Let the Competition Begin!

“Fame is a vapor, popularity an accident, and riches take wings. Only one thing endures and that is character.”
~~Horace Greeley

These days it’s almost impossible not to compete on some level. Whether or not we consider ourselves competitive or not, the world seems bound and determined to rate us in one way or another. It’s like that in many areas in life and it certainly exists for the writers out there. Maybe we set ourselves up for this the moment we set foot into social media arena and yet……

While we might not openly admit to this competitiveness, I’m here to say it exists as sure as I’m sitting here writing this post. Granted, we might not necessarily compete against anyone in particular, sometimes the competition is self-induced, a means of striving for more and more. More what you might ask? More blog followers, more comments in our comment section, more likes on Facebook, more followers on Twitter…And the more, more, more continues until we start to lose the enjoyment these very same social media sites once provided us with.

I recently noticed a new option on my Facebook author page. This is kind of what prompted this post in the first place. Here’s what it says on my administration page:

“New! Pages to watch. Track the progress on any Pages you want to watch. You’ll see how many likes they get so you can keep up.”

This darn near knocked my socks off when I saw it. Really? Now they want us to try and “keep up” with the popularity of other pages? Kind of feels like we’re back in elementary school here. Now, I really shouldn’t knock Facebook. I do like it. It’s fun and allows me to keep up with what my friends and family are doing. There are plenty of benefits to it but, as with anything out there, it comes with a certain amount of criticism. And we do love to criticize in one way or another. I’m sure many of us could list our complaints if we wanted to be picky.

I’ll admit, it feels good to have that validation whenever we update a status or publish a blog post, but we also run the risk of becoming too involved, too needy, too wanting of other people’s opinions and comments, instead of allowing things to unfold naturally. What will be will be. There’s no fancy way of putting it so far as I’m concerned. I’m not ready to jump through hoops in order to gain popularity. Speaking of popularity, I just received a notification the other day stating that my Klout score just went up. Do I care? No. Should I? Maybe. Maybe not.

Seriously, I like my author page, but as for tracking the progress of other pages I’m just not interested in turning it into a competition. I feel as though I spend as much time on social media as I dare, maybe more than I should at times. If I don’t actually write then the author page seems a bit pointless. Not to mention I have people already asking when the next book is coming.

What are your thoughts on social media? Do you feel the competition in the air whenever you venture out there? Do you have a Facebook page or do you think they’re pointless?

Holy Arch Nemesis, Batman!

Don’t have an arch nemesis? That’s what I thought until the year my book came out.

 

Someone recently made the comment that we all have an arch nemesis in some area of our lives. She mentioned having a twitter nemesis, (someone on twitter who was going through a similar life experience, but who always seemed to be doing it just a little bit better.) Okay, so we shared a giggle about it, but in the end, this person got under her skin so she unfollowed for her own peace of mind. Sometimes you’ve just got to do the thing that will bring you peace, right?

 

Shortly after my book came out, my kids started teasing me about having an arch nemeses. The person in question happened to have been an author whose book came out the same time as mine therefore you’d often see our books reviewed at the same time, advertised at the same time and generally in each others’ space. But that’s the way it is in this business. Nothing personal, nothing nasty, it’s all business. Many books are published in a year. My kids, being the kids they are, enjoyed calling this author my arch nemesis even though I would assure them that she was probably a very lovely person should we ever have the good fortune to meet. Of course they weren’t buying it. But that’s my kids!

 

So whether I liked it or not, it seemed, our books were in competition. How the heck did that happen, I wondered?  And was it real or simply imagined, something that came into being from a joke my kids started? I suspect the latter although, I then started to become quite conscious of this particular book after that. It was only natural. Remember how many red cars you saw after you bought yours? And when you were expecting your first grandchild, pregnant woman came at you from everywhere. We notice what we put our attention on.

 

Since my first book came out I’ve met so many of my fellow authors, and it’s been great making friends. I can’t say enough about how connecting with this wonderful community of writers has meant to me, but I’m not sure that being a part of a community will completely take away our need for “friendly” competition. I’ve heard authors who have felt a bit envious of another author’s book. I say envious, but I mean envious is a friendly way, if you know what I mean. Perhaps a particular book beat theirs out for an award or got more reviews—that sort of thing.

 

These things are nothing new. It started for some of us on the playground, some kid who was always a wee bit better at everything than we were, and we found ourselves in competition with them again and again. I believe we do sometimes find ourselves in competition with others, whether consciously or unconsciously. It can happen at work or even on a volunteer level. Parents of young children often compare their children’s development, and we’ve all met people I’ll call “one uppers.” No matter what story you have to tell, they have one a bit more spectacular on that exact subject. These competitions are just about everywhere, and I’m not so sure it’s a bad thing so long as it stays on a good-natured level. Can it be avoided? Perhaps if we go through life with blinders on, and keep our minds on doing the best we can in a particular area without worrying about someone else.

 

Do you agree that we find ourselves in competition with others? Do you have an arch nemesis—real or imagined—in some area of your life? Do you think it’s a bad thing, or do you feel there is nothing wrong with a little “friendly” competition?

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