Wednesday, April 6, 2011

E: Envy Versus Energy

Be around enough writers and you'll find some you envy for various reasons no matter how successful you are yourself.  Nearly all of us know a writer who has found more success, more books published, more money made, better agent, successful booksignings and name recognition.

I envy fellow bloggers who have large followings and always seem to have something clever to write about and get dozens of comments each day.  I wish I had half the knowledge and understanding of the murky waters of promotion using social networking as some of my fellows. 

Often I've read novels with such gripping plots and memorable characters I wish I could have written or perhaps someday can write such a book.  I envy them but I use it to inspire me.

Envy can goad us to greater effort but it can also drag a writer down.  Instead of turning creative energies to our own work we can waste time wondering, 'why not me?'  Jealousy is seldom an attractive emotion and it can slow down a writer's career if one spends time wishing instead of working to achieve the highest level of success possible.  Don't let envy drain away your energy away.

What traits do you envy in other writers? Does envy inspire you or have you suffered frustration viewing others' successes?


  1. I can get caught up in what other people are doing or what else I see out there that I think it totally ten times more brill than what I think I'm doing. I suffered a major crisis after the series Pretty Little Liars came out because I felt it made my show in my head just contrived and copycat. But I've been writing it in my head since 8th grade! I finally got over it.

    Forget about the point where one of my best friends almost got her own reality show!

    Oh the Green-Eyed Monster!

    Alex from Breakfast Every Hour was here.

  2. An interesting question that you pose. I sometimes can get caught up in feeling less prolific compared to some of my fellow blogging writers. However, I try to focus more on the "energy" that I need to get more of me on the page. I'm finding that creativity visits you and sometimes not as frequently as you like. But when it does, watch out and enjoy that ride. I really liked this post. Thank you for visiting my blog too!

  3. I may have been lucky that I had a very rough journey through life. When I see someone that is successful or thriving, there's a twinge of "I wish I was there.." but it's quickly followed with, "How did they do that?" I strive to learn from each person I meet, simply to benefit from their own wisdom and experience. When I look at things in that light, it becomes less about envy and more about opportunity... but there's still that twinge. LOL

  4. OK, OK, Sometimes when see a tireless self-promoter, I get a twinge of envy because I don't have the energy or confidence to do the same.

  5. Envy? Sure. It's hard not to sometimes, although I'm also happy to see others succeed. Unfortunately, it can lead me to chasing my tail. This person does great blogs every day - I should work more on my blogs. This person has an awesome website - I should re-do my web site. This person seems to know everyone in the business - I need to network more. This person plots, this person pants, this person does tons of research... And while I'm trying to follow everyone's path to success, you know what I'm not doing? Writing.

    Sometimes you've got to let everyone go on ahead and figure you'll get there when you get there.

  6. I admire writers whose words take my breath away and make me think, "Wow. I wish I'd written that."

    I also suffer from envy on occasion. I really love how Linda Leszczuk put it because it sums it up perfectly. I'm kind of envious of that...

    M.J. Fifield
    My Pet Blog

  7. Envy is a great topic. There's no denying it lurks in writer circles. There's little use in it, though. It's a bad waste of energy, like you said. The thing I always tell myself when I start to feel that twinge is to put my head down and just do my own time. Some days I could use a good set of blinders, though. lol.

  8. It would be strange if some envy didn't arise every now and then. I think it is just part of human nature. Luckily for me it comes and goes equally fast. Off to explore more of your blog:)

  9. I'm envious of writers who can finish a first draft in a matter of months. I'm a slow writer and terribly envious of those who can just churn out the words. Great topic!

  10. I envy writers who are done. It sounds strange, but I've spent so many years on my book that a big part of me wishes that I was finished already.

    But I refuse to let that ruin my enjoyment of the process.