Conference Emotions III: Guilt and Jealousy

If you attended a writer’s conference recently, you know the flood of emotions that hits you when you get home. This year, a conference turned out better than my dreams, so of course my first emotion is joy followed closely by guilt.
Writing Tip for Today: Guilt, you say? Why would I feel guilty over having a writing dream finally come to fruition? Why would any writer?

  • “Let’s kill her.” A fellow writer has something good happen. For years a standing dark joke between another writer and me was to say, “Did you hear about So-and-so? Let’s kill her.” If we’re honest, we all admit that we suffer jealousy when another writer makes good. The hurt of “Why not me?” is palpable, especially if you’ve been passed over again and again. If you came home from conference in the dumps, hearing of another’s success is salt in the wound. I handle my writer’s jealousy with a couple of chuckles, a good cry or most important, the reminder that I’ll be happier if I “rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.”
  • Jumpin’ the Gun. For years I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t getting my books picked up. At every conference, I went in hopeful and came out discouraged. Now that I look back at all those years, I can clearly see I wasn’t ready. I insisted on jumping the gun. I do think the experience of pitching, getting turned down and having to knuckle under and practice some more was invaluable. It’s all part of the process.
  • Subjective Objectivity. When you leave a conference, you’ve no doubt got a ton of feedback in your head. Lots of times the feedback is contradicted. What’s a writer to do? Let a bit of time go by. Pay attention to the suggestions, not only from the people you value most but also to the ones that feel right to you. Don’t be like the writer who got on her donkey and rode off in all directions. Changing to please everyone will never work. Listen to your heart.

About Linda S. Clare

I'm an author, speaker, writing coach and mentor. I teach both fiction and nonfiction writing at Lane Community College and in the doctoral program as expert writing advisor for George Fox University. I love helping writers improve their craft and I'm both an avid reader and writer of stories about those with wounded hearts.

1 comment on “Conference Emotions III: Guilt and Jealousy

  1. I admire the honesty of this post. One thing I love about Christian writing is that we aren’t as nasty or “dog-eat-dog” as the secular publishing world. We celebrate one anothers triumphs and uplift each other when the going gets tough. But beneath our best intentions is the human, “old man,” instinct to be a little envious when we see someone succeed where we fail. I know I once read a manuscript and felt the green-eyed monster rearing his ugly head because I KNEW the words I read were much better than my writing.

    Thank God the Holy Spirit can help us resist the urge to give in to jealousy. Like you, I find a way to deal with it, toss it away, and seek the Jesus-love I have for my brothers and sisters in Christ.

    Again, thanks for the great post!

    ~Britt Mitchell

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