Green-Eyed Author Monster

Saturday, April 22, 2017
I love writing support groups. They provide advice, writing tips, and great publishing advice. I particularly enjoy reading group-member success stories; they inspire me and give me hope for my own writing career.

Some time ago, while I was reading posts on a Facebook writer’s support group, I read the post of a fellow author who joyously shared the news that a literary agent had offered her representation. Naturally, everyone who commented offered his or her heartfelt congratulations.
I started to type a similar congratulatory response, but this time, my fingers froze as a small voice in my head surfaced.

“Go ahead,” it said. “Write what you really think.”

What did I think? I was happy for her, but another, less Beth-like part of me was angry. Why? Why should this person get what I desired the most? Why should I congratulate my fellow writer when I had yet to be successful? I have already admitted, in a previous post, to sending out over 100 query letters – all of which resulted in rejection; so, to summon a positive, heartfelt response was beyond me at that moment.

Disappointed in my reaction, I left the computer and took a break to collect my thoughts. Writing is a tough profession, I reminded myself. The competition is enormous, and there are no guarantees we will succeed the way we want. This fellow writer is a success story, which should be celebrated. I had no business scorning her achievement. The more I thought about it, the more I realized the truth: I wasn’t angry with her. I was angry with myself for not achieving my goals. I felt sorry for myself – as we have all done at one point or another – and I let that self-pity override my happiness for her accomplishment.

When the selfish side of me faded, I popped back on to Facebook to give my writing-buddy the congratulations she deserved. She sent me a private message later, expressing how long she had been working towards this goal, what a hard journey it had been, and how she knew I would find an agent too, someday.

As writers, it is imperative that we form positive, encouraging communities which support one another. That is part of what Women on Writing does. It provides wisdom, encouragement, and ideas for people who love to write. By helping one another, we form a strong group of people who will continue to nurture the art of writing. Jealously might creep into the picture from time to time, but we should not let that jealously overshadow the positive aspects of a writing community.

It took this experience to remind me that a win for one writer is a win for many. While I cannot promise that I’ll never have another momentary pity-party, I can promise that I won’t let it get in the way of my support for my fellow writers. Now, I appreciate my writing groups more than ever.

Bethany Masone Harar is an author, teacher, and blogger, who does her best to turn reluctant readers into voracious, book-reading nerds. Check out her blog here.


Sioux Roslawski said...

Beth--I've felt the same thing. I think every writer has. However, when the sun shines on one writer, it warms all the rest of us.

Good luck with your future writing endeavors. At the same time, I wish I have good luck too, because if you enjoyed success and not me, my eyes would be green as well. ;)

Margo Dill said...

Me too! We have all felt this. Thanks for sharing your honesty with us.

Angela Mackintosh said...

I agree! I think every writer who is serious about her craft has felt this way. I believe in writers helping other writers, and if someone you know succeeds, you never know if that person will put their hand out and pull you up with them. I've seen it...writers turned agents, writers inviting other writers to speak at conferences, co-authoring, etc, and just being around positivity is contagious. It's great to surround yourself with writers who have similar goals. :)

Beth said...

Angela - I totally agree. The best part about writers is their willingness to help one another. We are an amazing group. :)

Unknown said...

I have felt the same SO many times. It's such a hard profession and there are always others who are garnering more success. Sometimes it's so frustrating. The funny thing is, sometimes you achieve a long term goal, and then you this really what all the fuss was about? Lol!

Unknown said...

Yes and yes.

Mary Horner said...

I love that you shared that with us, because every writer can relate! You are my hero! But I also agree that writers are also awesome when it comes to helping others!

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