Combating the Green (Eyed-Monster)

So, dear reader, you’re feeling green. A member in your critique group whose writing isn’t half as good as yours just scored a six-figure three-book deal while you’re still trying to find an agent to request your current opus. Or maybe a comparable debut to yours just topped the New York Times Bestseller list while yours languishes in obscurity. Or maybe, yet again, some guy writes a romantic novel and gets lauded by the critics as being in touch with humanity while your very similar book can’t even get a review from a major trade publication. Or maybe it’s one of a million different scenarios that has you looking at someone else’s career and saying “I want that, too.”

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The green-eyed monster can turn you bitter and angry. It can suck the joy out of writing. It can become your driving obsession.

So, dear reader, I have some suggestions.

1. Learn something new. Use your envy to improve your own writing. Learn to write a short story, write from a new perspective, learn to tackle common problems like exposition. Study how to write a mystery even if you write on historical romances and find a way to use that in your stories. Become better.

2. Try something new. If your sales aren’t as good as you want them (and are they ever?), look at what the object of your envy does. Do they run pre-launch promotions, engage with readers on social media, give books away on Goodreads? Try that and maybe you’ll see some improvement.

3. Write something new. As a writer, this is the best place to work out our issues. Feeling angry, bitter, spiteful – use it on the page.

4. Express your frustrations privately with people you trust. If you’re that bothered, talking about it with a good friend will help. Remember, we’ve all been there – no one is immune. Just remember to keep it off the public forums. Maybe gets some hugs.

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5. Support other writers. Sometimes the feelings just need to work their own way out of your system. In the meantime, try supporting other writer friends. Putting positive energy out into the world has a way of making you feel better about yourself, too.

What do you do to combat writer envy?

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Amy Reichert

Amy E. Reichert is the author of THE COINCIDENCE OF COCONUT CAKE (Simon & Schuster/Gallery, July 21 2015), about food, love, and second chances, and where serendipity comes in the form of a delicious coconut cake. Find out more at amyereichert.com.

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Author: Amy Reichert

Amy E. Reichert is the author of THE COINCIDENCE OF COCONUT CAKE (Simon & Schuster/Gallery, July 21 2015), about food, love, and second chances, and where serendipity comes in the form of a delicious coconut cake. Find out more at amyereichert.com.