Of Jealousy, Disappointment and A Bird in the Hand

The past few days have been quite the roller coaster ride for me. I got to “show ‘n tell” my novel to a group of writers I’ve met with weekly for more than 10 years now. I got another wonderful review for The Fence My Father Built in CBA Retailers magazine. But I also lost two writers from my invitation-only critique group. In these few short days, I’ve experienced jealousy, disappointment and that gentle nudge (the one with the still, small voice) who tells me it’s going to be okay.
Writing Tip For Today: Let’s talk about jealousy. When someone you know wins a big deal award, have you ever secretly been just an eensy-bit jealous? I have, and what’s more, I have coveted the same award for myself. When I started showing off my Fence novel, a long-time mentor didn’t bother to say congrats. Was that person jealous?
And what about disappointment? Ah, this one seems to come with the job. To lose students I not only value but also really like hurts. I started thinking, well don’t feel hurt, just get over it. But I am hurt, and I decided to ignore the macho attitude and feel my feelings. I do put a time limit (one day) on pity parties.
So what’s a writer to do? Emotions are a novel writer’s secret weapon. Without them, we cannot connect to our readers, unless we write technical manuals. Jealousy, disappointment and other less-than-noble emotions are a part of being a writer. The point is, we don’t have to stay here. One of the ways, besides prayer, that I use to snap outta it is that time limit, and also getting to work on the project at hand. I spend less time obsessing over what might have been, and direct my energy to the work in progress. That bird in the hand (and the small still voice) keeps me looking forward, to accomplish whatever is in me to create.

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