My son runs track, and one of the lessons his coach taught him has made a huge difference. Coach said, "Don't always race against the guy in the lane to your left or to your right. Race against yourself, and your own time. Aim to beat your own Personal Best."
My son isn't the fastest runner, not even close, but that doesn't get him down. He keeps track of his own time, and strives to beat that. Even at high school, where there's so many distractions--good and bad--my husband and I remind him to "run his own race." Academically, athletically, and socially.
As I've taken this glorious writing journey, I've raced, stumbled, fallen, ambled, jogged, and cleared hurdles. I've kept one eye on my own race, and the other eye on my fellow runners.
You see, our fellow writers are in the lanes beside us. Some of them will reach the finish line first. They'll be the rabbits we chase after--the writers who inspire us to do more and become better. Some writers will achieve come-from-behind wins. Others will run at a slower pace, and we'll cheer them on as they finish strong.
Runners feel their competition at their backs, or watch them in their peripheral vision. They see them in front, and nip at their heels. For writers, this can become a distraction, and when it does, it's helpful to remember my son's coach's advice.
Each time my son beats his own time, he's moving forward. Same with us. Each time we improve, we're moving forward. Each time we reach a milestone, we're moving forward. The other guy might be faster or slower, but as long as we're moving forward and beating our own time, we're achieving our own Personal Best.
In her post, Know Your Own Writing Journey & Go at Your Own Pace, Jody Hedlund wrote these wise words: "The pace isn't as important as much as the fact that we don't stop moving forward." I love that, don't you?
Have you ever heard this advice? Are you ever distracted by the achievements of other writers? How do you strive to achieve your own Personal Best?