Us Jealous Writers
I felt I should post something on this after reading Welshcake’s blog earlier. I don’t know the ins and outs of the situation she’s referring to (and don’t want to either) but here are the basics:
Writer gets fab deal. Fellow writer from one writers’ website or another gets jealous and makes snide comments about said success.
Which is silly really.
Allow me to put forward my answer.
Writers get jealous. They are naturally envious creatures. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that at all. It is natural. Totally.
I’ve been doing this long enough to be familiar with envy (sometimes called admiration, other times not). I’ve thought, often, they write so much better than I do, I’ll never be that good, wow I wish I was getting that deal, selling that many books, getting my book reviewed there, jetting off here, giving a talk there. Etc. And I’ve thought how come they’ve got a deal etc etc, they’re no better than me! I have.
But I wouldn’t begrudge anyone success. It is an incredibly difficult industry to break in to and to stay in. It’s extremely difficult to earn a decent living from.
So the fact that someone’s good enough and has worked hard enough to get somewhere, I reckon, should be met with professional decency, admiration and respect. Even if what they write, or have written, isn’t your cup of tea. We’re all in similar boats. And if we want to get better or bigger or whatever we just need to work harder and stick at it. That’s a better course of action than looking (and/or being) bitter, is it not?
And the other point that’s come out of this is the record of what you’ve said. What you put on the web could stay there for years. And it would, naturally, have the potential to come back and bite you on the bottom. So, thinking about what you write, what you’ll put your name to and potentially be associated with for a long, long time, is important I think.
This speech (it’s in PDF doc.) by screenwriter John August is marvellous reading on the subject.