May 05

Hey Jealousy

I hate to admit this but I’ve been feeling a little jealous of some of my fellow writers lately.

I’ve been fortunate enough to be a member of a really great critique group (you can check them out here if you want). There is some serious talent kicking around that group and I count myself lucky to have access to their thoughts about my own writing. But…and this makes me feel a little dirty…I have to admit that I cringe a little every time one of them posts a book deal. It is just a twinge. I do spend more time celebrating and buzzing on Twitter and watching all the fake confetti cannons going off but there is still that little pinch.

I remind myself that jealousy is a natural human emotion and that I’m not alone in feeling it. I mean, come on, how many musicians have written songs about being jealous? A writer friend of mine told me that she went home and cried the day that I told her I’d signed with an agent. It wasn’t that she wasn’t happy for me. It was that connection to the struggle that she’d been facing. Because, if you’re reading this and you haven’t tried to get an agent or go on submission, trust me…it’s a struggle. And when you see someone else reach out and grab that thing you’ve been stalking for so long, it can hurt. And it can feel like there might be no room at the table for you. That sucks.

Still, jealousy can be useful. Every human emotion can be. It’s kind of the point. So, I try to look at jealousy as a tool. That, in some way, it drives me forward. It keeps me reaching outward and pushing myself. So, for that, I’m grateful.

I suppose the trick is to not let jealousy become a killer. Because it can do that. Jealous rage anyone? In this case, I worry sometimes that those little bruises that jealousy leaves behind could ruin this amazing thing that I’ve got going on. Or maybe, since I’m talking to you, I wouldn’t want you to ruin whatever it is that you’ve got going on. Maybe you don’t have an agent. Or maybe you haven’t found the stamina yet to type “The End” on your first book. That’s okay. Because, while it would be wonderful to have a career as a novelist, the career part isn’t really the point, is it? My first novel I wrote for my kids. I didn’t really think about trying to get it out there into the world until it was long, since completed. I have to remember that. I didn’t do this to get a book deal. I didn’t do this to get an agent (even though I’m now lucky enough to have one). I did this because I love to write stories and make my kids laugh or shiver under their blankets. Jealousy shouldn’t change that.

So, with all of that in mind, how about a few songs to just show you that we’ve all been there…