Forgive me father for recently I have sinned. I have been covetous.
Which is odd because till now, I have never had more than a passing relationship with the green-eyed monster. In fact I’ve always subscribed to wise words of Mary Schmich when she said:
Don’t waste time on jealousy.
Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind.
So who are these people that I am jealous of? Well that would be some of my writing peers – Anna, Karen and Eden specifically. What have these girls all got in common? Well they just have a way of writing, a way that makes me despair because I just can’t write the way they do and I desperately wish I could. And that’s not all. These girls don’t just have my admiration – they have the admiration of many other writerly people I know. People whose admiration I crave!
(Which makes this a perfect example why basing your self-worth on the admiration of others is just not the way to go.)
Now that I have acknowledged the green-eyed monster in the room, I want to know how to get rid of her because I don’t like the way she makes me feel. In fact I agree with Robert Heinlein who said:
A competent and self-confident person is
incapable of jealousy in anything. Jealousy is invariably a
symptom of neurotic insecurity.
I don’t want to be neurotically insecure so the first thing I need to remind myself is that a person’s true writing voice, the one that resonates with readers, is kind of ingrained. Which means there is no point me wishing I wrote like Karen because only Karen can write Karen. And if I started trying to write the way she does, it would come out all kinds of wrong. I just need to keep writing like Kelly.
And I also need to remind myself that my true writing voice does resonate with people. Lots of people. It may not cause my peers to throw down their pens and scream “I quit! I will never write like Kelly so I never want to write again!” (as I have done when I have read a few of Anna’s pieces) but that’s fine.
And finally, I just need to keep on keeping on, working on my craft and being the best writer that I can be because as my mate Oliver Stone says:
Never underestimate the power of jealousy
and the power of envy to destroy.
It will be a huge shame if I let my little insecurities ruin what could be a perfectly satisfying writing career. Wouldn’t it?!
Do you find ever find yourself suffering from jealousy? How do you deal with it?
And are you a creative person who craves recognition from your peers above that of your audience?