What do you do when you’re jealous of another writer?
I’m embarrassed to say I’ve battled the green-eyed monster and it’s won. Most of us struggle with envy at one time or another, but we writers have a more difficult time.
When we get an agent, the fun doesn’t stop there because we become envious of all those people who have a publisher. Then when our baby is finally in print, our eyes narrow into green slits because someone else got a multi-book contract. Needless to say, the monster-go-round doesn’t stop when we sell two books at a book signing but our friend sells twenty.
The problem is that jealousy can morph into despair. He made it to the bestseller’s list, she’s #105 on Amazon, so why should I even bother? Instead of striving to write the best we can, we aim for mediocrity and usually hit it.
I have no pet formula for permanently escaping the dragon of jealousy. But there are a few things that have helped me:
- Owning up to it. I might sing in the choir or teach a Bible study, but it doesn’t make me immune.
- Confessing it. My jealousy doesn’t come as any surprise to God, but telling Him puts me “on record.”
- Confessing to a friend. This is tougher. When I tell someone that I’m jealous, I’m admitting I’m flawed. My prideful self doesn’t like that one bit.
- Asking God to change my attitude toward my friend.
- Asking God to rearrange my priorities and expectations. Am I writing for my own glory or for God’s? Am I willing to wait for His timing? Do I trust Him?
I hate to admit how many fellow Christian writers I’ve envied: The gal who attended her first writers conference and sold an article to Focus on the Family, while it took me years to make a magazine sale. The novelist who got a three-book contract while I was struggling to get any interest in my stand-alone. The author who sold a hundred copies at one book signing while I sold two at mine.
God is continuing his work in me. I can usually rejoice when a friend gets that prestigious award, even when I wish it were me. I can smile when a fellow writer sells seventy copies in a coffee shop. My next challenge? Being really happy when someone’s novel is optioned for a Steven Spielberg movie.
Jealousy is woven into human DNA. We can’t do much on our own to change it, but God can.
About Bonnie Doran:
Bonnie’s debut novel, Dark Biology, released September 2013 from Harbourlight, an imprint of Pelican Book Group.
She lives in Denver, Colorado, with her husband of thirty years. They’re owned by two Siamese cats. John is an electrical engineer who works with lasers for a living. He’s also a Mad Scientist who owns a 2,300-pound electromagnet.
Bonnie’s interests besides writing include reading, cooking, solving Sudoku puzzles, and volunteering at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. She attends a local science fiction convention as well as various writers conferences each year. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, its North Denver Chapter, and the Denver Area Science Fiction Association.
Find Dark Biology at:
Pelican Book Group
Barnes & Noble