Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Being happy for other writers

I think this is so, so important, and it's something I've struggled with throughout my journey as a writer. When I first started out at age 10, I would read articles about teenagers who got published and immediately come up with all the reasons I deserved it as much as they did. When somebody signed a major three-book deal, I got insanely jealous. Why couldn't I get a three-book deal? What made those authors so special?

The more I explore the writing community in Utah, the more I come to realize how important it is to be happy for your fellow authors. We're all on the same side here; we all want (generally) the same things. I think it's natural to get a little jealous when someone lands a major deal, or signs with your dream agent, but in the end we have to support each other...after all, having writing friends is a major bonus during those long hours spent revising and tearing your hair out over first drafts. Writers are, by nature, solitary people, and it's essential for health and sanity to meet others who share your aspirations. For the past few years I've changed the way I think about other authors: instead of the competition, they are my teammates. When one person scores, the rest cheer him/her on. During someone else's moment of glory we push back our jealousy and just be glad that they have achieved their goals. Since I've established this mindset I've made so many great writer friends, and I will be absolutely thrilled if/when they sign with agents or land major deals with publishing houses.

Just this week I got some great news on the writing front. I'm not going to post it here until things are official, but I am so grateful for all my writing friends who were excited and happy for me. Jealousy isn't worth it - when we focus on comparing ourselves to others, there is no room for personal growth, and we end up alienating ourselves from potential friends and peers. We have to stick together here, and learn to be happy for other writers no matter how lame we feel in comparison :).

9 comments:

  1. This is a really good point. I think the easiest way to be happy for another writer is remembering that they wanted it just as much as I do and probably worked just as hard or harder than I have. Great post! It's good to hear from you again.

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  2. Awesome post! I love the community of writers and how supportive they are. They're definitely some of the coolest people out there. :) Congratulations on your good news, I hope it becomes official very soon!

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  3. This, this, this, this. It's something I wondered about before I had writer-friends: how am I supposed to be happy for them? But I am. Very happy for certain vague news :)

    And another part of me is like, DUDE. I'm awesome by association!

    Thanks :)

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  4. Hahahaha! I feel awesome simply for having writing friends, to tell you the truth, because everyone I know is so talented!!!

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  5. So true. And I can't wait to hear your news! :)

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  6. You go girl. I AM happy for you, but is it okay that I'm just a titch jealous? Because it motivates me.

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  7. Hahahaha of course Liesl! And then I get to be a little bit jealous when your book gets some amazing, three-figure advance (because let's face it, The Color of Yin isn't likely to earn me a lot of money).

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  8. I really love this post because it's so true and so relatable. I think all of us struggle with the jealousy at some point or another and have to remind ourselves that our writer friends deserve the success they've gotten because they put in the hours just like us. Honestly, just for that simple fact--putting in the blood, sweat, and tears--I think all writers deserve success and lots of congratulations.

    Virtual chocolate and high fives for all of you guys, all us writers are pretty amazing, don't you think? :]

    I'm sending lots of good luck that your good news becomes official!!

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  9. Thanks so much Britany! I completely agree with everything you said :).

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