I feel like I should preface this with the fact that pretty much every YA/children’s writer I’ve met has been so friendly and enthusiastic. It’s easy to get excited for them and feel like the world of children’s lit is a big, squishy cheer-fest. But of course, it’s just like any other career and it’s easy to feel weirdly competitive with your fellow writers.
Robin Black has a fantastic post up about dealing with that inevitable writerly jealousy. One suggestion I like in particular:
“Ask yourself whether feeling jealous, at the moment when the green-eyed monster strikes, is actually helping you avoid some more uncomfortable anxiety you might feel….Envy can be oddly comforting. Figuring out why can be a powerful tool.”
I like the introspective approach to jealousy. It’s often a response to feeling vulnerable and worthless in your own career, when really it’s almost impossible to compare any two artists, even at similar ages/career stages/etc. When someone gets an agent or a five-star review or a Printz, it can be a reminder of how you didn’t get those things, which is really tough. And it’s okay to feel a little bitter, as long as you realize that this feeling comes from your own hurt and shouldn’t affect how you feel about the other person’s success–especially if that’s a person you actually know.
Honestly, I really like being supportive. Cheering people on at the Boston Marathon is one of my very favorite annual traditions. When someone gets good news, I love blogging about it. And I still get jealous all the time.
It’s not easy to wrangle the green-eyed monster. It’ll happen to everyone at some point. (If it never happens to you, please tell me what wizardry makes this so.) But you can help how you deal with your response to jealousy, especially in how you respond to other people.
(H/T Debbie Ohi)
Oh. And here I thought you were going to talk about the remarkable prevalence of actual green eyes in YA novels in recent years. Because, really, what’s up with that? How many people do you know who truly have green eyes? Not greenish-blue, not hazel, but true green?
Sorry, am I avoiding the real issue here? Because I do that sometimes…
Haha! I should do a post on that, too. The unusual eye color thing is such a pet peeve.
Yes, I admit to feeling bouts of jealousy when I see fellow writers reaching the summit that still remains elusive to me. But I do my best to hold it in and cheer them for their accomplishments. I try to remember that someone else’s success means that my goal is not impossible. 🙂
Very true. And just because someone reaches a certain goal doesn’t mean that’s taken away for you forever. In writing, everyone has a totally different path to follow. Might as well cheer for everyone who’s on their own totally weird, winding path.