The Purpose of IWSG is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
To join IWSG visit Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh here.
Last week author, Heather Webb, wrote a terrific post for the Writer Unboxed Blog, The Haves and the Have-Nots: Surviving Writer Envy. If you haven’t read it, please do. Her advice is golden:
“… focus on yourself, your journey.
Someone else’s successes do not diminish your own.”
Heather’s post was of particular interest to me, because while I have an inclination toward envy, it doesn’t extend to the traditional trappings of success, particularly writerly success. (My envy revolves around art glass, pottery, travel, and pet ownership, but that’s a whole other post).
Not only do I not envy writerly fame, such success brings the exact sort of attention that sends an introverted sort like myself into full-blown panic mode. Photos? Interviews? Public speaking? That’s nightmare territory.
I can’t explain why I don’t envy the blockbuster status of an EL James, Stephenie Meyer, or Dan Brown, or why I feel a thrill rather than envy when I see a friend’s name on the bestseller list. All I can tell you for sure is that envy just isn’t there.
After reading Heather’s post, I began to wonder if something was wrong with me.
Then a funny thing happened. A vision appeared, bright and shimmering in my mind’s eye: the cover of Andrew Davidson’s 2008 debut, The Gargoyle—a novel that left me awestruck. The beauty and breadth of the story, the sublime prose, I cherished every word. This book made me cry.
Envious? Oh, yeah. Of Davidson’s talent and genius. As for his success? Meh. If Davidson hadn’t sold a single copy of The Gargoyle, I’d be just as envious.
It’s not as if I want to write like Davidson. I want to write like me, but with his level of artistry.
This overlong preamble brings me to my weird February insecurity. Can my lack of envy be a detriment? Without coveting fame and fortune, can I (or any writer like me) ever be hungry enough, driven enough, to succeed as a writer?
Envy is an insult to oneself.