One of the beautiful things about the creative arts, aside from the beauty of creative expression itself, is how the competition between artists has the potential to be different from the standard variety of competing. Most of us who endeavor to create, in my case write, something extraordinary others achieving the same goal isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
I like to view most published works as good things. Does it gall me that it is someone else’s work rather than my own? Yes, sometimes, I won’t deny that. But here is the beauty of competition within the creative arts: like in all fields it eggs on, motivates us to strive harder, to be better – that is pretty much standard. The key difference is that with each work of fiction that is published – or simply written and unpublished for that matter – it adds more “magic” to what I like to think of as the creative ether. Think of it as a collective creativity-consciousness.
Ours is a craft that I believe achieves its greatest beauty when we as writers are taught things we would not, or could not, have thought of on our own. We absorb, process, and synthesis something new based on the experiences we collect. So, in my opinion, every new published work (of any author) can be a step in the right direction.