Front Page, Musings

Weekly Musing: Jealous Much?

An interesting blog topic I found suggested talking about whose writing career you are most jealous of. Provocative and in my opinion, if handled correctly can come across as more inspirational rather than full of green-eyed envy. The topic certainly got me thinking. There are certainly authors whom I’m inspired by, but that’s from a prose standpoint rather than their careers. In that respect then yes, I admit to being jealous. As a reader I respond to authors who paint a beautiful, emotional picture and give me a story full of unique, interesting characters. As a writer, I’m jealous of authors who are able to paint a beautiful, emotional picture within a story full of unique, interesting characters.

But is there one author whose career I’m jealous of? After much consideration the answer is no one’s. Sure there are authors whose level of success and income level I’d like to achieve even a tenth of, but do I envy them in the dictionary definition? No.

I have a few reasons for this. The first is it’s not a natural part of my personality to be jealous of people. Am I envious of the seemingly easy way some are able to write without the tremendous amount of effort and numerous drafts I have to go through? Hell, yeah. I’d love to be as quick as them. Yet though I’m envious, I’ve learned each writer works at his or her own pace. Truly there is no one correct path to success.

Another reason is because so much of publishing is luck that it doesn’t make sense to be jealous. Every author has been rejected, waited for that one publisher or agent to take a chance on him or her. Many well-known authors have even changed publishers for one reason or another after becoming A BIG DEAL. Due to the cyclical nature of the business, a manuscript rejected today may very well be picked up in a few years. Or with the proliferation of self-publishing an author could take a chance and publish their book themselves and see what happens. A lot of it comes down to being at the right place at the right time.

Finally, my last reason is once I began writing more actively, I began to understand the amount of work that goes into each story. Even bad stories take a lot of time. If anything, most authors never come close to earning enough for the hundreds, possibly thousands of hours of work they put in. In fact, most authors do not make the kind of money J.K. Rowling, Stephen King,  E.L. James, Ken Follett, or other very well-known authors do. They are the exception rather than the rule. Realizing this early on I think lessens the need to be jealous of another author’s career.

Instead of being jealous, remember success didn’t come easily or overnight no matter how out of nowhere it seems. Far too often we don’t hear about the work that was put in. More than likely it’s the same amount of work you currently are putting into your career. Unfortunately, there are so many uncontrollable factors which go into success it is easy to become jealous. It may seem like they had it easy or didn’t receive as many rejections, but they still struggled and lamented their luck. As much as you can, turn that jealousy into fuel for inspiration. Jealousy is normal, we are all humans, but do not let it prevent you from working toward your dreams.