I'll give you the short answer: NO.
We're not COMPETING with other writers. I think sometimes it can feel that way but...each story is so different. Even if they are in the same genre, or side-by-side on the book shelf, how in the world can you POSSIBLY compare? Ya know?
I guess we can use different measurements to compare. Who got the agent first. Who got the "better" agent. Who got most money for the book deal. Who gets the book deal first. Who got the "better" publishing house. Who got the "better" editor. Who hit the bestseller list. Who hit higher on the bestseller list. Who got the most awards. Who got the blurb from John Freaking Green. Who got the best reviews. Who got the most respect. Who get the movie deal. Who got...WHATEVER. It all comes down to how you measure success. (Personally I would freaking love a blurb from, like, say Melisa Marr or John Green over a NYT Bestseller Spot. Is that WIERD? Ha!)
Writing is not a competition. At least not with anyone but YOURSELF. It's okay to push yourself. Stretch. Just try to block out that little voice that says, "I SUCK," and replace it with a nice, fairy godmother voice that says, "Okay, I wrote that. Now how can I make it better? Hmmmm...."
Writing is a puzzle. Is there such a thing as competitive puzzle-doing? Probably. Maybe. I don't know. Uh, I'm thinking of another book idea now...But it seems odd. I think of a puzzle as a solitary thing. You compete with yourself. But I guess you can add a clock into anything and make it competitive. But look at this way: EITHER WAY BOTH PLAYERS FINISH THE PUZZLE.
All we can do is write what we want to write. Worry about the story. The characters. Just write something good (sounds so easy, right?) Forget about the business side of it. Forget about the market. All things not in your control. That's all so yucky anyway. I mean...BUSINESS? Ick. Just another joy of not being published yet. You don't have to worry about all of those hoops and marketing stuff. I imagine at that point it feels like a JOB. Maybe that stuff can be fun but we're writers because we write. And read. Period.
I've learned a ton about writing this year. I would love, love, love to be published. But if I never make it there, I think I'll be okay. Does this mean I'm giving up? Nah. But I'm letting go a little. I'm slowing down a bit. I'm drifting away from the agent/business blogs and sticking to what applies to me NOW and not LATER.
Story. I love stories. I'm awful at structure. Good news, I hear, this can be learned. So I better be learning it.
Onward, dear writers!
Oh, and Happy Thursday!