!

    storitorigrace.blogspot.com

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    1. Very true! I'm glad you haven't fallen into the comparison trap this NaNo. <3 Thanks for commenting!

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