As soon as I get to work, I complete the following tasks:
1. Check my work email.
2. Complete morning bus duty.
3. Grab a coffee from my school’s cafe.
4. Check out the latest deals on Publishers Marketplace.
Now, the last task pretty much determines my mood for the rest of the day. I range from: “Hey, what a cool concept. Good for them!” to “Wait a minute…I wrote something just like this…” to “Where’s my name? When is it my turn??” With the latter, my tears add extra flavoring to my coffee (it’s the new Splenda).
And sometimes I feel so guilty when I get those moments. Outside of any job I’ve ever had, the writing community is the most supportive. You always have someone giving you a high five (both IRL or electronically) when you complete revisions or even a rough draft. And when you receive bad news, it’s the writers that offer their condolences when your friends and family don’t quite understand. It’s not like teachers do the wave for me when I write an awesome-tastic guidance lesson (which they always are, btw).
This is the time where we’re supposed to tell each other to not compare ourselves to other writers. To say that our time will come one day.
But you know what? That doesn’t always work for me. What does work is to allow myself to have those mixed feelings when I read about Jane Smith’s 3-book deal for a dystopian vampire adventure. Because those mixed feelings are what motivate me. They make me sneak in a few spare minutes at work to complete my WIP. They make me turn off American Idol at night to knock out more revisions (and in all honesty, it hasn’t been very difficult to tune out AI this season). Basically, reading about someone else’s good fortune makes me get my butt in the chair. Not to prove anything to everyone else–just to prove something to me.
How do you all feel about writer jealousy? Do you think it’s productive, or does it hinder your work?