So, there is this guy at training. I'm going to call him Dude. Dude is an alright guy, but there's something a little off there, and I'm not sure what it is. I cannot shake the feeling, however, that Dude has some weird competition thing going with/against me. I have nothing really to substantiate that theory with, other than a few observations.
For example, whatever I'm doing, he must also do, despite not being at my level.
That's not a brag. I have at least five years of training on him.
Whether it is a form I am working on or an activity I'm doing to increase my strength or fitness, he's always there. He will stop whatever he was doing before and come over. He'll try and weasel in, demanding (not even asking, demanding) to do whatever it is I'm doing. This would ordinarily be a minor irritation, except that in his rush to get to my position, he's ignored and neglected a large portion of training. His stances are slack... like... really, really bad, his movements are awkward and undisciplined, and his theory is entirely absent. This results in forms that are barely recognisable sometimes. It also results in my annoyance, particularly when he begins to behave as if he's at a level he actually is not, which is to say when he starts instructing people who are senior to him (me, mostly. I'm not sure why, but it's annoying as hell).
I'm not saying this to rag on the guy. My point is that training, like a lot of things in life, is not a competition. Turning it into some weird dick measuring contest (very weird, because only one of us has a penis, so, like life, the penis wins by default. #Feminist"Joke") has resulted in very poor technique on Dude's part, and a lot of unnecessary tension and sometimes outright hostility on mine. I have a relatively short fuse when I feel like I'm being disrespected.
I remember reading a think piece by someone some time ago. I can remember neither the author nor the title, so I can't link to it, but it was basically complaining about writers of all shades (mostly about aspiring writers) who continually posted their massive word counts on social media as if it meant anything. She bemoaned how such people were turning writing into a competition, and anyone who didn't hit those marks were left being 'losers.'
The problem with the article was that a lot of it seemed like projection; like the only person turning a daily word count into a competition was her. Or him. I think the author of the article was a her. I can't remember. It's been a while and I'm deep into a reread of Steven Erikson's Gardens of the Moon, which I prefer to recall infinitely more than the article in question.
Where was I? Oh yes....
She was right about one thing: writing is not a competition. At least, it shouldn't be.
I post my word counts on social media, not to crow over other writers, but to celebrate a very minor achievement (also because my life is particularly dull and I have nothing else to excite me). I celebrate these small milestones in order to keep myself motivated, to keep my readers informed of my progress (in case they're really anticipating my next release... Oh hush! It could happen!), and to have an excuse to celebrate. We don't celebrate enough in life, I feel.
It would be an entirely different story if I turned my celebration into personal challenges. If I, for example tweeted:
Wrote two thousand words today. What did you get, loser?
That's not what is going on.
What is going on is a whole bunch of writers, aspiring or otherwise, working their butts off and celebrating when they achieve something. It is in no way a rebuke of anyone else's work... Unless that someone else decides to turn it into a competition, and then falls short of the mark.
Certainly be envious if someone has the time to make a daily word count you could only dream of. Envy is a normal emotion, and can help with the whole motivation thing. Do keep in mind, however, that writing isn't a race, it's not a competition. If you feel personally affronted by another's writing success - however small - than the problem is not them, it's you. Focus on your own work.
Or you'll end up with terrible stances, unrecognisable forms and making everyone around you really, really irritated.