Writer envy starts early. You pick up a book in the bookstore, read the first page and think, “I could do better than that!”
And so you probably can. However, after spending all that time glued to your seat writing and rewriting and sending your masterpiece out, you realise the publishers who liked that book you picked up all those years ago (yes, it’s take years) aren’t interested in what you’ve got to offer.
Writer envy starts to niggle in your gullet.
Then it happens, someone from your writing group, or worse, someone from your family, gets published while your manuscript is still languishing on slush piles. Envy turns into more than a niggle, it starts to burn like poison in your guts. It tastes bitter.
It’s at this point you have a choice. You can let that bitterness flavour every book you read. “I could do better.” “I’ll never be able to write that well.” “I’ll never ever get published.” Or you can choose to believe that the success of others brings you closer to your own.
Envy can be a good spur to action (it got you started in the first place didn’t it?) but is a very poor master. It corrodes your writerly esteem and tarnishes the dream.
Let go of envy and try to share in the joy of the success of others. If they did it, then it’s possible for you too. When your turn at publication comes, do you want to feel that others are tearing you down, or that they are happy for you?
It all boils down to that old chestnut, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
In other words, GET OVER IT!
Be happy that someone else has achieved their dream, because it proves they can come true.
Then reading can be fun again.
It’s not a game of compare and contrast. It’s not a competition.
We can only write what we write and each of us has something unique to offer. Equal but different.
So, if you want to look as happy reading as the woman in the picture, let go of the angst of envy, and read for pleasure, not to find fault. Share in the success of others, be happy for them.
Don’t you love the little mouse?
I wonder if mice feel envy? “She found a bigger piece of cheese.” “His hole is bigger than mine.”
Somehow I think not. They probably just share.
Maybe that’s the opposite of envy – sharing?