I’m posting a day early for Alex J. Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group held on the first Wednesday of every month. I don’t personally have anything to complain about, but I have noticed something in the blogosphere lately and I was wondering what you all thought about it.
Last week, agent Rachelle Gardner wrote a post called Watch Out for the Green Eyed Monster where she discusses jealousy among writers. She even expressed how she was envious when an agent friend of hers recently completed a great deal. She was happy for her, of course, but she was also the tiniest bit jealous.
I’ve met a great many writers here on Blogger, Wordpress, and other sources. Most of them are like me. They’ve written or are writing a novel and all that that encompasses, and they’re hoping and dreaming and even struggling to find and land that perfect agent, someone who believes in their writing, their project, and their beloved characters. But there are quite a few who have recently bagged that elusive agent. Even some who have secured a publishing contract or might be on their second or third book.
Often, these writers make their incredible announcements via their blogs or Twitter, sharing their excitement at achieving their dream. Most of their followers comment, expressing their joy and pride. But as time wears on, some writers notice a lag in their comments. Some writers have blogged about how they receive nasty emails from people, often other writers who are consumed with envy.
NatalieWhipple at Between Fact and Fiction has struggled for many, many years, writing something like 9 or 10 novels. A few years ago, Natalie managed to snag former agent-superstar Nathan Bransford only to lose him when he retired from agenting and the publishing business. She landed on her feet though and acquired another agent. After enduring something like 15 months on submission, Natalie and her agent finally gave up that particular book, but Natalie had another which was eventually scooped up by a publisher, and she was even given an option for a second book. She is currently awaiting publication sometime in 2013. Oh happy day, right? Yeah, not so much.
Natalie has posted several times about how people were not always so happy for her success. Apparently, there were quite a few who sent vicious emails, something I cannot understand myself because Natalie is just about the sweetest, kindest, most generous blogger out there, and she has shared every up and down along the way, of which there have been many. I read a comment once that said writers who reach their dream no longer post about their struggles and therefore all the tension is removed from their blog. I guess I can see his point, but this is not the case with Natalie. She still posts about her struggles. So what’s with all the jealousy?
It’s not like the other writers are taking a spot that we could have had for ourselves. Each of our novels are so different, so unique. I understand it’s hard not to want what they have, to achieve the same dream, but to be angry or jealous? That I don’t get. When I read about another writer landing an agent, sure, I say, “Boy, I wish that could be me,” but I also say, “See, there is hope.” Because that is exactly what it gives me: hope, that I might achieve the same thing someday.
Of course, it all does depend on the attitude of the writer. There is one particular writer whom many of us know. We’ve seen her query up on QueryShark, her first page up on Suzie Townsend’s First Page Shooter. She had several offers and had her pick of agents, even got a book deal a few weeks later. That’s every writer’s dream. But this gal also has an abundance of self-worth, perhaps caused by all the attention. But she hasn’t missed the opportunity to belittle other writers and their work on a certain popular blog, offering her opinion at their expense. She still blogs from time to time, but she gets almost no comments any more. She’s lost her following just when she needs it most. I guess I can understand that a little, but still, writing is a relatively small community, and we are all greatly connected, so tearing someone down because of their success is like burning a bridge directly into the community in which you dream to be a part of.
So what do you think? Is it difficult to see your friends and colleagues reach milestones before you do? Or do you think of it as proof that all the hard work is worth it, that you can get there, too? Does it give you hope or dash your dreams?