Craft,  Inspiration,  Motivation,  Observation

Small Beginnings, New England Foliage & Why Comparison Is So Stupid

It’s FALL here in beautiful New England!

The trees are showing off their magnificent colors. October is magical. It’s breathtaking and awe-inspiring. It’s glorious and crisp. October is the best time of year.

Why is it so difficult to be a writer?
What mighty oaks from little acorns grow!

Unless you’re an acorn.

I am not an acorn, but I would imagine that if I were, and if I were sentient and anthropomorphic, it would be very difficult for me not to feel sorry for myself in October.

Where would acorns like me go? If not eaten by a squirrel, then I and my friends could be buried in a hole somewhere, forgotten under the brutal snow that New England’s prize for loving autumn too much.

Poor me. All alone in the darkness. Decomposing. Maybe, if I’m lucky, I’ll germinate in the spring. If we ever have spring.

Why do we write?
Do I look like I want to build a snowman?

Ah, but this is where I get to sermonizing, so I need to get back to October.

If you are a beginning writer, you are much like a wee acorn.

Small, seemingly insignificant, a bit nutty, occasionally accosted by squirrels. If you are a beginning writer, you may look at those towering, more experienced, more successful writers (a tree in our analogy if you haven’t got it already) and think that you should just give it up and become squirrel fodder.


Don’t believe for a minute that you are less because you are just beginning. Don’t believe that your future is bleak because it’s dark in your squirrel hole. Don’t believe that their strength should be compared to your weakness.

Why is everyone better than me?
If you didn’t know, the nut this quote is referring to is you. Hold your ground, you nut!

Instead? Do this: 

1. Write every day.  Even ten minutes will keep you going in the right direction. 

Original poetry about New England Autumn
Photo by Katharine Grubb

2. Remember everyone was a beginner sometime. If you have to, research your favorite authors and study their early years.

why is it so hard to write?
Photo by Katharine Grubb

3. Worry only about you, and no one else. Writing isn’t a game for the insecure. It’s a quest for those of us who look straight ahead and stick to our convictions and our determination.

Poetry about New England Fall
Photo by Katharine Grubb

4. Hang on to the dream. George R.R. Martin said, “I don’t like writing, but I like having written.” How did he get to his level of fame and success? One word at a time.

Arnold Arboretum, Boston, Massachusetts  Photo by Katharine Grubb
Arnold Arboretum, Boston, Massachusetts
Photo by Katharine Grubb

5. Don’t ever, ever, ever, ever, compare yourself to another writer. Either you will compare your strengths to their weaknesses and come out looking like a smug know-it-all (and no one buys books from smug know-it-alls) or you will compare your weakness to their strength and give up entirely.

It’s autumn in New England. There’s beauty everywhere. In the grand and in the small.

Keep writing. You will have the glory someday. 

Katharine Grubb is an author, poet, homeschooling mother, camping enthusiast, bread-baker, and believer in working in small increments of time. She leads 10 Minute Novelists, an international Facebook group of time-crunched writers. She lives with her family in Massachusetts.


  • TLC Nielsen

    Nice photos, Katharine and great content! Interesting note on the changing colors of autumn – heard it has to do with water and drought levels changing the hues each autumn. I believe there is some sort of lesson in there for writers too! With much hardship comes great beauty . TLC