I am so jealous this morning. One friend just won a literary fellowship. Another, I learned, has approximately 1,237 blog followers. Yet another just landed a big fat juicy book contract where eight–count ’em–EIGHT–publishers fought for her book at auction. Writer jealous feels petty and unfair. While every one of my friends totally deserves her honor, where’s my piece of pie?
Writing Tip for Today: We’ve all struggled with writer’s jealousy. Unlike writer’s block, this demon really exists–mostly to make us feel miserable. But can we harness that destructive energy for good? Here are some thoughts:
- READ the Best. While it may be fun to sit around and complain that so-and-so must know insiders or that Writer B just got lucky, why not keep reading? You will be a better writer if you regularly read the BEST stuff you can find. Even if it is your best friend’s book. Inspire yourself. I don’t worry about affecting another’s style. If I do start to sound like another writer, it’ll be temporary. Eventually, my own voice will reemerge.
- Bitterness Looks Good on NOBODY. Writers who grouse that the system is rigged, that you must know somebody to get published or that all the good ideas are taken are mostly right. But a bad attitude which takes up so much time that you stop writing isn’t productive. I’d rather see a “I’ll show you” attitude than “why bother?”
- Write a Zillion Words. As FAST as Possible. Write every day. If you really want to be like Writer X, who is on Oprah or sells a gazillion books, be willing to do as they’ve done. Spend hours and days and weeks and months perfecting your craft. It’s the best cure I can think of for Writer Jealousy.