The summer before fourth grade, I went to church camp. One afternoon when I was getting ready for kickball or softball or some other sport I didn’t really want to play, the counselor in a bunk near mine said, “Oh, I love that you are wearing pink socks! My teenage daughter says no one is wearing colored socks anymore and she won’t let me wear anything but white. She says I’ll embarrass her too much. But good for you for still wearing colored socks if you want to!”
That afternoon, instead of playing kickball or softball or whatever it was, I couldn’t take my eyes off everyone’s socks. White, white, white, and white. This old lady was right. Pink socks were out. I was the ONLY ONE wearing them. My suit case held yellow, green, orange, and another pair of pink socks. Only one pair was white. By the end of the week, that white pair wasn’t so white anymore because they were the only ones I wore.
I had no idea what I was wearing was wrong, until I compared my socks to everyone else’s socks.
Comparison tells you that you aren’t good enough, smart enough, talented enough, creative enough, original enough, or patient enough to have what other people have, or do what other people have done.
Or it tells you you’re too weird, too wordy, too serious, too nerdy, or too wild to have what other people have, or do what other people have done.
You may have an idea for a book or a blog, then look around and see that everyone is writing about that topic. You feel like you’ll never be as good as they are. Or, you look around and see that no one is writing about that topic. You feel like you’ll never get any readers because no one is interested in your story.
Here’s the truth—we need you. We need your words.
No one else has your gifts. No one else can tell your stories. No one else has been the places you’ve been. No one else has learned the lessons you have learned. What everyone else does or doesn’t do really doesn’t change you or the purpose God has for you.
“Whatever you are wired by God to do, you’ll find a way to do where you are—and all of that is equally important to him. We tend to think there’s a pinnacle to our purpose, a high point we have to reach. But God cares more about the journey and our partnership with him in the process.” -Holley Gerth
Be you today. Tell your stories in your voice to your audience.
In the words of Dr. Seuss, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
More enemies of good writing: