I can be ridiculously petty, envious, and jealous. That’s something I wish I hadn’t learned about myself in the four years since I started writing for publication. And there’s no logic to these feelings.
Why envy the sales of an author who has fifteen published novels and a well-funded marketing team? And writes in a different genre—a hot one?
Why resent an author for being the darling of certain groups when I don’t even want to join those groups?
What sense does it make to be jealous of a writer who’s had umpteen stories published in literary magazines when I never submit any of mine?
And on and on and on. A waste of energy. A pathetic self-indulgence. A comparison of apples to oranges.
In all of life, a personal sense of success depends on your perspective. Pettiness, envy, jealousy, any negative emotion, keeps you lying in the dirt looking up. All writers publish because they want to share their work with others, and we all hope many others. There’s a larger market for some genres and types of writing than for others—apples and oranges.
One problem today is that authors, even traditionally published ones, are required to be more involved in the marketing side. It’s too easy to start comparing when so many authors are online shouting out sales figures and rankings, and giving advice—You too could be a publishing phenomenon, if you follow these six easy steps! Comparison leads to dissatisfaction. We see ourselves as less successful.
Too often, I let envy and jealousy steal any sense of success from me. My perspective skews. I wrote a book that already hundreds of people have read! How can I keep forgetting that? And I’m not finished writing. Who knows what I might accomplish a year or twenty from now? In the grand scheme of my writing career, I’m just beginning.
How’s the view from your perspective?