Thursday, September 2, 2010

Writer's Envy

My last post I wrote about writing anxiety, the feeling that the walls will cave in if you don't write but ironically enough, seems to creep up at the most inconvenient times, namely when putting pen to paper is out of the question.

This week I want to talk about envy.

Jealousy can easily creep up on an unassuming writer.  You've just written the best story in your life.  You have proof of this because your mother can't stop talking about it.  So you're attending a creative writing work shop, writers group, etc. when it happens: the chick on your right reads her stuff and it's good.

It's way better than yours.

I figure there's one of two things you can do in this situation: 1) rip up your work, throw it in the air and storm off, claiming you'll never write again OR 2) take notes.

I don't know if you've realized this yet, but I'm not the best writer in the world.  I know, shocking.  Truth be told, I have A LOT to learn about the craft and I do so by reading my fellow writers and taking note of their strong points.  For example, I'm so-so at story line.  Now if you want me to set a scene or develop a character, you'll get your money's worth.  Allowing the characters to live their life in a creative fashion that will capture my audience is a whole other animal.  But fortunately, I have many opportunities to study the ways people move seamlessly from one scene to the other whether it be from reading a novel to critiquing my fellow members of The Red Dress Club.

Envy can be stifling in any situation.  It can make you doubt yourself and waste your time wishing you were better than you are.  But envy can also be the kick in the rear you need when mired in mediocrity.  After all, we all have room to grow.

Have you suffered from writer's envy?  In what ways have used it to your advantage?


  1. YES! I'm new to group and felt so intimidated last week when reading all the other amazing posts. Good thing is... Is I think its stepped up mymy game... My desire. Challenged me to write better.

  2. Absolutely! I'll read a particular phase or scene and think, "I'll never sound like that." It can be really disheartening. I don't think I've figured out how to use it productively yet.

  3. That happens to me. I think the challenges, comments and critiques help with envy.

    I try to remember that people will love it, people will hate it and that is okay as long as I strive for it to be the best it can be with the talent I am given at the time.


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