It’s been awhile and before we get into the meat of this post, some housekeeping.
My calendar has been updated with the shows I will be attending in the future:
- CT HorrorFest – September 23-24, 2023
- CAPA Book Festival – October 7th, 2023, 11AM to 4PM
- AuthorCon III – April 12-14, 2024
- TBR Con – September 5-8, 2024
Now onto the main topic, Professional Jealousy.
I’ve heard many counsel to avoid professional jealousy towards your fellow writers. However, we are human beings and when you see someone achieve a goal you’ve been working at, you can’t help but get a little annoyed and jealous of them. That isn’t to say you can’t also be incredibly happy for them at the same time.
Professional jealousy isn’t a bad thing. It can be a strong motivator. Personally, there are several writers and friends I am insanely envious of. At the same time, I celebrate and champion their accomplishments as if they were my own. I offer to help, promote, and support every one of my friends because regardless of my moment of jealousy, I am unabashedly proud to know them and to be able to point to their accomplishments.
A perfect example is my good friend, Heather Straub. We write in totally different genres, yet we also compliment each other by filling in the gaps of each other’s strengths, weaknesses, and blind spots. Heather is a wonderful editor and writer who juggles a family, a budding fiction career, and writes blog posts for various outlets which provide her with a steady income. She is a true working writer and I couldn’t be more proud of her. I also envy her steady income and command of grammar. I want it.
She is my best friend and I do whatever I can to boost her abilities and thank her for all that she’s done for me. That doesn’t mean that if she gets an agent or a giant book deal before me, I won’t be jealous as hell. I will. But, I’ll also be there to support her every step of the way in the same way she promoted my first novel and still offers to beta read my work. As we each find success, we learn lessons and work together to ensure the other doesn’t make a similar mistake.
Jealousy isn’t a problem until you allow that emotion to become malignant and you start to hate or denigrate someone for their successes and revel in their failures. There are several writers over many years who have allowed an over-inflated sense of ego and skill torpedo their careers because they refused to consider their faults or recognize the strengths of others. They blamed everyone else for their failures and accuse secret cabals of holding them back.
While skill gets one far within this business, luck applies to many breakout moments as well. We, as writers, practice a craft and art, we are still part of business that requires money to sustain itself. We are all struggling to find an audience and build on that with each project. There’s no rule we can’t share our readers, so boost up the thing you enjoy and try to expand not only your reader’s tastes, but the overall reading public as well.
I started out as a strictly fantasy reader, specifically DragonLance. Over the years, I read interviews by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman where they mentioned loving the works of contemporary fiction writers outside of fantasy and because I gave those writers a chance, I discovered more and more works I came to love. Now, I’ll read damn near anything as long as it’s well written.
So allow yourself to be jealous, then smile and celebrate those around you who found success. Those are your friends and colleagues who will undoubtably feel the same way about you at some point while helping you along your own journey.