Tuesday, April 12, 2011

J is for Jealousy

This is a bit of a difficult post for me to write because I'm a little ashamed... Lately, I've been experiencing some jealousy. It's something I've read on other blogs and dismissed because I consider myself a person who rejoices in other people's successes. But, I'm afraid that I've been bitten by a very mean jealousy bug.

Reading about people who have agents and book deals makes me feel like crap.

There. I've said it. I don't like the feeling. Not even a little.

In fact, when I read about someone who landed a book deal or an agent I often make a big show in the comments by overusing exclamation points and screaming congratulations to compensate for the bad feelings I have in the pit of my stomach.

It's not to say that I am not happy for you if you've worked really hard and your talent has been recognized. In fact, it's just the opposite. I'm usually thrilled. It's just this really awful feeling that says: I want what you have.

And I feel like an absolute turd for it.

Lately, I've tried to combat that feeling by telling myself that the people who have succeeded have done so because they work harder than me. It's the only way I can justify it. I tell myself, I must not be a good worker. I must be lazy. And I must work harder. My work ethic is just not good enough.

Whether or not it's true, I don't know. I don't know how hard all of you work in comparison to how hard I work. But I assume you work harder than me. If I stay up until 1am writing, you must stay up until 2am. If I take off from writing for 2 days, you must be using that time to knock out 20,000 words.

I can only assume that if I work harder, I will have what you have. So I'm going to bust my a** until I have it all too. And that's all there is to it.

I wonder...am I the only one who feels this way?


  1. YES! Completely. When I see that other people have been published, for a moment I'm happy for them. Then, there's this feeling of 'What are they doing that I'm not?'

    Also when those who write say that they have knocked out 10,000 words in 2 days or something, I feel that I should work harder. The truth is, I can only do a little in one go, otherwise I end with my back in a lot of pain. The theory, is to not compare yourself with other people, but I know, that's really hard.

    Well done for writing this post, it must have been difficult. Hopefully you'll get there one day.

  2. It's difficult as an aspiring writer to not feel some jealousy when others are excited about their book deals etc.

    I am sure you will get there one day soon, hopefully I will too, but my first book is stuck at the research stage right now.

  3. You're only human.
    And when you get your agent and book deal, I will grind my teeth and jealousy will strike me also.

  4. Yes, you've been very honest with this post.

    And I agree with the others, it's perfectly normal reaction. You're only human. I suspect it's envy rather than jealousy. That's what I feel anyway. But if it's someone I know, I am also genuinely pleased for them and it gives me hope that there is a chance for me, one of these days.

    You will get there. keep writing!

    warm wishes

  5. Sometimes I feel jealous of people who have agents and book deals, even though I've never written a novel. Tell me THAT'S not crazy...

    - allison writes

  6. i totally get jealous of other people too. i wish i could just be happy for others all the time. but i have to work at it. and i know that stems from my own insecurities. thanks so much for admitting you have that same problem. probably most people do, at least to a degree, if they're being totally honest.

  7. I applaud your guts and your honesty. I feel exactly the same as you do.

  8. Oh, honey. I'm just as green as you are, if not more so. It's so, so hard, especially when there are so many stories out there that make it SOUND so simple. "I entered this contest and I won and not only did the judging agent sign me to an eleventeen-book deal, she became my super bestest friend EVER!!1!11!!" or "I queried three agents and suddenly nine hundred thousand of them flew out of the woodwork to request fulls, and then every agent that ever existed offered representation!" Whereas the rest of us are drowning in the slush pile, staring at one-word rejections and contemplating the number of novels we'll actually write before we should think about hanging it up for good (or maybe that's just me too...)

    It sucks. And it feels awful. I wish there were a way to be Pollyanna-ish about all of it. If anyone figures it out, let me know; until then, I'll be in the vegetable crisper, trying to blend in with the spinach.

  9. It's perfectly normal and when you've been published, you're going to want to be more successful. It's a never ending cycle, but I guess it keeps us going back to the drawing board to try to find greater success.