I feel like I should preface this with the fact that pretty much every YA/children’s writer I’ve met has been so friendly and enthusiastic. It’s easy to get excited for them and feel like the world of children’s lit is a big, squishy cheer-fest. But of course, it’s just like any other career and it’s easy to feel weirdly competitive with your fellow writers.
Robin Black has a fantastic post up about dealing with that inevitable writerly jealousy. One suggestion I like in particular:
“Ask yourself whether feeling jealous, at the moment when the green-eyed monster strikes, is actually helping you avoid some more uncomfortable anxiety you might feel….Envy can be oddly comforting. Figuring out why can be a powerful tool.”
I like the introspective approach to jealousy. It’s often a response to feeling vulnerable and worthless in your own career, when really it’s almost impossible to compare any two artists, even at similar ages/career stages/etc. When someone gets an agent or a five-star review or a Printz, it can be a reminder of how you didn’t get those things, which is really tough. And it’s okay to feel a little bitter, as long as you realize that this feeling comes from your own hurt and shouldn’t affect how you feel about the other person’s success–especially if that’s a person you actually know.
Honestly, I really like being supportive. Cheering people on at the Boston Marathon is one of my very favorite annual traditions. When someone gets good news, I love blogging about it. And I still get jealous all the time.
It’s not easy to wrangle the green-eyed monster. It’ll happen to everyone at some point. (If it never happens to you, please tell me what wizardry makes this so.) But you can help how you deal with your response to jealousy, especially in how you respond to other people.
(H/T Debbie Ohi)