Monday, May 2, 2011
The Green Eyed Monster
It's easy to be gracious...sometimes.
When a truly fantastic book hits best seller status and the author gets the kudos he/she deserves, it's easy to honestly say: "They totally deserve it. Good for them!" With a smile on our face.
Of course when it's someone you know...a fellow friend/peer...who makes it, well, we are even more excited for them. Of course! We get the whole struggle of trying to make it so when someone you know personally DOES make it--we're almost as ecstatic as they are.
Hmm...I'm sure we all like to believe we would be genuinely happy for our friends, and you know what? Most of us will be. Still, there is that chance that jealousy might rear its ugly head and you might end up smiling through the pain.
What if you and your friend(s) started writing at the same time? What if you started before them? And suddenly their book is finished--you're not even close. They send out a query--that's only a dream for you at the moment. They get an agent's attention--uh oh. They land a book deal--ummmmmmmmm
How easy will it be to feel happy for them? Not very. Not always.
I've seen and heard of friendships go down the toilet while screaming bloody murder because of jealousy. Not a pretty sight.
Let's explore this further and say a truly horrific book goes interstellar? You know the ones. Those overdone, lame, washed up plots that are so bad you want to cry every time another one pops up on the shelves while you're still struggling to get someone to notice yours. Yup, those are the ones. Gracious probably won't be our first reaction. You might want to scream. Try to resist.
It's easy to be envious...too easy.
Of course, we're only human. It's going to happen. And you know what? Fine. Jealousy is something that everyone feels, but you can't let it consume you. You can't waste your time on it. That evil, green eyed monster is blinding. It's a waste of time. It's self-destructive.
So what if that author of undead creatures feeding off the flesh of bunnies sells millions? So what if that romance where characters are in love with everyone and their mother is best seller?
I read somewhere that 'books draw the readers they deserve.'
Let me ask you this: If you were to have your name slapped on that wretched best seller about whiny teenagers who crave love in all the wrong places...would you be happy with the fans that come along with it?
It's a waste of time and energy to be jealous, even if the author is--not so great. Wasted time that could be spent writing and being happy. What good will it do to write dozens of bad reviews, or bash them, or bitch and moan about how unfair it is? How you could have written a better story with your eyes closed and no hands?
None whatsoever. Listen, if you want people to read better books THEN WRITE THEM!
Even if the author is a friend who started writing way after you and they are already on their way to publish-dom. Is there a scale of success somewhere I don't know about? If someone goes up does that automatically push you down to the bottom? If there is then I guess we're all pretty much screwed.
You only get this one life. And if you knew exactly how much/little time you really had would you waste it self loathing, being sad or angry over other people's success?
Success comes when you figure out what you want to do and then you DO it. If you are truly happy doing what you do, in this case it's writing, then anyone elses success or failures shouldn't matter to you. Nobody else can live your life and you can't live someone elses. Your life is yours. So how you choose to spend it is up to you.
Don't be petty.
If that green eyed monster comes calling--conquer it. Life is too short to be wasted. Write what you love and write with joy. Success will come.