~ Day 26 ~ COMPARING YOURSELF ~ Chapter 24 ~
I think it's safe to say that comparing ourselves to others is something all of us can relate to at some time in our lives, whether you're an aspiring writer, singer, musician or simply new at your job. Comparing oneself is bound to happen sooner or later. It's what we do with it when it happens that ultimately can have a positive or negative effect.
Cecil gives us an illustration with his two daughters, Wanda and Cecile. He writes, "Wanda was a top student with excellent grades. I never worried about her. Cecile, however, was the artistic type, and she stayed in the average category in the subjects where her older sister excelled. One time, Cecile had a low report grade in social studies. I asked one question: "Did you do you best?" With tears in her eyes, she nodded. "That's all I ask." And I meant that. When it came to music and art, she was outstanding, so she had her areas of strength. She would never pull down the grades that put her sister on the honor roll."
Wow, I admire the environment that Cecile provides for his daughters. To me I see a safe place where they can grow and learn from their mistakes without feeling they are being compared to or competing with one another. That's healthy. That's love!
Cecil continues to say, "It works the same way with writing. You can't be perfect; you won't be outstanding in every phase of the craft. Here's you primary question: Am I doing my best? If you can answer yes, you're further along than the average writer."
Cecil gives us a small list of what he calls self-scrutiny questions that he feels may aid our progress.
* What are my strengths?
* How can I make them ever stronger?
* What kind of things do I write well?
* Where am I weak?
*In what areas do I need improvement?
Although they are simple questions, Cecil used them to push himself to look inward as honestly as he could and although they were difficult for him, he was able to see and acknowledge his strengths.
As I read through the list of questions, it doesn't take long for me to see areas in my own writing and attitude in general that can always use tweaking. I believe wholeheartedly that it is so important to provide a loving atmoshpere which allows freedom to grow.
Cecil goes on to share two of his strengths. He says, "I write with heart. Readers tell me they can feel what I write. That's probably my greatest strength. I write with clarity. That is, I seem to be able to take complicated issues or thoughts and make them simple."
I have to admit, I've had moments during this 30 day writing challenge where I've had those negative thoughts of comparing myself come creeping in. Thoughts like, what was I thinking taking on something as challenging as this? What will other writers think of my writing? Will I offend the reading audience with some of my comments even though that would never be my intention? Most importantly, will I bring honor to Cecil's name and his book?
Cecil says, "The only healthy way to compare your writing is to look at your earlier work and contrast it with your current products." Cecil goes on to say, "By comparing myself with myself, I saw that I had grown."
I'm reminded once again not to look around, but to look within, and to look up to Him...the Author, and Finisher of my faith!
The Aphorism for this chapter is: "If I evaluate my writing, I compare my older work with my newer so I can see my growth."
Aphorism #24: "If I evaluate my writing,
I compare my older work with my newer
so I can see my growth."