What would you say if I told you that THE HOLDERS had hit the NYT Best Sellers List? What if I said that I had just gotten a new six figure book deal? What about if THE HOLDERS had been contracted and green lighted for a movie?
All great news, right?
For me, sure, but for you... maybe not so much.
For the record, nothing I said above has actually happened, I was simply making a point. The writing community is small, and we are all up in each other's business. We follow one another on Twitter and Facebook, we read the blogs, hear the news, and see the hype. Writers in general are also very supportive, quick to give congrats when earned, encouragement when needed, and consolation when it all goes to hell. All that love and support is great, but it can also make you feel like a real jerk when someone you follow gets a huge break and--while you say, "Congrats, that's awesome,"--all you can think is, "why not me?"
"When will it be my turn?"
"I read that book, it wasn't even good!"
"Great, cuz all we need is another YA book movie..."
"I read her blog, she can't even spell, and she sold a book?"
"My stuff is better then his!"
Thoughts like these may not be ones the we are particularly proud of, but they happen to all of us. And guess what; having them does not make you a bad person. I'll say that again. Having them does not make you a bad person. It makes you human. It also does not mean that you are being fake and are not genuinely happy for the person. Being happy for someone and being jealous of something they have done are not mutually exclusive ideas, and anyone who tells you otherwise, is either lying, or just isn't passionate enough about what they do to have had the feeling for themselves. Jealousy is natural when you put your all into something only to see someone else get what you are working so hard for, and you know what, sometimes it truly is unfair--but that's life.
The trick is to let jealousy drive you to the next level, not bring you down or defeat you. Instead of sulking the next time you read about a deal, or a contract, or a sale, whip out whatever project you are working on and give it hell. Tell yourself that you will get there too, and don't stop until you do. You can't fight something you can't control, but you can learn to use it to your benefit. Just remember that we are all there with you--whether we openly admit it or not--and that it's okay to cringe a little inside the next time you leave a "That is so awesome, congratulations!" comment on someone's blog post. We've all done it. Just keep on keeping on, and don't forget that no matter where you are in your own process, odds are good that there is someone out there who is jealous of you.
Dedicated to Cami ~ Hang in the babe! XO!