Taming the Hideous Green-Eyed Monster

poison-envy-POSTER-SMIt’s been ten years since my stint in Hollywood, and sometimes I still wonder “what if”? What if social media had existed back then? What if I’d tried harder? What if I’d written one more script? What if I’d moved to L.A. to actually make a go of it?

Everyone has those moments of envy and competitiveness — it’s what fuels long-running race-to-the-finish shows Survivor, or even those vicarious-living shows like House Hunters (which I’m completely addicted to). But it can get ugly. I’ve seen it firsthand. The jealously, the pettiness, the mean girl syndrome that often results. It’s toxic, and I’ve learned the hard way to remove myself from it.

I know the triggers — it’s usually the announcement of someone, a fellow screenwriter or author, getting a splashy new deal. While mine never really got quite off the ground. Or someone makes a big list or gets an awesome review, while you’re still waiting to see if you’ll make the cut. So many things that bring out the little monster. I’ve figured out a way to handle it though — give myself a few minutes to wallow, call a trusted friend to whine (D, always, because Navdeep has no patience for such bullshit), and then move on hardcore, putting 110 percent of that negative energy into something productive.

Because remember, it’s not a zero some game. In the end, you have to remind yourself and accept that you’re only really competing with yourself. What I’ve come to realize is this: you’ve got to focus on your own paper, and you’ve got to do the work. If you’re not doing the work, try as you might, you’re not going to “get lucky” like all those other people basking in their successes. Because Hard work + Timing = Success.

Author: Sona Charaipotra

An entertainment and lifestyle journalist published by The New York Times, People, ABC News, MSN, Cosmopolitan and other major national media, SONA CHARAIPOTRA currently curates a kickass column on YA books and teen culture for Parade.com. A collector of presumably useless degrees, she double-majored in journalism and American Studies at Rutgers before getting her masters in screenwriting from New York University (where her thesis project was developed for the screen by MTV Films) and her MFA from the New School. When she's not hanging out with her writer husband and two chatter-boxy kids, she can be found poking plot holes in teen shows like Twisted and Vampire Diaries. But call it research: Sona is the co-founder of CAKE Literary, a boutique book development company with a decidedly diverse bent. Her debut, the YA dance drama Tiny Pretty Things (co-written with Dhonielle Clayton), is due May 26 from HarperTeen. Find her on the web at SonaCharaipotra.com or CAKELiterary.com.