Here's a thing I try not to do: underestimate the competition.
People (some people more than others) will sometimes ask me why I'm so, shall we say, anxious about the quality of my work and/or why I'm so convinced I will soon face yet another rejection letter. The fact is, I have seen the face of my competition. I sat across from them in workshops, heard them give readings, read their work in literary magazines. And I can never forget them.
See, one of the worst things you can get is an ego. It makes you overconfident in your own abilities. It can hinder your creative process, should you decide you don't need to follow anyone's advice about your story/poem/essay. It might render you insufferable to others.
And this is why I always keep my competition at the back of my mind. They make me work harder at this thing called writing. They fortify me when the pile of NOs is larger than the pile of YESes. They push me not to give up. Because, as selfish as this sounds, I want to be better than them. Do I believe I AM better than them? Of course not. But they act as a brass ring, in a way: something I need to visualize so I continue reaching for the best.