Why “keeping up” can hold us back

The subject of this article, by Julie Bosman, in the New York Times:

Writer’s Cramp: In the E-Reader Era, a Book a Year Is Slacking

made me itchy and anxious—particularly this quote: “Everybody’s doing a little more,” said Mr. [Lee] Child (a British author), who is published by Delacorte Press, part of Random House. “It seems like we’re all running faster to stay in the same place.”

Itchy and anxious, this is, until I remembered that trying to “keep up” (no matter what I’m trying to do) had always make me itchy and nervous. I had momentarily been seduced by the idea that if I do something formulaic, trendy, in, popular, I can “get to” where I “need to be” and “then everything will work out.”

Where I need to be has never, I don’t think, turned out to be where I thought I needed to be.

I am not talking about following a creative path, or doing what a writer (or any creative or professional, for that matter) needs to do to foster their creations and bring their words and work into the world. But it’s when I start listening to “how it is right now” and “what authors need to do” and “everyone needs to do it this way, but not too much this way” that I shut down.

“How it is right now” may be how it is, but why do I have to keep (over and over) regarding that “how it is-ness” as the only thing that is?

I don’t. Nor do you.