Today’s Ask Em is all about professional jealousy. Are you a green-eyed author? (my eyes are actually green, but that’s beside the point)
I’ll start with an inspirational idea:
Happiness isn’t about what you don’t have. It’s about being thankful for the things you do have.
When you were a teenager, you might have coveted a friend’s wardrobe. She might have looked like a fashion queen and had all the boys trailing after her. But was she any happier in those clothes? Most likely she was driven to reach for her idea of beauty and popularity and wasn’t a bit happier for all those Calvin Kleins and expensive shoes.
As authors, most of us have been bitten by the jealousy bug. We read forums where authors make 6 figures or have 231 5-star reviews on Goodreads. So naturally we believe they’re better writers. Of course this isn’t always the case. You might be an excellent writer who doesn’t have the readership–yet.
Sometimes it’s hard to remember why we’re writing. When I start hating on those who might sell better than I do, I try to step back and remind myself why I write.
I write because I adore it. I can’t go a day without it, like it’s some kind of drug. I write because I want to share what’s in my head with other people, even if only 10 people were to buy my book.
And another fabulous benefit of my career is being here for my kids, watching their joys and triumphs and hugging them when they’ve had a bad day (and maybe dispensing chocolate).
One thing to remember when you hear that someone is “selling well”, is that their perception of selling well and yours might be on opposite ends of the world. It’s like looking into a fun house mirror. You look like a midget, your face all distorted. But you don’t look that way.
Well, in most cases neither do the other authors’ accomplishments. You’re picturing that awesome wardrobe of the most popular student and forgetting that underneath the facade she might have a very unhappy home life or a sick family member.
When I get a case of the green-eyed author, I try to remember where I started and why. I think about how far I’ve come and where I want to be. I’ll get there because I’m determined, while a lot of people will drop out of the game when the going gets tough.
Try to compete only with yourself. If someone is really annoying you, block their news or send their newsletter to spam. No one is going to know. And try to take that jealousy as a cue to slow down and give thanks for everything you have.