I know a lot of writers. Some are friends, some just acquaintances, some via six degrees of separation. Professionals, amateurs; some are talented, some are not, some are still learning their craft. Some sell a gazillion books, some are pre-published. Some write fiction, some non-fiction; short works and epic tomes. Men, women, old, young, funny, scholarly, entertaining, deadly boring …. well, you get the idea.
I must make a confession. (I’d call it a public confession, but who am I kidding. Both of you reading this do not a ‘public’ make.)
For a split second — sometimes longer — when I hear of the successes of my writer peeps, I’m jealous of 99.3% of them. (The rest I simply don’t like so I don’t care about their news. Don’t judge me.)
This ugliness doesn’t last too long before I shoot them … a note — c’mon, I’m not a monster! — congratulating them on their achievement. But I can’t deny the ugliness was there, however briefly.
Recently I stared my green-eyed monster square in its slack-jawed face and tried to figure out why my emotional knee jerks in such a manner. I came up with some reasons.
1. Guilt. I’m not working as hard as I should to finish the manuscript/market/step out of my comfort zone/get better at my craft/blah, blah, blah. And they are. And hard work wins out every single time. And I’m a lazy slacker doo-doo head.
2. The unshakable belief that I’m a better writer than they are and yet — poor, pitiful me — nobody quite sees my incredible talent.
3. Or, equally appalling, the humbling idea that I’ll never be as good as they are and giving up is my only possible option.
4. I’m a terrible, terrible person.
No, I don’t really think I’m terrible. I guess I’m just human. But I do have moments of lazy slacker doo-doo head-ness. After all, I wouldn’t want anyone to be jealous of me.
What about you? Do you have pangs of jealousy? Have you figured out why?