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.
:type: = :diva: