The other day I was doing a regular review of my career path. (This is a good thing, if one wants one's career to go in the direction one wants it to.) I asked myself these questions:
Where am I?
Where do I want to go?
What do I need to get there?
What's stopping me?
This last question is rather important. It reflects upon those things that keep me from where I want to be. Without stoppage, any career would be stellar and magnificent.
Right now, mine's not.
It's a necessary question, but comes with pitfalls. One of those is comparisons.
Comparison can be a useful tool, but only if applied correctly. It is all too easy to fall into a false comparison trap. Fr'ex: one of your peers had three books released last year, one of them award-winning. It's too easy to look at that, look at the pathetic one book you just managed to eke out and wonder why your career's in the dumps.
Or maybe you did release three books, but none of them won awards, or sales weren't that great, or you have no idea when your next book will be written, nevermind come out. Or maybe you realised you needed a Pullman option for your ticket for the Query Train as you watch fellow travellers hopping off left-right-centre.
I gave in to a moment of self-pity. Why is my writing career not where I wanted it to be? We all have twenty-four hours in our days and I only spend eight of them sleeping. What have I been doing instead of turning out high-quality books at a phenomenal rate?
Then I look at the products of my Twenty-Year Plan. They have grown up to be strong, capable, respectful and respectable members of society. When I compare them to the products of others, the real truth comes out. All the energy I've been pouring into this project rather than into my books has paid off better than if I'd turned it the other way.
I have five more years left of the Twenty-Year Plan. Then, when that's done, I can turn myself fully to the Fifty-Year Plan.
But for now, I shall be mostly content with the process I've got now.
Her Grace is doing NaNoWriMo this year. She will have a publishable book at the end of it.