Friday, 5 August 2011

Professional Envy

Professional envy was mentioned within a comment on Life in Clarity a short time ago and while I dont believe the sentiment from the person saying it was completely true, I do believe there is quite a bit of professional envy amongst our peers and I own up to feeling this way sometimes.

It's a difficult subject to get into, but I wanted to bring it out into the light, air it a little and take away some of that cloak and dagger and hide this dirty little secret away, business.

When I say peers, I mean those writers who are in similar places to where you are now or a step or two in front. You've built that online bond, but then one of you hits the dream first and is published.

At this point I would imagine I'd be feeling two things. Absolute joy at a friends well deserved success. After all, I know just how damn hard she worked for it. But - I would also, deep down, get a niggle of envy - the, why can't I get there, type feelings.

I've decided it's natural and nothing to be ashamed or worried about. It happens in all sorts of lives and scenarios. Not just in writing worlds. It's human nature to look out at what others achieve, to want more for ourselves and to feel a little let down - importantly - by ourselves rather than those who are achieving. It's something we need to acknowledge and then try to deal with it sensibly and be absolutely thrilled for your friend and tell her you expect equal bundles of excitement when you get there.

It's a long arduous journey this road to publication and watching people you know getting there before you is just another of those bumps. Keep at it and keep smiling.


  1. I read an interesting post yesterday on Natalie Whipple's blog, Between fact and fiction, only she was talking about jealousy. I think that there is a huge difference. It's natural to be envious. It doesn't mean you can't be happy for other people, and hopefully it can even spur you on. Jealousy, when you want what they have INSTEAD of them having it, well that's a whole other game!

    It's good to remind ourselves that we're all human. Like you say, it's not the thoughts, it's how you deal with them.

  2. It's difficult being human. We feel so much, and have to own up to them.

    Thanks for bringing the thoughts out in the open. I wouldn't have had the courage to bring out mine. And I feel those niggles of envy quite often.

  3. I know I've felt jealous at other writer's. (One time when someone I knew got an agent I remember thinking "Why haven't I gotten one yet?" Of course, the answer was because I was nowhere near that stage, but it was something I was hoping for, so I still felt a little green hearing it.) I figure as long as I don't let it eat me up, it won't hurt me.

  4. I don't get jealous, I just get depressed. ;_; I'm mean, I'm happy when though I know achieve their goals, and it's kinda cute how they bubble about it. But it does make me wonder what I'm doing wrong and I usually automatically place them on a level higher than me right away. But I totally know timing and luck and the market factor a whole lot into things - writing is a high risk business after all - and I know that comes with ups and downs for everyone. I'm human, you're human (I hope, but if not, that's cool), but we're all writers and this is just part of the game we play.

  5. It's human and natural to feel envy ... at least you're being open and honest about it ! That's admirable !

  6. Of course it's only natural to feel like that. I think it's our desire to 'do as best as the next person' that fires humans to achieve more and more. As long as you don't get 'bitter and twisted' then where's the harm?

  7. Sarah - I like the distinction. I definitely want everyone to succeed at their dreams, I also want to succeed at my own!

    Mieke - It feels better to acknowledge them than to let them fester and get me down. I know I can achieve my dreams. I just have to keep working towards it.

    Patricia- That's it. The feelings are normal, it's about how you deal with them. It's a tough world out there trying to get published, but we are really in it together. Writing is a lonely thing at times and I've loved having the blogosphere to talk to on my journey.

    Jenny - I don't think it's that people are doing things differently. Sometimes it's just timing. We all started writing our current WIPs at different times and we all write at different speeds and only have a certain amount of time to give to it. Keep pushing on and it gets us that one step closer.

    Mish - It is isn't it. Thank you :)

    Rosalind - I definitely see it that way, that if someone else is getting an agent/published, then the dream is still out there and I push on with determination.

  8. I like your resolve to be positive as we all have watched others get published before ourselves.

    And thanks so much for becoming a Follower on my blog and for commenting! It's great to meet you - and I appreciate your support!

    I'll be back to your blog soon! Thanks again!

  9. Thanks for popping over Lauren. It's a journey for all of us isn't it.