Early in my online writing career, back when people would regularly comment on one another’s writing, I’d often get feedback about my writing style. Before I even knew who they were, people would tell me that I wrote like Seth Godin and Leo Babauta.
Sometimes we compare ourselves to others. I’ve fallen victim to that trap. Other times, the feedback we receive makes those comparisons for us, and that’s dangerous.
After I received a few comparisons to Godin and Babauta, I looked them up. Wow! They were both well-known and respected writers and bloggers. They both made their living from writing. And I was that good? The feedback fed my ego.
I used that feedback to develop a style of writing that I’ve since given up, that of the guru/advisor. I spent eight years playing that role hoping to make a living doing this. It took me as long to realize that I have little interest in being Godin or Babauta. No offense. They are both great at what they do.
In hindsight, the feedback people gave me was real. I do have similarities to both writers mentioned. My style is consistent and concise. Points are made quickly, and I think my writing is very readable and easy to understand.
Yet, I discovered that we also have a major difference. Their goal is to market. My goal is to create. They teach in order to gain more followers. I write in order to gain more insight into my own creative process. It took me years to figure this out. So what’s my point?
Be careful with the feedback you receive from others, especially when they compare you to those who seem to be more successful. Sure, Godin and Babauta are both making more money from their writing than me, but I have the time and energy to do what I love. Write. Compose. Create. – dse
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