ACW

ACW

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Don't compare by Claire Musters


I have to be honest and say that comparing myself to others is something that I've done throughout my life. I find it hard to accept the gifts that God has placed within me without looking at others enviously.

As a writer, editor and musician the artistic temperament is definitely alive and well within me! I am grateful for how God has used me in the area of worship, but I am also very aware of my limitations – as well as those who are more talented. I have had to work hard to step out.

The same is true for my writing. I never set out to be a writer. I wanted to be a composer and, once I started my degree, that evolved into becoming an editor.

During my journey as an editor opportunities arose for writing and my first book came about when the publisher decided the manuscript they had been sent (which I was due to edit) was not what they had hoped for. I now regularly write magazine and online articles, Bible study notes and have four books under my writerly belt. 

But those ugly sisters envy and comparison still come and do battle in my soul regularly. I envy others in the same writing field as me who have more of a 'platform' and so are better 'bets' for publishers. I've known rejection because I am not on a regular speaking circuit. For now, I have chosen to prioritise being at home for my children. I know that's the right decision for us, but it doesn't make those comparisons any easier to bat away!

So far, the books I've written I've been asked to by in-house editors. I have a book on my heart that is at the proposal stage. This one is my baby, and it is a lot harder work – both to produce and to find a publisher for!

I've come to know some novel writers through the Association of Christian Writers. It is great to converse with them, and also wonderful to discover their books. But I am also in awe of their talent, as I don't feel I could ever write a good novel.

It is so easy to sell yourself short. To believe everyone else is more talented, more social media savvy, more liable to be published. But, as I know so many other writers will testify to, we write because we have to. It is what God has called us to; it's a part of who we are. 

So can I urge you, as well as myself, to intentionally forget the comparisons and celebrate the fact that God has given you the inbuilt desire to write. Yes it is hard work. But isn't it wonderful that God has planted that seed inside of us? He longs to see how we will tend it and grow it.


I have a renewed determination not to settle for second best, not to allow myself to wither under pesky comparison thoughts that cultivate apathy. Instead, I'm going to thank God each day for the gift of writing.


Claire is a freelance writer and editor, mum to two gorgeous young children, pastor’s wife, worship leader and school governor. Claire’s desire is to help others draw closer to God through her writing, which focuses on marriage, parenting, worship, discipleship, issues facing women today etc. Her books include Taking your Spiritual Pulse, CWR’s Insight Guide: Managing Conflict and BRF Foundations21 study guides on Prayer and Jesus. She also writes a regular column for Christian Today. To find out more about her, please visit www.clairemusters.com and @CMusters on Twitter.

13 comments:

  1. Thank you for this, Claire. Timely words.

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  2. Thank you so much for this, Claire. I too struggle with envy - it's the dark side of being an Enneagram Type Four (the Romantic) - I wonder if you are Type Four too? I especially identify with the problem of not being on a speaking circuit - it seems like every writer these days has to be a speaker too, and do our own publicity. But it's the quality of the writing that counts - even if only a few people see it.

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  3. Yes, me too. These are wise words, and exactly what I needed to read today. Thanks, Claire.

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  4. Thanks everyone - I hoped this would resonate as being a writer is such a vulnerable position to be in and it is far too easy to look around us and make ourselves feel worse because we think everyone is doing better than we are. But we must remember to be faithful to what God has called us to do and forget the comparisons :) Veronica I've never heard of those Types ;)

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  5. Yes, I struggle with this too. It's made more difficult because there is a necessity to promote ourselves, so this can feed that envious streak. I'm trying to learn to relax, focusing on celebrating the work of others...and even to celebrate what God has given me. THAT I find hard, because it's a fine line - I prickle when I perceive others to be 'bragging'....but I think perhaps it's my own bugbear - they may have a more healthy perspective than I do!

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  6. The editor in me immediately wants me to change 'more healthy' to 'healthier'!

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  7. As I am abn Enneagram 9 I always think others are better but your wise words will, I hope,help me to concentrate on using that love of words which I know is God given. Thank you Claire.

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  8. Claire, you are speaking to all my people-approval issues here. And they do need a good talking to!Thank you for your wise words which I know I will do well to heed. These ones in particular hit home hard:" intentionally forget the comparisons and celebrate the fact that God has given you the inbuilt desire to write. " Amen! :)

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  9. Great post and given me food for thought. I am so enjoying everyone's posts.

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  10. So helpful, Claire. I think envy is especially insidious when it comes to people who are so close to our calling - so I could envy you and your posts in websites where I don't appear or books you've written that I haven't. Or I can choose to celebrate that your voice is being heard and that you're getting out there - a much better prospect. A year or so ago I felt God calling me to celebrate women writers. I'm grateful for his gentle but firm nudge, for I incorporated this celebration into my outlook and found envy decreasing in response. Not that I'm a saint, of course! But the positive discipline helps to displace the negative habit. Thoughtful post.

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  11. Thanks claire as a new writer still feeling very green this is very encouraging and may God bless you and give you favour in all you do. What I have experienced as a new writer is- there are very few people willing to encourage or mentor,but one thing I believe we can all take comfort in -is God says" just make it plain if you are doing it for my glory" after all on the day of payment when we all get to heaven the price will be the same ."Well done good and faithful servant " and dont give up when the publishers say No if the work you are doing is for the glory of God at the right timing the same publisher or others will say Yes.

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  12. Great post, Claire. You do write a good article.

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