I never used to think of myself as competitive. Whenever friends of mine would try harness competition as a motivating tool, I’d quietly make excuses and sit it out. Competition didn’t motivate me, I’d say. It made me freak out and want to vanish because I hated the idea of failure but I was never as driven as they were to win. It was a catch-22 situation that I had no desire to change. I was happy in my mediocrity. It was safe, secure – nobody was fighting me for my place and that was fine.
Fine. What a boring place to be.
But apparently I am intensely motivated by competition but not overt competition. I don’t respond to someone pushing me to a target necessarily or yelling at me, bootcamp-style. No, I respond to the green-eyed monster.
A friend of mine, not known for her writing, told me this week that she’s writing a novel. Just like that. No preamble, no nothing. Just that she’s writing a novel. And I found myself annoyed. Who’s she to take that away from me? Not that she’s intentionally taking my crown, of course. Not that I’ve actually ever written a complete novel either. It’s not really my crown to take if I’m not driven enough to do it. But the thought of her writing a novel while I whinge and moan about how I’d love to write but I don’t actually write is galling beyond belief.
Normally I’d simply bitch and moan and then forget about it. But this time, I’ve been writing my Morning Pages most days and I have a good start on a short story for class, due next week. Yes, I’m still procrastinating but I’m not looking at it as laziness because my procrastination involves reading and watching documentaries, which feeds directly into my creativity. It’s all about feeding the creative brain. I’m using this little green-eyed monster (which I’ve written about before – I’m nothing if not consistent) to my advantage. This is not about writing a novel just to spite her. It’s about looking at what I felt when I read her email and translating that into action.
I don’t want to be fine anymore. I want to be creative and inspired and fulfilled. And if it takes a little competitive spirit to get me there and keep me there, so be it.