While this post wanders hither and yon, on the subject of my apparently dwindling competitive spirit, I’ll populate it with pictures from the garden today. There is a link – sort of – at the end…
I’m a bundle of contradictions, sometimes. One of the joys of blogging, and writing is, for me, it is the antithesis of a competitive pursuit.
I have found help from all quarters and little sign of any one unwilling to share their time and ideas. Generosity seems to be the default setting and it is contagious.
Yet, for as long as I can remember I have competed at most things and, indeed, I’m sure I put down most of my successes – to the extent I’ve had any – to an instinctive need to compete.
Going right back, the Archaeologist, being the older sibling by some 16 months, was my target even thought he barely bothered to join in – mostly because from an equally early age he had a deep and ingrained certainty in his innate superiority so competing was futile; he would always be better even if, on specific occasions he appeared to come out second best.
I’m sure this inclination, be it genetic or inculcated later, comes from my dad who liked a good battle, especially of the political argument sort.
And in truth wanting to be better than (read: beat) others stood me in good stead at school and uni and in my career in the law.
It wasn’t that I wanted them to fail but for me to succeed; at least that’s how I’d try and see it but the net result was the same.
So now that I’m exposing myself (hmm, there’s a better way of saying that) to the publishing industry and the competition out there, why is it that it doesn’t, to me at least feel like a competition?
I suppose it’s that I’m not pitching myself at the pinnacle, the tiny few who are on a best seller list, who see themselves in relation to others in terms of sales and ratings etc.
I’m like one of the hundreds winning ten quid on the lottery; I don’t begrudge the other ten quid winners or feel especially like I’ve done better than the even greater millions who win nothing; there’s plenty enough of the ten quid pie to go round.
I heard the other day of a friend with whom I shared my creative writing course; she’s found a publisher and I am delighted for her without condition. She writes in a different genre for a start and wants a publishing deal whereas I am happy to self publish so it is apples and pears.
So when someone asked me, in reference my up coming book release, where I hoped to come in the Amazon best seller list I was rather stumped. I haven’t thought about it; selling a few copies, or giving them away, at least so a few people will read it and maybe like it and come back for more, that’s good enough and leaves room for everyone else. Even if I made a lot more effort marketing my book, this won’t change, despite the fact that I am in effect trying to win over readers to my book at the possible detriment of other authors.
Perhaps it’s not the writing so much as me; maybe I don’t compete like I used to. Really? Nah, that doesn’t wash. Let’s face it, today I was competing with my mother and she’s been dead over seven years. That takes some doing.
Her sunflowers, circa 1985
And mine today.
She may have been 5 foot 2 and shrinking and me 5 foot 10 and holding steady but I’m a way off aren’t I?
Still, there’s plenty of summer left. Huh, mum? You wait and see….