Today I posted an article about Jealousy and Fictionpress over at Let The Words Flow, and it’s gotten some interesting reactions.
Firstly, I didn’t think it was that great of an article. When I showed it to sjmaas a few weeks ago when I wrote it, she told me it was the best I had ever written, and that puzzled me.
But today I’ve gotten tons of long comments detailing readers’ own experiences with Jealousy. And it’s made me think; I’ve been focusing on the quality of the article, its insight, and its brevity, but there was something I was overlooking: Honesty.
My article is very honest. It shows readers the inside emotions of some former FictionPress giants and how we all, large readership or not, felt the same sting of jealousy. And while we don’t pay it much attention in the mainstream, jealousy is a huge factor of our internal lives, because it blends with another emotion a reader was insightful enough to point out: inadequacy.
I feel inadequate. I bet you feel inadequate, too. I have an agent, but no published book. At any moment I’m in danger of getting all rejections for the book I have out on submissions, and it will never be published, and my agent won’t like the other book I pitched to her, and I’m back at square 1. Even if I get published, at any moment the news could come in that no one is buying or reading my books, or reviewers hate them, and I’ll never make comission and no publisher will ever want to work with me again.
Even the Movers and Shakers of the writing world: William Gibson, Neil Gaiman, JK Rowling, Stephen King, Anne Rice, Nora Roberts, etc. must all feel inadequate. I’m sure that some or all of them have felt jealous of another Mover and Shaker.
Jealousy and inadequacy is a universal, and constant issue. I try to be zen about it and accept that I can do things that no one else can, even while others can do things that I’ll never be able to, but I admit it’s hard. Sometimes I feel like I’m covering my ears, shutting my eyes, and screaming my own written words to myself, just to block everyone else out so I can feel good about what I’ve written.
And sometimes there are good days, when I’m the best writer in the world. And then there are bad days when I suck and I’ll never be published and none of my ideas are commercial enough to sell.
In conclusion, I’m glad that those who read the article felt a sense of community and kinship with other writers, some of whom they might have been jealous of in the past. I guess I need to never overlook the honesty and the human element.