Tuesday, October 9, 2012

It's Not Easy Being Green

“O! Beware my lord, of jealousy; it is the green-ey’d monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on.”

The project I'm currently querying is set in an art school. I picked Shakespeare's Othello as one of the things the students perform because of Iago’s speech. The bad guy in my WIP has a major jealousy problem, a problem I myself am currently struggling with.

The writing community is one of the most supportive and understanding communities I have ever known. So many authors have been where I'm at, having finished a manuscript, edited it, run it through beta readers and critique partners, edited and polished it some more, and still no bites from agents. Sure, maybe it's the query letter, or maybe it's a stylistic issue, or maybe it's just that everything is so subjective (yes, I cringe at that word too), but sometimes I can't help feeling a twinge of jealously when a writer I know moves a step ahead of me (gets an agent or publishing contract) and I'm still down here in the query trenches. Don't get me wrong, I'm so happy for that person that I could burst, but I can feel that green-eyed monster lurking in the background, preparing to mock me.

So what do I do when I have that feeling? Well, I don't sulk or crawl under the covers and hide, though I'd like to sometimes. No, I put on my happy face (read, watch funny youtube clips until my sides hurt from laughing) and keep pushing forward. I re-look at my query and make sure it's showing the story, and the stakes the characters must face, in a way that will make my novel irresistible. I reread the first few chapters to make sure they pull the reader into the story enough without being too info dumpy and I continue to work on other projects that are taking up my brain space.

Ultimately, the green-eyed monster is no match for me because I know I'll overpower it, but it may get in a few more good hits before that happens.

What about you? How do you deal with jealousy.

5 comments:

  1. That's a tough one! I totally understand, because I've felt that way from time to time, too. I try to look at what I have - and what I've done, or pretend I'm my years-ago self looking at my current self. For instance, lots of people have never managed to start a manuscript, and are jealous of those who actually have a good idea and get started. Or they've half-written twenty different books but haven't finished a single one, and are jealous of those who have finished one. Or are jealous of those who have finished, found critique partners, revised, and actually queried. So just think - lots of people would be jealous of you if they knew!

    Or I try to put it in perspective by realizing that there is always something to be jealous of. If you have an agent, that's great, but then there are people with book deals. If you get a book deal, terrific, but there are always people with better deals. (Funny how hard it is to see those who don't have as good of deals, right?) There will always be something to be jealous of, which renders it a kind of pointless emotion. (NOT that that means it's not valid - just that it doesn't get you anywhere.)

    So that's how I try to see it. Sometimes it even works. :-)

    Good luck with your querying!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I get jealous occasionally, I admit. I try to remind myself that I'm a lot further along than I was three years ago, and that part of the reason I'm not getting the deals, etc., is that I'm not really trying yet... I also remind myself of all the great things about me and my writing, and that even the authors I'm jealous of probably have their own moments of doubt and jealousy.

    ReplyDelete
  3. So true, although I don't think people like to admit it. It's only human. But it's good not to let it eat away at you. Thanks for the brave honesty!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you, Laura, for tackling this post. It takes a great deal of courage to talk about things that may seem taboo or negative - but we're human! It's only natural for us to get jealous of our successful writer friends, even while simultaneously cheering them on/being proud of them. Several of my CPs are agented and one even has a book deal. To deal with my pity party or jealousy I remind myself of a couple things: 1. Everything happens for a reason. 2. As a person thinks in his heart, so he will become - Proverbs 23:7.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you, Laura, for tackling this post. It takes a great deal of courage to talk about things that may seem taboo or negative - but we're human! It's only natural for us to get jealous of our successful writer friends, even while simultaneously cheering them on/being proud of them. Several of my CPs are agented and one even has a book deal. To deal with my pity party or jealousy I remind myself of a couple things: 1. Everything happens for a reason. 2. As a person thinks in his heart, so he will become - Proverbs 23:7.

    ReplyDelete