3 Ways To Overcome Writers' Envy
What the heck is Writers' Envy you wonder or maybe you already have a nagging idea what it is. To be fair, I coined the term. But, it's pretty apt. Let me explain. The writing community is really very warm, friendly, helpful and welcoming. BUT we have writers in all the different stages of their writing careers. Agented, not agented, on submission, sold their book for a 6figure advance, stuck on submission hell for ages etc. At one point or another, pretty soon, you will know writers who were once at the same point as you but now has moved ahead.
Yeah, yeah I know we are all on our own writing journey and it's not a competition. But when your best writing bud who’s been struggling same as you for ages suddenly gets an agent or lands a publishing deal, don’t tell me you won’t feel at least a teeny twinge of envy? Don’t you go through a period where you feel like you can’t congratulate your friend as enthusiastically as you want to and that makes you feel like absolute crap for being such a horrible friend? Don’t you feel at times that you can’t bear to look at one more happy announcement of a book deal or you would burn down twitter? That my dear is what I call Writers’ Envy.
By the way, if you actually don’t feel this, you have discovered a secret power! Congrats 😊 And please don’t forget to share with me your secret.
But for the rest of us normal humans, envy is a real thing. So how do you deal with it?
Most of us CANNOT accept that we are feeling envy. I certainly couldn’t and that made it worse. In my mind, if I accepted that I was envious of other people’s writing progress then I was a bad person. This didn’t help at all. It made me feel worse.
It was only recently that I learned to accept envy as a natural feeling like anger or joy. I did that by taking some time off where I could sit alone, maybe in the toilet if I was in place with people or in a quiet spot in my room and just listen to this voice of envy. Basically, I just internally vented out my feeling of envy to myself. I didn’t censor the stuff I was thinking at that point. I allowed it. Journaling also helps. And if you have a trusted friend, you can also share with him or her or them how you feel.
In my experience, just accepting and allowing the feeling of envy eased it considerably!
One of the reasons we feel envy is probably because we feel like we are being left behind. We start feeling insecure and start wondering if we are not good enough or we might mentally start running through all the stuff we are doing wrong.
That is not going to help. I did that and it just made me more miserable. Then I learned something called reframing an incident. Basically, instead of going on about terrible it is when someone we know succeeds in reaching a milestone in the writing journey, we can reframe it into why it’s good for us.
There is a theory that says that you are an average of the five people you spend the most time with. So, if people around you are reaching milestones, you are not far off. It’s just a matter of time.
If you are a follower of the Law of Attraction, seeing people around you getting what you want is a sign that you are about to get yours! And speaking from experience, it is true!
Sometimes we just can’t deal with all the happy-making others are going through. And that’s perfectly fine. We may need to step back and put some distance while we sort our feelings and that’s okay. We may have to avoid social media for awhile or we may not be able to immediately congratulate someone we know on their success. It’s important to respect and honor our feelings even if its something like envy which society deems as bad. Because by honoring our feelings, we are honoring ourselves.
You see the problem isn’t envy. The problem happens when we don’t acknowledge our feelings of envy or suppress them and then we start acting out in passive-aggressive ways. This comes out as snide remarks. leaving unwarranted horrible one-star reviews for books, jumping in to find fault with the writer, spreading mean untrue rumors etc.
Let’s try to be kind to ourselves. We are only human. Let’s start accepting Writers’ Envy because it is a very real thing and something we all go through. If any of you got other ways, feel free to share! I am always looking for ways to battle the green demon 😊