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How To Handle Writer Jealousy

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by Chessie2, Apr 22, 2018.

  1. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

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  2. Yora

    Yora Maester

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    And the entire time, the only thing I can think of is that it's entirely talking about envy.
     
  3. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

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    Does it matter?
     
  4. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    Good stuff.
    The intro here got me thinking about the thread recently about "hating authors who just write to make money" which is kind of the result of what's described here.

    I posted a silly picture of Yoda and his quote about "hate leads to anger" and whatnot. It was a bit silly, but there's a truth to it too. If you go around being jealous/envious/hateful against other is only going to ruin things for yourself. It's a waste of energy and effort. It supports an incorrect image of others as being inferior to you because of what they do, and in the same way it supports an incorrect image of yourself as being superior for not doing what those other "bad" people do.
    That's going to end up leading to even more disappointment and even more jealousy.
     
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  5. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    I only get jealous of writers I can do absolutely nothing about. I'm jealous of Isaac Asimov for writing over 200 books. I'm jealous of Ray Bradbury for being published by age fifteen. And for writing beautiful prose. I'm jealous of Joseph Conrad for leading the perfect writer's life.

    But it's not really jealousy. Or envy. It's stunned admiration.

    As for how much money writers make, that doesn't interest me at all. Getting to the big leagues (sports, the arts, you name it) is the result of so complex a cocktail of skill and luck, you'll go crazy trying to figure it out. All that time you spend trying to figure it out, all the time you spend thinking about the unworthy hacks who are living on easy street, that's all time you could have spent writing.
     
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  6. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    Jealousy is a waste of energy, for me... I am the bull happy to eat the grass on my side of the fence. Except warmer weather... I do want to be on the side of the fence with warmer weather (can you tell I’m thinking of moving? LOL) Now, if you include competitiveness in with jealousy, I get that... but I’m most competitive with myself. I used to play darts, and even when destroying the other team, I’d get pissed at myself... even my teammates were freaked out by it, LOL. And I never got ticked when other people stunk it up... just me. When I got my ass kicked, and I played well, I had no problem with it, heh heh.

    Of course, some folks will be fueled by jealousy, it can provide motivation... in which case, more power to you. Aspiration, inspiration, motivation... it doesn’t matter how you get it, just get it.

    Another issue is people overestimate their own ability and while underestiamting another’s. It’s great fun to give 50 Shades shit, the writing is atrocious, but somewhere in that atrocious slathering of crap was something that connected with the readership in an amazing way. Super Hero movies are in that “moment” of connection with audiences (with hits and misses). Harry Potter sucks IMO, but I’m not jealous, because I understand that Rowling nailed her target audience with a ball-peen hammer... which is beautiful, because it actually expands the fantasy market.
     
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  7. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

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    I have never read Harry Potter. My son likes those cat fantasy books (actually, he has now outgrown them because he's 10 going on 30 ha). But I do have mad respect for J.K. Rowling because she wrote her butt off for all those years until she made it. The same with E.L. James and any author who pursues their passion to the very limit. These are the writers I respect regardless of how great or not their prose is. As I've said many times on here, writing is not about prose. Writing is about story. But I do agree with the concept that we tend to be jealous of authors who are at our level and not so much the Rowlings and James-s of the world.

    For me it's been more of a mystery seeing authors literally spring up out of nowhere with no backlist or track record of having written in the first place. I have seen authors who have written only one book become Amazon best sellers (with the first book they have ever written, not the first book they have ever published). All of this, however, speaks to the way of the world. Ever since we were kids we've said that nothing is fair!

    I more posted this because it's been on my mind lately. Jealousy isn't healthy imo and I don't understand how it can fuel some people. If anything, I have learned it's best to focus on my own work/writing career and the little things happening lately that are fruit of this work.
     
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  8. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    Jealousy is great, because it tells you that it's not your fault that you're not succeeding. It puts the blame of your (perceived) failure on someone else, and it's not even a failure, because that other hack just got lucky, and you've been unlucky and have to work for it like no other.

    And so on and so on, etc...

    It's not right, but it's an easy trap to fall into.
     
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  9. pmmg

    pmmg Auror

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    Man, I wish I had grass...
     
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  10. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    Everyone gets jealous a bit, but I think we each have a few vices that appeal to us stronger than the others. For me jealousy has been a minor part of my life. My wife struggles with it a bit more frequently. I could see how somebody who struggles with it a lot would need to find a healthier outlet for processing it, like fueling competition and striving to beat others.

    One of the key elements of jealousy is this notion that the other person hasn't earned the right to do better, or that you've earned it more and have been unfairly held back. Sometimes it's true - life isn't always fair - but sometimes it can help to learn more about what the other person has put into their success and do a little self-reflection.
     
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  11. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    I don't understand how to be jealous of another writer. I can't possibly do what they do. They cannot possibly do what I do. That's the nature of art.

    As others have said, it's such a waste of time and emotional capital to be jealous. That said, I'm pretty sure that jealously, like most emotions, is not something that can be rationed by reason. Telling someone not to be jealous is like telling them not to be sad or not to fall in love. The heart has its own seasons.
     
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  12. pmmg

    pmmg Auror

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    I am not really the jealous type, but I have known a few over the years. This article, I think, resonates with me more along the lines of a type of self disappointment, cause I see so many others who produce so much stuff, and I am just too slow to get my own body of work out there. But you know, no bodies journey is the same.
     
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  13. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Auror

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    I am a competitive person, nevertheless, I cheer on those authors I know who do well. It's sort of a challenge for me to do better.

    Yes, there is a little luck involved, along with choices--what genre to write in, what stories to tell, what publishing path to take. I think marketing has a little luck involved, along with studied, well-timed, and sometimes innovative efforts.

    Getting jealous? Not really with me. Envy, not so much.

    I look at myself, and my level of success this far. There are tons of writers who've done better, many far better...but tons who have not yet had their works find as many readers as my works have. There will always be someone who does better. I could always work harder.

    Actually, I cheer on folks on forums such as here at Mythic Scribes, who have successes, whose writing careers have take off.

    The thing is, if they sell two or three books, that doesn't mean I will sell fewer books. Even at conventions or writer events, like in an 'Author's Alley.'
    There are those authors that cooperate, and suggest to a reader who comes by their table (instead of the hard sell, that is more likely to annoy and drive off a potential reader (and even if they do get the book, the odds are low that they'll actually read it), through discussion discovers what the reader enjoys and directs them to a nearby author who writes what the reader enjoys. No real loss, but a benefit to the other author. Let's face it, someone else praising or suggesting a novel, is far more effective than an author touting their own books.

    Okay, that was off topic a bit.

    Really, writers here sharing ideas, critting works, things like that, are the opposite of jealousy. Sharing knowledge and opinions to help others along. I think that's great. The opposite of envy and jealousy.
     
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  14. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    Yeah I'm not competitive with writing, it's not a zero sum, winner takes all battle to the death... like a dart match! Or billiards.

    Now, if I ever had writing nominated for an award, I might get a little touchy about losing... was it Potter that beat Thrones for some Fantasy award, and Martin was aggravated by that? I could understand aggravation at being beaten by a YA, but if you're getting beaten by books that sell like Rowling's did... well, shit happens. LOL.
     
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  15. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

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    But at the end of the day can you say that you are proud of your work? Are you proud of the message(s) you send your audience? Are you proud of your persistence, hard work and determination? What about your connection with readers? Nothing brightens my day more than when I receive fan mail (I got one just a few days ago and it was awesome). These are the things that make it worthwhile. Yeah, many of us want to live off our writing and coast along but that's super unrealistic given that most authors don't ever make enough from their work. So there has to be something else in this that keeps you going. Money isn't everything.
     
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  16. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    This depends on defining pride... as a deadly sin, it is excessive admiration... Only asshats don't love my book!... So, I tend to think of it as I love my book.

    We've got two deadly sins down, what next? heh heh.
     
  17. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    Confusing their, there, and they're.
     
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  18. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I answered earlier, but after reading all the answers again, I wanted to add something.

    I get jealous. Absolutely. I hear about somebody's success, I feel jealous for about forty seconds, I wish them my sincere congratulations, and I move on, for the most part.

    I won't question or challenge what anyone else feels or ponder the question of "how jealous is jealous?" But there's a pattern when it comes to jealousy that nobody wants to ever admit it. It's a dangerous human emotion, but it's still human and normal, and as such, it's unhealthy to bottle it up. If I told somebody I won the lottery, I would trust the person who went "Ohh, I'm so jealous!" a lot more than the one who says, "Good for you. I'm totally fine with that. There's a lot of luck involved." Luck, skill, connections, whatever - none of that means you can't be a little jealous.

    It's healthier, I think, to deal with your jealousy, instead of feeding it. That isn't meant to be a dig at anybody though, as I recognize that talking about luck, skill and connections is absolutely one way of dealing with it. I just want to challenge the pattern of total denial because it doesn't feel to me like it captures the full reality of the subject.


    GRRM's jealousy and frustration wasn't about skill. Rowling isn't a fan of the fantasy genre and sometimes talks about it in a way that makes some fantasy writers feel put down (nothing really serious though). GRRM on the other hand is a lifelong fan of the genre.
     
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  19. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    I don't think it's an argument about skill, it's recognition, maybe. I never paid attention to a single thing Rowling said, barely Martin except for his books, so that is an excellent tidbit! Funny that someone famous for writing YA makes others feel put down...
     
  20. Yora

    Yora Maester

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    To say "I want that too" is not a bad thing. It's when you develop contempt for people because of what they have that things go in a bad direction.

    Wait... A famous fantasy writer who got rich by writing fantasy is regulary badmouthing fantasy? How does that happen?!
     
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