“Choose several literary rivals. These should be people you know. They should be people you like, respect, and admire. They should be people who write at least a little bit like you do. They should be more talented and successful than you are.

You probably already have some candidates in mind. You need to read each thing they publish, find their weaknesses, and make a plan to succeed where they fail. Find out what you can do that they can’t; build on that. Support them, be their best readers, promote their work at every opportunity. Write them fan mail. Start friendly arguments. Most important, never tell them that you are their competitor. (If it’s working, they’ll know what you’re doing. They’ll start doing it, too.) Work as hard as you can to supersede them, to write something so beautiful that they become unnecessary. Who are my rivals? They are my friends. They are the kindest people I know. Someday, I hope to destroy them. Or failing that, to write a book that makes them weep.”
—Mike Meginnis, author of Fat Man and Little Boy (Black Balloon Publishing, 2014)

Photo credit: Greg Bal