Just over a year ago, I brought a baby into the world 11 weeks early. He was tiny, only 3 lbs 4 oz, and in the weeks and months that followed, I worried that he wasn't growing as well as he should.
Today, that baby is a healthy almost twenty pound one year old. Of course, he doesn't act like a twelve month old. He acts like a healthy ten month old (which is really what he is).
Even so, every time I realize that another baby is progressing faster than he is, I worry. He just learned to crawl this last week, but a friend's seven month old is starting to stand. Does this mean something's wrong? Not necessarily.
Most of us recognize that there's a wide range of healthy development in growing babies. But I think sometimes we forget that there's a similarly wide range of healthy development in growing novels.
I struggle sometimes hearing stories from friends or writer acquaintances who have drafted their novel in a manner of weeks, even days. Or who snag an agent their first time querying. Or who revise at a phenomenal pace. (I could go on and on).
The truth is, none of us are exactly the same. We don't think the same way, our life circumstances differ, and we work at different rates. Unless our comparisons with other writers provides us with healthy motivation, we shouldn't let it worry us. (Easier said than done, I know!)
The only marker of progression that should matter is: are you making progress in some way or form? Are you a little better at writing this month than you were last month?
And maybe--do you love what you do?
Because at the end of the day, it doesn't matter if my baby (or fledgling novel) is progressing at the same rate as someone else's. I love him anyway.