Saturday, January 5, 2013

I'm Jealous.


Hi, sweet readers. 

I have a confession to make.

I'm jealous. 

I'm lucky to be friends with a lot of incredible writers, who also happen to be amazing people in general. As it happens, a pattern seems to be emerging with a lot of them -

They're also successful.
Like, really awesome things are happening to them.

Agents are fighting over them!
They're getting book deals (for two books! And three books! And getting paid real money! OMG!)
Their books are in the Amazon top 100! And they get fan mail!

And when that happens?  I'm over-the-moon happy for them.
And I'm also jealous of them.

Don't compare yourself; we are all unique. So true!
 I totally compare myself to everyone.
But I don't let it steal my joy,
if that's what 's making that chick jump around on the beach with balloons.
I never do that anyway.

I think so often the word jealous has a negative connotation. 
But I think - and I really, really, believe this - that "I wish that would happen for me" does not automatically mean "And I wish that didn't happen to her."

We all know that this is a business. And we all know that this is a subjective business. That means that very, very rarely are we ever in real, direct competition with our fellow writers. Because each piece of work is so different, there are no consistent factors that lead to success, and there are not very many situations where we're honestly going head-to-head.

So, in one example, someone didn't get a book deal over me - she just got a book deal, and I didn't. Yet.

When a friend of mine celebrates a success, and I feel jealous, it tells me something - I want what she has. Maybe not the whole thing - maybe I envy the result, and not the path. Or maybe I envy the trappings, but not the core result.

Regardless, allowing myself to feel jealousy helps me identify what I want, and why - and how - I want it. That's not such a bad thing at all.

So I tell my friends I'm jealous of them all the time. They know it means I think that what's happening to them is so freaking awesome that I wish it was happening for me, too. In the next breath, and probably also in the one before it, I tell them that I'm so, so, SO happy for them. And they know that means...well...exactly what it means. I really, truly am happy, too.

Yes, it's possible to be both jealous of and ecstatic for someone. My friends are so badassed that it happens to me all the time. You know who you are. *wink*

What about you?




35 comments:

  1. Yes, exactly! I have a couple of friends who are quite successful writers, and I am insanely jealous, but that doesn't mean I'm not genuinely happy for them!

    I think this goes for all facets of life, really. For example, I'm currently the only single person in my apartment at school. Am I jealous of my roommates? Heck yes. Am I nasty or dismissive to them because of it? Of course not!!

    I don't think the idea of jealousy is the problem; I think the problem is when people are motivated to act out of jealousy rather than out of their happiness for their friend. We ARE only human, but niceness is more important. :)

    Plus, you know those friends will be JUST as excited for you when a book deal (or whatever the Thing is) comes your way too.

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    1. That's so true! All facets of life. And like John said, for the ones that aren't luck, it can only push us harder.

      And yes! I know they will, may the Thing come soon. ;)

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  2. I'm the same. We're told our entire lives jealousy is a bad thing. I think it goes hand in hand with "thou shalt not covet". The difference is exactly what you've said. We use that inspiration and passion in jealousy to decide what it is we want.

    I'm deeply envious of my sister-in-law. She's intelligent, athletic, an awesome mom, coach, teacher and she's beautiful to boot. She's wonderful and I just want to tap into whatever it is that makes her so awesome.

    Jealousy that remains stagnant is bad. It festers and rots and makes us bitter and spiteful. Jealousy that remains positive and spurs us to bigger and better things is a good thing.

    Don't covet. Go for it.

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    1. Exactly right. We can't have EXACTLY the thing they have; that's coveting. But going after our own happy version of it is a good thing.

      Thanks for your comment! <3

      Delete
  3. Yes! Exactly this. Plus, when you're jealous of someone who worked REALLY HARD to get where they're at, it makes you want to work that hard, too. Not a bad thing at all. :)

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    1. Yeah, I think it totally helps to be friends with the person, because you know their struggles too, you know?

      Good to see you, Peggy! *smooosh*

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  4. I love your blog today & everyone's insightful comments. This is such a fun topic and I'm so jealous you thought of it first (just kidding!). There are plenty of friends I am jealous of, but it's not because I don't love my life or value myself. It's because I surround myself with awesome people - just like you do. It inspires me to fulfill my own dreams when I see good things happen to my friends. It reminds me of what I want and am working toward, and that great things are attainable. Plus, there is just so much to learn from our friend's journeys. The best point you made was that we are all so different, and a friend's success isn't taking away from our own. Beautifully said! Great things WILL come to you, because you are emitting a magnificent vibe to the universe and like attracts like :) Use all this for motivation and drive. Learn from them. And make us all jealous too!

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    1. Hey, Colleen!

      Thanks! I like to think magnificent vibes help with these things. ;) thanks for being such a positive force! <3

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  5. This is so accurate, and bravo you for having the courage to say it. I think people (wrongly) assume that jealousy is such a negative thing that it automatically means you want someone else to fail -- which is so radically untrue. But there's definitely a positive side to jealousy, and I think you identify it so well.

    Whenever I hear fabulous writing-related news from (fabulous, deserving) people, I'm so, so thrilled for them. Of course, I'd love for it to happen for me, too, but I remind myself that I'm so new to this that my time will come...eventually. I don't know if I would have been able to appreciate the hard work I've put into this process with the book of my heart if I'd been successful with the first (and now shelved FOREVER) manuscript I wrote.

    Being jealous is totally normal. How you handle it (positively or negatively) shows who you truly are. And I think your point of view is spot-on.

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    1. EXACTLY! I *only* want my friends to succeed!

      It's so cool that you find the upside to your shelved MS. I still get a little misty-eyed over mine sometimes LOL.

      Thanks for your comment, hon! You're the best. <3

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  6. Great post!

    I agree. Jealousy isn't a bad thing, especially if you're genuinely excited for another person's success. I have beta-read a lot of novels for writers who are now agented and have their books out in the wild. I could've been jealous of them finding agents and getting published but my excitement for them overshadowed my jealousy because, for one, I wanted people to one day be able to read the stories that I fell in love with and two, I know firsthand how hard these writers worked to make their ms the best ms it could possibly be.

    I'm just happy that I have gotten to experience so many writer-friends find success. Their journies inspire me to work hard, and try my best to write the best story I possibly can.

    Also, I can't wait until the day you get a book deal. After reading SfEx, I know it's going to happen someday. :)

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    1. And you, my dear, are an EXCELLENT beta reader.

      And that's exactly right I think as long as your excitement is overshadowing your jealousy you're in a REALLY good place. <3 <3 <3

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  7. I totally agree! I read a book called Wanderlove last year (that I loved!) and the author expounded on the difference between jealousy and envy - the first means something negative in definition while envy implies that you're happy for the person and only wish that you could experience something as awesome.

    I thought it was really interesting and have been careful to use the words as defined ever since. I think what you're describing here is envy, not jealousy, and anything that helps you know your goals and desires better is a beautiful thing.

    Also everyone should assume you are a lovely person as well as a brilliant writer and critique partner. We're all driving toward the same destination and getting there faster or slower than others can be vexing at best. Anyone who says otherwise is lying. But that doesn't mean we don't love, encourage, and applaud everyone who arrives at the party.

    <3

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    1. Uh...yeah. So apparently my vocabulary is not SO stellar. But YES! Envy it is!

      And YOU are one of the lovliest people I have ever met. Love, encouragement and applause - yes. <3

      Delete
  8. I 100% agree! I'm jealous of all the people who have agents and are getting book deals, but I know it's because they deserve it and I'm happy for them. They put in the time and as I put in my work, my time will come too. But like you said being "jealous" shows what you want for yourself and it's good to know what you want and to have goals. Having goals makes it all the more exciting when you reach them.

    I have no doubt your time will come. From the small bits of your contest entries I've seen, I can honestly say you are amazing and I can't wait to see your book on the shelves and read it. And if it helps any I'm jealous of you cause you are steps closer to that goal than I am. But I'm a firm believer that everyone comes into things at their own pace on their own journey and road and we will all get there eventually :)

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    1. Hi Jamie!!! I think you're right - if the jealousy motivates us to work harder, then that can only be a good thing. :D

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  9. Great way of putting it and I agree, wanting what they have does not equal wishing they didn't have it and thank you for putting it that way!

    Perhaps what you are feeling is envy rather than jealousy - you want what they have, but you don't fear it takes away from what you have!

    Also I think it can be a positive force - I know seeing other people's success sometimes makes me work harder as I think, now, I want that what do I have to do to go get it?!

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    1. Hahah YES, you are the second person to point out my sore lack of vocabulary mastery. Envy is the word.

      And yes, I think seeing the rewards from others is an AWESOME benefit. Because before, it was just a pipe dream, but for them, it's real. Awesome.

      Thanks for your comment! <3

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  10. YES. Exactly. So well said.

    Because I adore YOU. And I'm jealous of you too ;-)
    <3

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    1. I'm jealous of you too! HOW DO YOU WRITE FANTASY. I'll never know.

      Love you to bits.

      Delete
  11. This!!! post sums up exactly how I've felt about jealousy for SO long. I had trouble saying to people after "I'm jealous of you" just why I felt that way but now I know...it's because I AM so so happy for them but I also want the same for myself and not in a mean or bad way. Thanks for this.
    <3 You'e such a rockstar Leigh Ann. Can't wait to read ONE.

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    1. YOU are a rockstar. And I can't wait for you to read One either. Also I'm crazy nervous LOL. You seem like a tough cookie.

      <3

      Delete
  12. That's a fascinating way of putting it. I always considered jealousy as a negative thing. Hmm. Much pondering there.

    The way I view it is that if I celebrate my friends successes, then I don't have to be jealous of them. Yes, I wish it was happening to me too, but they are further down the path than I am. I know I'll get there eventually. To me, jealousy saps my creativity if I let it. So I don't let it. I don't let it by being so happy and excited for my friends successes that there isn't room in my head for the jealousy.

    Well said though. Really interesting way of dealing with jealousy in a positive way. Either way, jealousy doesn't cause you to be negative about where you are. Which is the whole point. :D

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    1. See, that's the thing! I'm celebrating but I'm still intensely jealous. LOL. I must be a very emotional being. :D

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  13. At a writing conference I attended, Tom Robbins gave some advice about jealousy. He said that one way to get motivated to write awesome sentences is to read the greats, the writers you admire, and get jealous of their writing. Then use that jealousy to fuel your own writing fire. As long as you are using that little twinge for positive results, rather than hate or vengeance, jealousy can be a great motivator. Great post.

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    1. that is GREAT advice, actually. Yay Tim Robbins! I should print out some lines I love so that I do that every day. Thanks Shell!

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  14. I think this might be my favorite post of yours. EVER. I'm so, so grateful to know you and be your friend. I get teary just thinking about it because, well, I'm a baby like that.

    But seriously. Love you.

    (Also jealous of all the books you've written this year.)

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    1. AW ANDREA I FEEL THE SAME WAY ABOUT YOU. LOL. ;_;

      But seriously, love you too. And jealous of your gorgeous poetic prose, Dammit. And how clean your drafts are.

      And everyone should be jealous of me because I get to read them. LOL.

      Delete
  15. This. is. beautiful. <3 I definitely have a jealous personality, and sometimes I have to be careful not to let it rob me of joy. But lately (as in, the last couple weeks) I've been letting my jealousy motivate me, and it's AMAZING! I've met so many amazing and talented and wonderful writers since I joined Twitter, and they're helping me realize that I want a writing career SO BADLY. It's great motivation, and it also helps me be genuinely happy and excited for others when they begin to realize their dreams. :) Thank you for this post!

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    1. Aw, thanks! YOU are beautiful! ANd welcome to Twitter! It's definitely a balancing act over there, but it can be SO beneficial too. <3

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  16. It's so true, Leigh Ann. GREAT post!

    For me, I'm really excited when great things happen to other people, but I also feel a wall go up in me to make sure I don't think TOO hard about how awesome that great thing really is -- because otherwise it'd be too hard to turn that kind of adrenaline off and feel motivated for the day-to-day regular stuff that moves you towards those great things.

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  17. I love this. SO MUCH. It's totally possible to be both jealous and happy for someone. I'm jealous of so many writer friends but that doesn't mean I'm not also ridiculously excited for them. Count yourself included. ;) And I agree that it spurs us onward, helping us define and reach for what we want. Thanks for writing this. Even though it distracted me from writing. Heh. <3

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  19. I sometimes do feel jealous of writers who get agents and deals, even while I'm happy for them. I feel particularly jealous when I know some of these people haven't been writing nearly as long as I have, and sometimes have only gotten into writing because of certain extremely popular books. I have to remember that my chosen genre/oeuvre is much different than theirs, and that not everyone has the same quick path to recognition.

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