Sunday, January 23, 2011

Apples and oranges

Do you ever compare your writing to someone else’s? I do. Sometimes I come out on top, and sometimes I don’t.

Logically, I know that jealousy is a wasted emotion. I need to take the advice that I give my speech students when I tell them not to compare their speeches with others in the class. They are all different. Yes, some are more organized, and some have cooler visuals, and some are presented more effectively. But they all have something positive to offer. Focus on the ones you like, and learn from them.

Overall, a speech about suicide isn’t going to be as fun as one about a crazy pet Chihuahua that thinks it’s a cat. That’s OK. Having fun while enjoying a pet is just as important as learning how to lose someone you love. One is a heck of a lot more pleasurable than the other, but both are a part of life.

The value of our work doesn’t come from impressing others. Value and meaning are present when writers or speakers connect with their audiences and share the feelings that come from these experiences. When we can provide insight or empathy into a situation, especially those that seem ordinary, then we’ve done our job correctly.

We shouldn’t compare our writing to someone else’s, just as we shouldn’t compare speeches, or friends, or houses, etc. It’s a lose-lose situation. So if you don’t like what you're writing, then read the authors whose work you admire. And learn from them.

Talk to you soon,



  1. Hi Mary. I really like this post. You are so right about everything. Sometimes when I read others' writing, I think to myself "Why the heck bother? I write like *#%$@ compared to so-and-so!" But, then I remember that we're all unique,etc. and I keep on keepin' on! Also, I like your new profile photo!

  2. Thanks, Becky! It's amazing the way we perceive our own writing when compared to others!

    My friend Yvonne Koch from SCC and STLCC-Wildwood took the photo.