Shannon Stacey

When the envy burns like day-old tomato puree

Sometimes, when it comes to professional envy, the hits just keep on coming and it’s hard to keep on going. And it doesn’t matter how much you like and/or respect the author, when somebody gets a deal with an editor you want or a house you want or beats you to the punch with a similar premise you’d thought unique, there’s some teeth grinding, some pen tossing and some throwing of the hands into the air.

The first thing I do to drag myself out of the pit of despair is skim through one of my all-time favorite writing books, Way of the Cheetah: How to Boost Your Productivity by Lynn Viehl. Especially this part:

How long do you think a cheetah would survive if he saw other cats bringing down bigger/juicier/tastier game and thought “Well, that’s it, I’ll never be able to hunt as well as they do. I quit.”

Inevitably, rational thought and reluctant self-awareness will crash the pity party and I’m forced to deal with my wait for meeeee whining with a checklist. (Let’s call the lucky deal-getting author Jane Doe, just to be original.)

1. Did Jane Doe work on six different books in the last three days because she can’t decide which path to take? (Probably not.)

2. In the last week, has Jane Doe accumulated more word count with blog posts than with manuscript pages? (Probably not.)

3. Does Jane Doe sit with a notebook and pen in her lap and pretend she’s writing while watching TV? (Probably not.)

4. Does Jane Doe do anything and everything—from fighting dust bunnies to running errands to chatting on the phone—before she sits down to write? (Probably not.)

For me, the hardest thing about professional envy is the moment when I have to admit that, no matter how lucky Jane Doe might seem, agents and editors didn’t line up outside her door with little deli number tags, dying to get their hands on her unfinished ideas.

The trick is to turn that moment into motivation.

:bang: = :x

:type: = :diva:

11 comments to “When the envy burns like day-old tomato puree”

  1. Michelle (MG)
      · May 9th, 2008 at 11:08 am · Link

    I hear ya sister! :bang:

  2. Kimber An
      · May 9th, 2008 at 11:16 am · Link

    Beautifully stated. :cheer:

  3. Jaci Burton
      · May 9th, 2008 at 11:36 am · Link

    The first step to success is self awareness.

    I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it sounds good.


  4. Melani Blazer
      · May 9th, 2008 at 1:55 pm · Link

    I hear ya with the envy, and the self-realization that Jane Doe just might have worked a little harder (okay, a lot) harder than I did to get to where she is right now.

    You’ve got the positive thinking going. Just turn that envy into… hey, if SHE can do it, *I* can do.

    I believe in ya!
    GO shan GO! :cheer:

  5. Charlene
      · May 9th, 2008 at 3:26 pm · Link

    This Jane Doe can’t remember the last time she watched TV. And the dust bunnies around here are bigger than the cats. :roll:

  6. Heather Rae Scott
      · May 10th, 2008 at 9:41 am · Link

    Well said. :hug: Never read that book, but the Cheetah thing makes perfect sense–besides, you’re like me and we don’t like to starve for long periods of time. So, I have officially declared this the year of becoming Jane Doe. :whip: If I have to drag you kicking and screaming into the end zone–by your hair!–I most definitely will. You can do this. I have faith.

  7. kate r
      · May 11th, 2008 at 10:41 am · Link

    Why do you and Lynn make us face these facts? :ignore: :gaah: It’s worse than exercise.

  8. Shannon
      · May 12th, 2008 at 9:58 am · Link

    *sigh* When you can count your weekend word count without math or the word count function, you didn’t get enough done.


  9. Marianne
      · May 12th, 2008 at 10:19 am · Link

    I’ve always said that you’ll never get published if you don’t, yanno, FINISH something! :lol:

  10. Kat
      · May 12th, 2008 at 11:58 pm · Link


    Hey I’m cheering for you! I’m a new “fan”. Just read both your Devlin books. Loved them and hoping like crazy you write more of them! Keep up the great work!

  11. Shannon
      · May 13th, 2008 at 9:39 am · Link

    Thanks, Kat! :kiss: I’m glad you enjoyed them, and I’m working on Gallagher’s book now. His mad piloting skills ruined a part of my plot, but it’s coming together.

  • Get my latest news straight to your inbox!

    I'll only be sending newsletters when I have news to share, and I'll never share your information. You'll receive an email asking you confirm your subscription (so please check your spam box if you don't receive that). You can unsubscribe at anytime.


  • Affiliation

    Shannon Stacey is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of

    If you purchase a book listed on the site from, she’ll earn a small commission. Thank you!