Don’t Compare Your Productive Season to Someone Else’s

Cynthia Herron Writing 6 Comments

Image Credit: Sea Turtle/Photopin CC

Image Credit: Sea Turtle/Photopin CC


After another round of snow and sleet last weekend, I’m just itching for warmer weather, sunshine, and…spring!

It’s coming, folks. I can feel it!

It’s been an odd winter and I’m excited about the approaching season. Record-breaking cold and sun-starved days do little to inspire me. Sometimes, it’s a challenge to push through and accomplish simple writing goals. And yet… I’ve persevered. I hope you have, too! (Check out Monday’s post if you need a pep talk.)

Although they’re busier, summer months are typically the most productive for me. I try to not gauge my success by someone else’s productivity scale because what works for some may not work for others. Creatives are diverse and ever-changing.

If you are active on the social media circuit at all (and if you write, you should be somewhat), chances are you’ve seen the trends. They come and go like the tide.

Dazzling Debbie will tell you to do one thing while Dynamic Dan recommends another. For newer writers, all the well-meaning, expert-sounding advice can be crippling. That’s why I think it’s important to hang out on social media sites in limited doses. And when you do– filter, filter, filter!

I’ve learned over the years to choose which “experts” I listen to. And even then, their better-than-sliced-bread methods may not be my type of toast.

I factor in many things and weigh them based on my needs, goals, and overall vision. It’s tough paddling upstream when others seem to be sailing into the picture-perfect sunset. They’ve finished this project and that project and started one hundred and one others. Surely, it’s going to be their brightest season yet! And meanwhile– the urge to self-compare rages.

I wrote a blog post last fall about seasons and productivity. You can read the entire post here, but this is part of what I said:

I think the key to realizing our writing goals, or any goal for that matter, is consistency and perseverance.

I believe the two are dependent upon each other. God’s desire for all of us is to realize our full potential, but we can’t just sit on the sidelines. We must be willing participants.

Some seasons are more productive than others.

It’s frustrating but if we wait for ideal circumstances, those prequel moments to possible greatness are forever lost. God meets us right where we are–during the good, the bad, and the in between seasons. One small thing we accomplish today may make a huge difference in a divine appointment down the road.

To shrug off our cloaks of complacency isn’t the easy thing. It’s the brave thing.

It’s the thing that will nudge us to aim higher, dream bigger, and rise beyond the bar. When doubts, self-comparison, and occasional missteps come calling, it’s an intense time of testing, but also a wondrous season of self-discovery and internal growth. We can’t measure our productivity by others’ success. That’s a distraction. A time stealer.

Writing is lonely sometimes.

It’s easy to get stuck in the muck and mire of perceived abandonment, comparisons, and self-doubt. But can I tell you something? Every writer has felt this way at one time or another. Share your feelings with those who can empathize. Go to your safe places– your fellow writers, your prayer warriors, and those who care about you. Wallow in it for a while if you must, but remember, those are stumbling blocks created by one who doesn’t have your best interest at heart.

Your productive season may not mean writing a book. But it may mean learning your craft, writing three chapters, and moving forward as the big picture unfolds.


Not someone else’s.


What does your productive season look like?

What advice would you give beginning writers concerning productivity?



Why writers shouldn’t measure their productivity according to others’ yardsticks:

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Feeling overwhelmed by the winter doldrums? Relax! This may help:

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For my fellow romance writers, don’t miss Part 2 of Jamie Chavez’s Happily Ever After post. She breaks down the necessary elements if you’re writing romantic fiction.

And if you’re considering a website overhaul or wondering what things to consider as you launch one, check out this post over at Books and Such.

Blessings Always,

Comments 6

  1. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Winter’s fairly productive for me, partially because I have to be outside. The dogs make sure of that.

    Illness is what has made me feel like I’m lagging, but I’m coming to realize that I have a history that does not tend to include laziness or sloth…and that what I am doing is what I CAN do.

    Sometimes sitting up takes effort, and can be an achievement…a greater one than writing 5000 words in an afternoon.

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  3. Melissa Tagg

    I have not been in a productive season lately, which is bad because I NEED to be. I’ve been unfocused and undisciplined and I’m really good about guilt-tripping myself in those times. But sometimes…it’s just harder than others. And I want to get better at saying, “You know what, yesterday is over. Today is today. So just do better today.” 🙂

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    Cynthia Herron

    Melissa, I think we’ve all done the guilt-tripping thing. The enemy is great about needling us when we’re already vulnerable, too. So yes– it’s good to say, what’s done is done. Move forward and don’t look back. Celebrate each milestone, each accomplishment, with some small kudo. You’re awesome– now, own it! =)

  5. Savanna Kaiser

    Thank you so much for this, Cindy. The first time I visit your blog and this was the first post I see. 🙂 One that certainly hit home. It’s so easy for me to lose sight of my own journey at times and feel like I’m the only one still stuck back at the starting line. I still have so much to learn. But this is where God has me and I need to stop worrying about the finish line and keep my eyes on the road. 😉 Thanks for your encouragement!

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    Cynthia Herron

    Savanna, wonderful to have you visit! Yes, absolutely keep your eyes on the prize. No one learns everything overnight. Many blessings in your writing journey!

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