A Writer’s Worst Enemy

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As writers, it is nearly impossible not to compare ourselves/careers to others, but we need to resist the urge. Sure, we all get twinges of jealously, but it’s what you do with that twinge that counts.

It was my idea first. If someone else wrote the book you’ve been dreaming of for years, well, you probably should’ve written it sooner, BUT don’t feel like you can’t still write your dream story. Remember, their story is their story. It is not your story. Your version will be different, so don’t be discouraged and write it anyway.

They got an agent first. They got accepted for representation after one measly submission and your story has been rotating from agency to agency for years. This is a hard one. It makes you question if your writing is any good after all. Now, some writers may need a bit more training. Think of it as voice lessons. Anyone can learn how to sing. You just need to find the right teacher and practice, practice, practice. Anyone can write. You just need to learn the formula to convey your story correctly, so don’t give up. Check out my blog next week on conferences for more ways to improve your chances of getting represented.

My story is every bit as good as their story. When agencies say they are looking for a particular genre, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are looking for just any story. Let’s say your friend and writing critique partner has written an historical fiction piece set in the West in the early 1900’s and you wrote a piece about England in 1910 and your friend’s story gets picked and yours did not. Why on earth not? You know your friend’s writing style and secretly, you feel your story is every bit as good, so why did she get picked over you? Well, the agent may have already a story similar to yours already on his desk that he is representing for his current client. Remember, it’s all about what the agent is already trying to get published for his current clients. They are the agent’s first priority, which should make you happy because one day, you will be a client and you will want the agent to show your work the same kind of respect.

Ways to combat jealousy:

Be strong, content and hopeful as you choose to be happy for your friend and show them your support.

Don’t let your hurt pride, insecurity/fear of failure, or selfishness get in the way of celebrating with your other writer friends. You don’t know all the sacrifices or circumstances that went into getting their book published. You may think you do, but each person is on their own journey.

Take your eyes off of their writing and focus on your writing. If you book isn’t getting picked up because it is overdone, write a new one. Don’t wallow in your jealousy.

Comparison is the thief of joy. Don’t lose your joy in the present in your drive for the future. You will get there, but how you do, matters. One day, you can look back and remember your discouragement and you can use it to encourage another writer.

How do you handle those twinges of jealousy?

Happy Writing!

Photo cred: Unsplash.com

About Grace Hitchcock

Grace Hitchcock's first novella, The Widow of St. Charles Avenue, released in Barbour Publishing’s The Second Chance Brides Collection August 2017. Her second novella will release in Barbour Publishing’s The Southern Belle Brides Collection in 2018. She has a Masters in Creative Writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in History. Grace is a Louisiana Southerner living in Colorado with her husband, Dakota, and newborn son.

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