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Writer on the Verge

May 11, 2007 by in category Writer on the Verge tagged as with 2 and 0

The Seven Deadly Sins, Part One: Envy

Don’t you just hate those stories about some new author who sold her book on a two-sentence pitch and she did it within, like, two days of signing with a fabulous agent, and she got some amazingly huge advance?

Ugh!

Okay, maybe you don’t hate those stories, but seriously, don’t you hate those people? Come on, tell the truth, you hate them! They suck!! They just got lucky and it should’ve been you!!

Okay, maybe you don’t hate them, exactly. Oh wait, of course you don’t hate them, because uh-oh, that very thing happened to your best friend. Oops. Which means you’re really, really happy for her, right? Of course you are! She’s your best friend and she’s worked really hard and she’s really talented and you love her and only want the very best for her! Right?

Ri-i-i-ight.

Just admit it. There’s an eensy little part of you that’s pouting and stomping your foot, right? Right? Come on, admit it!

Because it’s so not fair! You’ve been working your butt off for years and your work is really good, so why didn’t it happen to you? Come on, say it with me: Why do good things happen to everyone else but me?????

Jeez, don’t you feel whiny?

And don’t you love that I’m talking about you and not me? Well, yeah, because I would never feel that way. Ever! But if I did—which I never would, but if I did—hmm, what would I do? What would you do?

Well, lucky for you, I’ve actually thought about this—in theoretical terms only, of course. So how do you deal with that horrible envy you feel when good things happen to other people? It’s not easy but here are two suggestions.

1. Fake it. “Act as if” you’re happy for them. Slap a smile on your face and wish your lucky friend well, and try to mean it, and eventually that uncomfortable twinge of happiness will sink in and grow and stay. If it doesn’t, if you’re determined to play the victim, or the angry writer, or the bitter pain in the butt every time you’re around your more fortunate friend, then you need more help than this perky little blog entry can provide. Seek professional help.

2. Get ready for it to happen to you. Write every day. Show up. Be a good friend to other writers. Learn about the publishing business. Read. Take every opportunity to get your work in front of the right people. Take risks with your writing. And truly enjoy your friends’ successes. Hey, maybe they’ll bring you in on their next best-selling anthology. It could happen! And suddenly that person everyone else envies will be you!

Kate Carlisle is a Golden Heart Winner and American Title III finalist who writes Romance, Mystery, and Young Adult fiction.

2 Comments

  • Anonymous
    on May 14, 2007

    When I feel that choking sense of envy, I breathe in and let myself feel it. If anything, I can use it for my writing. But then when I exhale, I ask to feel grateful for what I have.

    Sometimes when I’m really in a funk, I make myself write five things that I’m grateful for at the end of each day. Before I know it, I feel much better!

    Mary C.

  • Anonymous
    on May 11, 2007

    That’s great advice, Kate! It is hard to stand there and smile without feeling the twinges of badness.

    Everybody does. The trick is to let the badness go, because when it happens to you, you’ll want to enjoy it guilt free…

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