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Autistic Writer Tip: Be Careful of Comparing Yourself to Neurotypical Writers

Balanced scales overlaid with a picture of a brain and the words "Autism tip: Be careful of comparing yourself to neurotypical writers."

We've probably all heard we need to be careful of comparing ourselves to others. And as writers, that often translates to being careful of comparing someone else's success/popularity/income to ours. However, you may not have considered it in the context of comparing yourself to neurotypical people. Why? Because most of the world is neurotypical. Let's dive into why comparing yourself to neurotypical writers can be detrimental.

It's natural to want to emulate the people we admire, especially if those people are achieving things we also want. If a neurotypical author is experiencing wild success by posting on social media five times a day, it makes sense for us to think, "Hey, if I do all the things that author is doing, I'll get the

same results."

It's not that simple. Certain elements of everyday life are more challenging for autistics than they are for neurotypical people: changes in routine, social interactions, sensory sensitivities, etc. It's important to factor those challenges into our plans when we are making decisions as an author if we want to maintain good mental health and work/life balance. Something that comes easily for a neurotypical author won't necessarily come easily for an autistic one. It also may have negative side effects that a neurotypical author wouldn't have to deal with.

Let's consider the previous example of posting on social media five times a day. I'm not saying it's impossible for an autistic author to do it (and I'm not saying this will apply to every autistic author out there), but incorporating that routine into your schedule could have unexpected—and negative—results. Will you use up all your social energy and not have enough left for your family at the end of the day? Will the stress of having to post exactly (so many of us are perfectionists) five times negatively affect your health? Will you be so caught up in making those posts that you don't have time to work on your writing?

As an autistic author, these are things you need to consider. Now, I am in no way trying to say you are incapable of the same amount of success as any other author out there. Autistic authors are capable of great success. However, in order to achieve that success and sustain it, it's important to leverage your strengths and take an honest look at your weaknesses.

Don't just do something because "everyone" is doing it. View the situation through an autistic lens, and consider if it's going to be the right thing for you.

I hope this tip was helpful. Be sure to check out my other posts where you'll find many more tips for autistic writers.


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