Today I was browsing writer blogs and reading about what everyone is writing and I had the same sort of panic. One author wrote about how easily she wrote her upcoming novel--that she finished it in six months and was now on her second, and everyone was adoring it and already awarding it prizes. (I reached for the chocolate.) Another wrote about how she knew instantly what she was supposed to be writing about and she let the characters dictate the story to her and now she is on a 450 city tour (OK, I exaggerate, but still...) I hyperventilated. I read the plot lines of both books--simple, straightforward--and thought, "Why didn't I think of that story? What's wrong with me that I didn't?"
Then I looked at my pages, which are complex, convoluted and I felt something centering. I like--no, I love what I am working on. It obsesses me. I have been trying to figure out how to write this particular novel for years and I finally figured out how to do it, and if it takes me two more years to get it right, then it takes me two more years.
I know my process is not everyone's process. I know I could no more write a book in six months then I could sing opera, nor could I write a book about something that did not speak to me in some deep and personal way.
It's difficult not to compare yourself to other writers, but I certainly don't really think that writers put up blogs for that purpose. I also think it's dangerous to think like that. Stories are like your fingerprints--yours are unique and that uniqueness is what makes them powerful. I think that's a good thing to always remember, even when other websites seem to be whispering challenges.