February has been a great month for my little writer’s group. A publishing company just offered our romance writer a contract, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.
A close friend warned me that once I was published, my life would change…and not necessarily for the better. “You’ll find out who your friends are,” he said ominously, intimating that many of my writing pals would not be comfortable with my success.
I didn’t want to believe it, but–even without selling a novel– I’ve already experienced a small amount of this. After landing an agent, I was suddenly persona non grata at a little gathering of writers, as one of my colleagues thought I should find a group that was more “on my level”. I was stunned, and hurt. When I first ventured into the corporate world, I was introduced to everyone on my first day as a “well-known journalist”. Many of my new co-workers told me they had seen my byline in various magazines. The more compliments I received, the more I could feel tension brewing between myself and the woman who held a similar position in the company. By the end of the day, the damage was done–she hated my guts, and did everything she could to make my life miserable.
I don’t get it.
One of the things I want most in the world is to be a published author–to make my living writing fiction, and I still feel nothing but joy at my friend’s success. She has been offered a contract, which is not only a tribute to her hard work and talent, but also a sign of hope. If you see someone you know offered a publishing deal, you have tangible proof that this happens–that being a novelist is still an attainable dream. Knowing something on an intellectual level, because you believe that it is true, and witnessing it happen to someone you know are two very different things.
Everyone in my writing group dreams of being a full-time writer. We all have different ways of going about it, but that’s the common goal–that’s why we’re there. So I can’t imagine feeling anything but happy when one (or more) of us achieves that dream. I believe we will all achieve it–it’s just a matter of when, and who happens to be next in line. But if I wasn’t writing myself, if I wasn’t happily ensconced in my rewrites of Dragonfly Summer, maybe it would be different. Maybe I’d have more time to cultivate this “jealousy” thing. I’m glad I’m too busy.
How about you, Dear Readers? Have you ever been the victim of the green-eyed monster? Or felt that way yourself?
Sending big congrats to Dee-Dee, who deserves this success more than anyone I know. You’ve worked hard for this–enjoy it!
Holli – what a great post! And Congratulations to your friend. A good friend who is a writer has her book coming out in October, and I’ve been madly cheering for her. It’s crazy to some but when I cheer and support the success of another writer (or artist, poet, musician, farmer, parent, friend) I am also cheering for myself. It feels too good not to share.
I’ve been blessed to not feel jealous, and have never felt the urge to say to someone “must be nice” having heard it so very often.
However, jealousy and strange competitive desires have been aimed at me, sometimes from the very place you expect love and support. So strange. I feel I’m back in my poetry groove and with my other writing it is starting to work well. Have a series of articles coming out in a farm magazine in March which I’m very proud of.
I believe we need to be encouragers, even if we don’t get it back in kind, because everyone deserves a cheering section! 😀
My sister has had to endure attacks as a well-known author within her genre. While her work is able to reach more people via the internet, it also leaves her exposed to many trolls who seem to take perverse pleasure in ripping someone to shreds.It can be very disheartening.
People can be awful, eh? 🙁
Like you, I feel nothing but happiness for people’s successes (be they publication, a promotion, or some other long-striven for goal)–and find bearing witness to others’ good fortune very motivating and encouraging.
Upon hearing good news, however, I do sometimes feel impatience. It’s happened to her, yay! When will it be my turn? I try not to ever even say that though to people who are celebrating, because I don’t want to taint their happiness or make them worry that I’m going to be insecure and weird (cause I won’t be–any weirder than my normal, anyway).
Congratulate your friend Dee-Dee for me!
This is a sad but all too true look at something that is rampant where I live (Down Under). Tall Poppy Syndrome. In counseling courses here, I have heard it described as one of our Aussie failings (along with Absent Father Syndrome ie walkabout, and rejection of authority ie Waltzing Matilda). The really sad thing to me, personally, is that I am so used to being ‘cut down to size’ that I automatically find myself apologising for my children’s achievements and abilities too. We have just moved the children to a new school and the new Deputy (who is head of my kids’ year groups) has opened my eyes to this. His words (about my 7 year old son, who is exceptionally gifted in mathematics) were: “As his teachers, we have the opportunity and responsibility to see this young man reach his God-given potential. God has given him some very special gifts and we can’t wait to see what He has planned for those – let’s do our part to prepare him for what God has planned.” THAT is an attitude that in 3 years of schooling we have NEVER come across before. But, and this is my point really, by having that attitude, we feel free to encourage our son to reach for the stars, celebrating his successes AND teaching him to celebrate the successes of others. What a world this would be if we all were free to reach our potential in all areas, and were confident enough in who we are, and what our worth is, to be able to encourage and celebrate every other person’s success in reaching towards their potentials. Not only would it be a world full of love and joy, but think of the intellectual, creative, athletic, etc etc beauty and vibrancy that this world would be filled with!!!
You really hit something with your post – saddened, challenged, encouraged, and ultimately got me excited about this!! And that, my friend, is a gift indeed. 🙂 Thank you. xx
Sorry – I got a bit distracted. I also wanted to say how excited I am for your friend Dee-Dee, that her hard work has paid off with this wonderful opportunity!! Also, thank you for *your* encouragement and enthusiasm – your posts often hit home with me. I think you have a wonderful future too – and hope that you get a similar opportunity to publish soon – you certainly deserve it. 🙂 Keep at it – because you definitely have things worth saying, and worth hearing. 🙂
Thanks for your comments. They mean the world to me.
@ MM – That’s great news about your writing and creative energy. I will check out the links you sent me very soon. You can count me as part of your cheering section.
@ Claudine – I have heard about nasty online reviewers, and it makes me very nervous, since I’m sensitive to that kind of meanness. I almost shut down this blog because of one particularly nasty troll. I hope your sister is able to ignore it all, because they’re really just jealous cowards.
@ Ev – Welcome back! It’s so nice to hear from you. And I know what you mean…I did feel that same sense of impatience when everyone on my writer’s forums was experiencing so much more success. With Dee-Dee, however, I could never feel that way, because I *know* she has worked so much harder than I have. She is always submitting, always writing, and has at least seven projects on the go at any one time. So, all I feel is happy and, if anything, a “what took them so long?”
@ Zoe – Wow, what wonderful comments. Thank you for sharing your experience. It is always fascinating to hear about life in another country, particularly Australia, because I’ve considered moving there.
I hope you are able to inspire and believe in both yourself, and your son. Thanks so much for your kind words and encouragement. I hope to hear from you again!
Thanks, Holli! And thanks to your readers. You’ve been nothing but supportive for all the time – wow, what is it? 9 years? – we’ve been writing together.
It’s funny because although we both want to write for a living, we still have quite different goals- different genres, different publishing types (Go digital! for me). But even if we were in direct competition I think that we would still be thrilled for each other’s success.
Hurry up with your rewrites. You’re next! 🙂
Thanks so much, Dee-Dee. I love you and am so, so happy for you. It has been wonderful to watch you achieve your dreams. You have never given up, ever. That’s so inspiring.
I am sure I would be happy for you even if you landed a million-dollar deal with my dream publisher (whoever that is). But I may ask you for an introduction! 🙂
Thanks for the kind words. Keep on writing. I plan to work for four hours on the rewrites today. Go, Sparkling Werewolves!