While writer’s do have each others backs, after all, no one else knows better how much work goes into creating a book, there are occasions when along with the crippling self-doubt and frustrating writer’s block, you will be struck down with writer envy.
Writer envy usually rears its head when you see another writer post, boast or blog about scoring an agent, a book deal, selling the movie rights, publish selfies with their books in actual stores, or spam you with photos of their author signings where real-live people actually went out of their way to get a signed copy of a book that was published by a real-live publishing house.
It’s human for them to want to show off such great achievements (and we’d all be first in line to do the same if it was us), it’s also very human to feel envious of this so I’m not going to tell you not to. I’ve felt this way in the past, and I’m sure I’ll feel it again in the future. For those times, here’s a list of do’s and don’ts to keep in mind…
Do allow yourself to feel jealous.
Don’t publicly rant about it (at least not with identifying details).
Do allow it to make you a better writer.
Don’t allow it to make you a bitter person.
Do allow it to help you reassess, inspire or change your goals.
Don’t allow it to convince you that you need to change everything that you’re doing.
Do allow it to help you see what makes you a unique writer.
Don’t allow the comparisons to make you think that you are so unique that anyone who doesn’t like/rejects your work just doesn’t ‘get you’.
Do allow it to fire your desire to finish.
Don’t allow it to make you quit.
While it’s great to see other’s succeed, especially in such a hard industry, there will be times when you’ll wonder when it’s your turn, why it’s taking so long, or how something that is fifty shades of bad writing hits the bestseller list while you’re dealing with your fiftieth rejection in a row.
It’s okay to feel this way and it’s okay to wallow in it for as long as you need (but not too long, there’s writing to be done). What you don’t want to do is allow that envy to stop you from achieving your writing goals, because I’m sure if you asked the writer’s that you hid from your news feed, or the ones you considered cursing with the spells you painstakingly researched in the book not one agent has yet to request a full manuscript of, they would tell you that they felt that envy too. They also wondered when it was their turn and why it was taking so long. What they didn’t do was give up. They kept going, and eventually they achieved what you’re jealous of, and one day soon, hopefully, if you work hard enough and the stars align, it will be your turn. You’ll get to inspire the same writer envy in someone else—but it’ll only happen if you don’t quit.
— K.M. Allan