Envy. It crops up with appalling ease. A member of your local writing group signs a multi-book contract. Another lands a dream agent. One friend tells you her latest book needs no substantial edits while you’re drowning in them. A friend wins an award you covet.
You swallow the worm of jealousy, brace yourself and offer congratulations. But inside you die a little. When you return to your desk, you find it hard to focus. Or maybe you throw yourself that much harder into your work or exhaust yourself in promotion.
When this happens, pause and consider. Your emotions, while upsetting, may be telling you something of life-changing value.
Lessons from EnvyFirst examine the foundation of your jealousy. It may draw from feelings of inadequacy and fear. Would you experience it if you felt confident in yourself and in your writing? You may discover your feelings make sense on a certain level.
If you were entirely sure of yourself, for instance, you’d be an egoist. With no guarantees in today’s inconstant publishing world and more people than ever seeking publication, it’s not hard to feel less than confident and even fearful.
Confront your emotional issues with kindness and truth and you’ll find peace.
Now look at what your jealousy reveals about you. Doesn’t it highlight what you care most about? For instance, if a neighbor wins the National Fly Fishing Championship, you don’t turn a hair. But you go green when another writer receives recognition for speaking, mentoring or signing a multiple-book contract.
Don’t limit yourself when you look for these revelations, but use discernment. Maybe you are called to hit the New York Times Best Seller List. On the other hand, someone else’s path to success might seem right for you on the surface but would take you in a direction that doesn’t work. Knowing your ultimate goals will guide you best.
Delve into your disappointment to discover your path as a writer.