This post is for all those amazing writers out there, who are currently riddled with writer jealousy and are sat staring at another writer’s work, with green eyes and a facial expression similar to that of a bulldog chewing a thistle.
We all suffer from writer jealousy. Some of us have spent hours staring at a writer’s fancy book launch tweet and struggled with the urge to throw rotten vegetables at our phone screen. Some of us have walked away from our creative projects after reading a fellow writer’s amazing book and wept softly in a corner, as it would take us a million years, a brain transplant and a ghostly visitation from Shakespeare for us to write like they do. Some of us have gritted our teeth so much, whilst reading about the literary successes enjoyed by some writers, we have had to go see a dentist.
Writer jealousy sucks but here is the thing, which I have learnt (the hard way) – you get to choose whether you want to feel jealous and endure all that those dark thoughts have to offer. Or you can do something different.
You don’t have to suffer writer jealousy. You don’t have to walk around all day with a bitter and twisted mouth, glowing eyes and a tired looking writer voodoo doll.
You can actually stop yourself before the jealousy party gets started and re-direct your negative energy, turning it into something positive and constructive.
So, I have come up with a list of things you can do when those toxic jealousy thoughts start to creep up on you:
- Write out all your toxic thoughts. Get them out of your head and onto paper. Empty your mind. Write down everything about this writer which bugs the hell out of you. Put the piece of paper away.
- Talk to a writer friend. Again get all these naff thoughts out of your mind. Release them. You will feel better.
- Find out as much as you can about the writer who is making you turn into a green-eyed monster. If they have published a book read the acknowledgements page, if they have written articles or blog posts read those. Read about them, trawl their Twitter feed and gain a good insight into their writing life. Why? Because I guarantee you will find out they spent hours mastering their craft, they wrote several unpublished novels before the one you are going a bit crazy over, they struggled to keep going during hard writing times, they were rejected by a zillion agents, publishers and they sacrificed a lot to get their work out there. I swear to you, once you read about all the crap they endured to produce the book you are gazing longingly at, you will stop feeling jealous. You will actually find yourself admiring them. This is tried and tested!
- Do the work! Put in the hours and practice your craft. You are wasting valuable time and energy by allowing yourself to suffer writer jealousy.
- Remind yourself that writing is all about how we see the world. No two writers view the world in the same way. This is because we all have different life experiences. You will never write like this writer because you have not lived in their shoes. You were not there when someone close to them died, you were not there when they joined a circus, you were not there when their marriage went downhill, you were not there when they found themselves on a singles holiday to Greece, you were not there when they resigned from their dead end job, you were not there when they kissed the lead singer of a rock band outside a club in Birmingham and you were not there when they fell madly in love with their neighbour, who cooked a mean barbecue sausage. All of this life experience went into their amazing book. Their pain, suffering, happiness and euphoria helped them to create something which was a joy to read. So stop moaning about not being able to write like them. You are not them. You have your own unique life experiences to draw from.
- Remind yourself that there will always be better writers than you.
- Put some imaginary horse blinkers on and concentrate on your own work.
We can’t stop feeling jealous of other writers but we can choose whether we want to suffer and wallow in it.
If anyone is having ghostly visitations from Shakespeare, please point him in my direction.
Stay calm out there writers.