Monday, January 24, 2022

Beware the Trap of Comparing Yourself to Other Writers

by Ane Mulligan @AneMulligan

As writers, it's hard not to compare ourselves with other authors. But it's exactly what we shouldn't do. When you answered God's call to write, he had a time and a place in mind for you. You may become a bestseller, or you may not. But it might be your book that reaches someone who desperately needs your words to heal—to go on to do great things for the Lord. That, my friend, is the true meaning of success.
Whether our work is non-fiction or fiction, we've been called to be literary missionaries. As such, there are trickles of living water in our words, pointing people to the Source of that living water. 

There is another writer I know who published a debut novel the same time as me. This writer has gone on to wild success, while mine is good but nowhere near this other author's. And I couldn't help but be envious. Then God reminded me of when the disciples argued over who would be more important in the kingdom of Heaven. "Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves?" 

Ouch. But he also reminded me of a letter I once received from a reader, who told me how much my book helped and encouraged her. She said, "If she [meaning my main character] could overcome her ADHD, so can I." Strange as it may be, I didn't write that character being ADHD. Still, this reader saw something in the character's actions that she could relate to. That's success in the Lord's eyes. He knew she was out there and that I could write a story that would reach her heart.

Karen Ball once said, "God whispers stories to our hearts, and our hearts whisper back in stories." I believe that with every fiber of my being. So write the story your heart whispers to you, and leave the "success" up to God. I promise you, there will be a wild celebration of your success when we all meet up in Heaven.


Ane Mulligan has been a voracious reader ever since her mom instilled within her a love of reading at age three, escaping into worlds otherwise unknown. But when Ane saw Mary Martin in PETER PAN, she was struck with a fever from which she never recovered—stage fever. She submerged herself in drama through high school and college. Years later, her two loves collided, and a bestselling, award-winning novelist emerged. She resides in Sugar Hill, GA, with her artist husband and a rascally Rottweiler. Find Ane on her WEBSITE, AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE, FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM, PINTEREST, and THE WRITE CONVERSATION.


  1. "Write the story your heart whispers to you, and leave the "success" up to God." Amen, Ane.

  2. It is so easy to compare ourselves to other writers, and when we do, we are trapped. As you say, we must leave the success up to God!
    Thank you for such an encouraging article!

  3. Ane, we hear this often, but we need to hear this often.

  4. I love this, Ane! Such great reminders. I especially love: "We've been called to be literary missionaries." God can use our words to bring others closer to Him, and that gives our writing a greater purpose.

    1. When I heard literary missionary, it made a huge difference to me. I enabled me to say no to some things to protect my writing time.

  5. I love this article, Ane. My feeling is: if you want to compete, run a race. If you want to change the world, write a book.

  6. Ane, If we are honest, I expect most authors could confess that the sneaky demon of jealousy has wormed its way past their defenses. Thank you for your transparency and your compassionate message to help us deal with those doubts and fears. (I love what Kay said, too).