Jaunty Post

I’m starting on my new year’s resolutions early this year. Instead of doing the usual get-health and lose-weight that are always on my list, I’m aiming for a goal that’s more personal. I want to be more gracious, more forgiving, less bitter and resentful.

I know those sound like grand and sweeping goals, but really, I want all of those things in relation to how I feel about other writers. It’s confession time now. I struggle with professional jealous. Big time.

It’s not with the people I know well. With my close friends it’s different. I know and love them. I could never be jealous of their successes. (I am occasionally jealous of their talents, but that’s a different, less ugly kind of jealousy. I can live with that, because it makes me strive harder.) It’s the people I know only slightly or not all, of whom I’m jealous. And it’s that nasty, seething kind of jealous. I’m particularly bad when it’s someone who’s slighted me in some way or made me feel insignificant. For the sake of this blog, we’ll call lump them all together and call them  Wanda Writers. Though the truth is, they’re not all writers, there’s a blogger and an editor thrown into the mix. Every time I hear about a success of theirs I get all worked up.

And why? It doesn’t do me any good. My anger and jealousy doesn’t affect them. It only affects me. So why do I hold on it?

This is what I’ve been wrestling with lately. Recently I resolved to try to be more at peace with own place on the writer’s totem pole. To try to banish the idea of there even being a writer’s totem pole. Or if there is one, to stop caring where I am on it. I’ve been mulling this over and had decided I just wasn’t going to let it bother me anymore.

Wouldn’t you know it, the day I decided this–the very same day!–I happen to see a less than stellar review on a well-regarded website. And I find out that that same website just loves Wanda Writer’s new book. They are gush, gush, gushing over Wanda Writer. Again. Did I mention this was all in the same day?

Needless to say, this was a heavy blow to my newly pledged zen-like acceptance. Frankly, I wanted to have a hissy fit. I mean, what crappy luck! How was I supposed to be zen when the universe was rubbing my nose in Wanda Writer’s success?

Then I paused, took a deep breath (to channel my yoga teacher), and decided to look at it another way. Maybe the universe wasn’t rubbing my nose in it. Maybe the universe was providing me with an opportunity to grow. To prove to myself that I really could do this.

So there we are. It’s a month before the New Year and I’m starting to make some progress.

Now, I’ve confessed my dirty secret. I’ve shared a pretty ugly side of myself. Do you ever feel that way too?


18 thoughts on “My green-eyed monster

  1. Shana Shana says:

    Absolutely! I do feel this way. There is always someone who doesn’t “deserve” their success. And, like you said, it’s not someone I know well because then I’d probably know how hard they work and how much they do deserve their success. But let’s not be reasonable here! There is always someone, and it’s hard 1) not to gloat when they get a bad review or put out a book that doesn’t do so well and 2) not to seethe when they get a good one or hit a list, etc. For the most part, though, I am so busy that I don’t even think about this stuff. It’s usually around conference time that the jealousy strikes, so maybe this year while I’m packing I should try to gear up and not succumb.

  2. EmilyMcKay says:

    Yes, Shana, around conference is especially bad, particularly when I run into Wanda Writer. Because then, it’s like, “Oh, great, here you are again. And you don’t even know who I am. Even though we had dinner together. Last night.”

    No, wait. I’m being zen now. I have to let this go.

  3. Connie Fischer says:

    I think that the more an author puts herself “out there” in blogs and writer’s conferences, the better known they become. When a reader is unfamiliar with an author and their novels and then start seeing that person in more and more places, they become intrigued by their work and want to read their novels. Oh wait, that’s probably me I’m talking about. 😉 It has to be very normal to experience jealously in this arena. Getting past one reader’s blah review can be very hard. I am a firm believer in every novel has merit. There have been some that don’t necessarily grab and keep my attention which can actually be my fault. Maybe I’m worried about something and can’t concentrate on anything. That should not reflect on an author’s work. When I review at novel, I highlight the good things about the novel. If I found a thing or two that didn’t really appeal to ME, I don’t mention it because it might be something that another reader would love. So, try to fluff off any jealously because there are TONS of readers out there and I’m betting you have more admirers than you realize! Count me in on that, Emily! 😀

  4. EmilyMcKay says:

    Ah, thank you, Connie! You’re the best!!!
    And, yes, I try not to give bad reviews too. Partly because, as an author, I feel like that’s just bad mojo. But also because I know *every* book, *some one* worked hard on. And there are things that I hate that other people love, love, love. There’s a very popular author whose books I hate, but she has tons of devoted fans. So clearly her books have merit. It’s just so personal.

    1. Connie Fischer says:

      You are quite right! I know of a very popular author who writes nice books, but they’re a bit like eating popcorn – one is just like the other. However, I would never say the name of this author because that would just be wrong. It’s great that authors are all different otherwise reading would become boring. Something for everyone.

      Keep on doing YOUR thing and don’t feel the need to be someone you are not.

  5. CateS says:

    Everyone’s taste is unique and has different twists.. And remember how likely it is that not ‘everyone’ has taken the opportunity to read something of yours.
    Remember your parental units talking about ‘everyone’ and ‘no one’ and ‘I don’t know’ living at your house?

    1. EmilyMcKay says:

      Lol, Cate! Yes, I just need to remember what my parents taught me!

  6. Emily, I feel your pain! I constantly have to remind myself that I’ve done my best, and that’s all I can do, and what’s out of my control is simply not worth fretting over. Sounds good, right? It works. Sometimes. 😉

  7. EmilyMcKay says:

    Ah, Kristan … yes, sometimes it works. 🙂
    I just have to continue appreciating the challenges the universe presents me with, right?

  8. Gayle C says:

    Let us pretend that Wanda Writer has short term memory loss, poor facial recognition and lacks basic social skills. I think every time you see her or read about her, immediately feel sorry for her, and that should fix the envy. Maybe?

    1. EmilyMcKay says:

      Lol, Gayle! Yes, you may totally be right about Wanda Writer! From now on, I will assume this. I will assume that all of those qualities make conferences cripplingly difficult for her and (due to her poor social skills) she copes very badly. Envy is now gone!

  9. Kathleen O says:

    Could not agree with your more about those resolutions. I know that I have to let some things go, espcially within the family…
    Thanks for bringing things in to prespective.

    1. EmilyMcKay says:

      Oh, yeah, Kathleen, the family resentments can the worst! I constantly struggle to get over those too. It’s a different kind of resentment, because it’s more personal. Probably harder to let go of. Maybe I’ll work on those next year. 🙂

  10. RobynDeHart RobynDeHart says:

    My dad always had a bit of great advice for this very thing and I try to remember that when the envy monster rears its ugly head. He said, you can’t want something that someone else has without being willing to have their entire life and that includes all the icky stuff that no one knows about. It puts things in perspective b/c you never know what someone struggles with. That author that seems so successful might be dealing with cancer or a sick child or a cheating spouse. It is hard though.

    1. EmilyMcKay says:

      Yes, Robyn that’s very wise. I do need to remember that.

  11. Lorelei says:

    As a reader, I have to say I’m grateful authors don’t write the same way, that you each have your own style.
    Also, while some Wanda Writers get great reviews, some with merit and others not, I think media and exposure has a lot to do with it, and how they communicate with fans and peers. I’ve met some newbie authors and think their books are so much better than of those that sell millions. It has to do with everyone’s tastes. Also, there are tons of people that don’t express their likes through social medias, or even on sites like amazon, so it’s hard for some authors to really know if they are liked, like the Wanda Writers. But some don’t know how to handle success and seem to rub in peoples faces, as you say. I think this is not only an issue in the writing world, but in every field. Some professionals are more obnoxious than others and I feel we need to just focus more on our strengths and learn from others. As we grow wiser 😉 we tend to learn to accept this, I think. But I know it can be annoying. This at the same time is what makes us want to be better, too.
    I’m so happy to have met you and think you’re wonderful! My little secret is that I wish I could write like authors. Since I can’t, I’ll help others find you and hope they enjoy your work, as well as the other gals her at JQ! 🙂 I agree with what the other gals have shared, too. Wise words 😉

  12. EmilyMcKay says:

    Oh, Lorelei, thanks! Thank you for your kind words and for pointing out that this isn’t exclusive to this field. You’re totally right. This is something I would deal with no matter what.
    And what you said about being older and wiser … yes, I agree. And I turned 41 this year. It’s time to let as much of the pettiness go as I can.

  13. MJ says:

    I know JUST what you mean. I think Robyn’s dad has the best advice and I try to remember that, I do. But sometimes it’s hard.

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